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B2B ecommerce model: 5 considerations before starting your project.

by Raquel Rosa, March 27, 2020

We are talking about the model, B2B, Business to Business. Sales between companies currently have a volume that is almost double that of B2C, and forecasts indicate that the difference will be even greater.

What characteristics should these ecommerce have? 

When developing a project of this type we must bear in mind that we are creating an ecommerce business different from B2C. These models are usually characterized by processing orders in large quantities, the relationships between companies are more complex and each client has a background that affects the value chain and will seek to convey in its online channel. 
Here we offer you 5 aspects to take into account before launching into the exciting adventure of creating a B2B ecommerce.

1. Idea, Market Research and Business Plan.

Let's start at the beginning. It doesn't matter what you're going to sell or to whom. You must be clear about that. Reflection and research help minimize risks and improve your initial idea. There are so many products and so similar to each other that you need your own identity, because companies also make mistakes by launching themselves into the market without knowing the risks and opportunities. Observe and investigate the market and if you can, anticipate the changes.  
What are you going to sell? Do companies demand that product? Where and how is my competition? What solutions does selling online bring to you? And to the businesses you are targeting? 
In the idea, clearly define what you want to sell. What products, what catalogs and for whom.
For research use surveys, polls, interviews, analysis of results... The more data, the better. You can combine pure data, quantitative studies, with qualitative, quality values, purchase intention, opportunities and threats. Statistics do not lie.
And the business plan? These are some of the contents you should include: goals, target audience, competencies, business model, competitor analysis, definition of added value, budget and pricing policy.

2. B2B Marketing.

PBecause if they don't see you, you don't exist. 
Establishing a B2B online marketing plan will help you increase visits and, in turn, convert them into purchases. Keep in mind that the marketing plan for ecommerce differs slightly from traditional plans. The customer does not behave the same when he buys in his private life as when he buys on behalf of your company. And that's the big difference.
The change of subject, of final customer must determine the type of strategy. In other words, an end consumer wants the product, the company needs it to continue to exist and wants to save costs. 
Recommendations:
- Maximize your online presence, work the SEO, because almost 100% of B2B companies search the internet to find suppliers or products and more than 90% of buyers prefer to do it online.
- Invest in effective advertising.
- Work on your email marketing.
- Use social networks.
- Market your content (in blogs, newsletters and in-person events).
- Use the right metrics.
- Use a consultant or professional in digital strategy.
B2B marketing should minimize risk and increase customer confidence. If you get the strategy right you will get a more loyal customer, think that companies are more reluctant to change suppliers than the final or traditional consumer.
Do not forget, make an external and internal analysis, define your target audience, set objectives, define strategies and lines of action, set dates, implement actions, dissemination work and measure results.

3. Marketplace or direct selling? 

Will you sell through an external platform or will you create your own virtual store?
The most immediate advantage of a marketplace is its visibility, they usually deal with marketing and generally have a brand recognition. On the other hand, they are very competitive and sometimes they reduce their prices too much.
In direct sales, visibility, once we manage to attract companies, is much greater and it is possible to compete in the so-called customer service, with a direct contact that will make it possible to strengthen and emphasize that relationship. In addition, personalizing the website according to the visitor, adapting catalogs, prices and / or promotions is another of its great advantages. 
Put yourself in the place of your user. Your customers will also look for an attractive and intuitive environment and menu. The user experience, the navigability of the web and the usability are valued by both end customers and companies.
Special mention should be made of the customer satisfaction surveys and the product sheets. Adapt the surveys, consider the results and keep in mind that the customer does not have the possibility to touch the product or have it in front of him, but he will want to know and see everything. Machine learning, virtual reality... Make it easy for them. 
Design, hosting and platform, good partners in these creation processes are essential for the success of your business. And if you are into big brands, keep in mind that they need solutions from big suppliers like HCL Commerce. 

4. Local, national or international? Logistics.

Of course the Internet is global and your offer can be, but think before making a decision. 
Establish a specific market that you are sure you can reach, and define your logistical capacity, legal restrictions and the qualified personnel you will have. The logistics chain must be infallible.
Your customers will want their purchases to arrive as soon as possible and will use the tracking tools to know where they are at all times.  In this business model the rate of returns is much lower than in the B2C model.
B2B ecommerce sells goods as well as services. Customer service and technical services 24 hours a day 365 days a year are almost imperative especially in large brands and international businesses. Their business depends directly on you.

5. Lawfulness and transparency. Prices and offers.

No matter the size, we all have to comply with our legal obligations.
Remember that not knowing the laws does not exempt you from complying with them. It is fundamental to establish a bond of trust with your client. Ensure the safe sale, respect their rights, avoid giving false expectations, be clear with the use of data, respect privacy, detail the conditions of trade and transaction ... Legal Notice, Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, terms or conditions of employment ... Legal, safe and reliable, so should your online store.
In the B2B business, additional payment methods that can bring additional advantages to the customers gain special importance.
The automation of the negotiation process and the implementation of the online negotiation channel are essential.  Here, personalised customer management is a challenge. You must offer special prices and conditions for each customer, both in terms of purchase, transport and delivery.  Because B2B offers are a sign of collaboration between the parties. In addition, it bets on offering the information of products, prices and stocks in real time. It integrates computer systems and enables the platform to manage complex customer relationships through advanced functionalities.

If you have all this, you only have hours of work ahead of you and put yourself in the hands of the best to develop your website... Here we are.

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