Successful B2B businesses have one thing in common: they understand their competitive advantage and use digital tools to help them maintain it. If your website can’t set you apart from your competitor, it’s easy to lose your customers (to Amazon, for example).

The B2B business world is massive and certainly diverse, but most features of a B2B eCommerce platform are quite similar. To offer the ideal customer experience and make it easy for others to do business with you, you need an eCommerce platform with features built specifically for B2B duty.To successfully address the needs of their online buyers and succeed in their competitive markets, B2B sellers must equip their webstores with a number of key features for B2B eCommerce.

Features Key to a Great B2B Experience

 

With the B2B eCommerce market booming, companies are becoming more accustomed to buying online and more demanding when it comes to the B2B online experience.

Whether you’re a B2B business upgrading your existing website, building it from scratch, or already using a B2B eCommerce platform, make sure you can support the following B2B capabilities.

 

Top 10 B2B eCommerce platform Features List

 

Let’s take a look at the most important B2B eCommerce features to streamline sales productivity and improve the customer experience.

 

1. Access Controls, Roles & Permissions

 

Access controls roles permissionsIn B2B, customers tend to be different users with different job titles and responsibilities. That’s why it’s important to ensure that users have access to only the information needed to perform their work and nothing more. Typically, there is always an admin user who can create other customer users and grant permissions to buyers and non-authorized users.

As the most common category of users, buyers can be further split to differentiate between purchase managers and junior buyers. In such a use case, a purchase manager may have full permissions to work with invoices, orders, tax codes, etc., while junior buyers may only access quotes, prices, and shopping lists,

2. Corporate Account Management

 

Unlike in B2C, the B2B eCommerce user experience requires much more personalization. A B2B account can often comprise multiple users with unique roles and purchasing rights, especially when dealing with company subdivisions or sub-units. 

Your system’s corporate account management capabilities should be able to address complex, hierarchical corporate account structures. Buyers should be able to configure their own account management structure, add authorized users, and create purchasing rules regardless of how many businesses, teams, departments, offices, or branches they may have.

3. Multiple Organizations, Websites & Stores

 

Multiple organizations websites storesMany businesses manage multinational brands that operate across various countries, currencies, and tax regulations. Thus, scalability and localization capabilities of your B2B eCommerce solution may become a critical requirement for your business.

These B2B eCommerce features are typically addressed by a purpose-built B2B platform out of the box. For example, OroCommerce Enterprise Edition includes flexible and robust tools allowing organizations to control multiple businesses, sub-brands, and divisions from one place. If you build a custom eCommerce solution from scratch, don’t forget to address scalability and security requirements that come with multi-website capabilities.

4. Content Management System

 

Since B2B buyers purchase items for pragmatic (not emotional) reasons, merchants have to offer supplemental information to ensure buyers know what they are buying. Product descriptions, videos, certifications, marketing sheets – all this information helps you clearly communicate the advantages of your products and preemptively address questions and pain points of many decision-makers.

Any B2B eCommerce platform requires strong content management capabilities to grant you full control of the content, layout, and embeddables. Content editors should be intuitive to use and enable marketing and merchandising teams to update content and product pages with ease and without coding knowledge.

5. Personalized B2B Catalog Management

 

Personalized b2b catalog managementThere’s no one size fits all approach to online selling. Your eCommerce solution must be tailored to the way you do your business and not the other way around. Thus, personalized B2B catalog management is among the most critical B2B eCommerce features.

 

Ample personalization options enable sellers to customize product catalogs to specific corporations, divisions, business units, and even individual buyers or customers. Each group has access to its own catalog where purchasing managers are able to view content and purchase products. For example, you may want to bundle certain products together or set minimum order quantities for different customers.

6. Multiple Price Lists

 

Multiple price listsPricing in B2B eCommerce can get quite complex. Prices may depend on the purchasing volume, pre-negotiated discounts, frequency of purchasing, and many other factors. They may also be calculated dynamically based on specific business and pricing rules (another useful eCommerce feature).

 

All this calls for the ability to create and customize many different price lists for each customer, company, or business unit authorized to purchase from you. Price lists can also contain an unlimited number of price points, various tiers, and different currencies, adding to their complexity. Moreover, keeping these price lists in sync with your ERP system is another challenge, but more on that later.

7. Multiple Shopping Lists

 

multiple shopping listsWhile corporate buyers can place orders through multiple venues, many prefer to use shopping lists for bulk or repeat orders. That’s because many B2B customers juggle numerous projects, require different products for different areas of business, or can even purchase on behalf of different individuals. Such selling environments necessitate more than one shopping cart for different purchasing needs.

 

Shopping lists should also include time-saving features like the ability to perform actions in bulk. Look for ways to allow buyers to add, remove, duplicate lists, or use them to request quotes or submit orders. Other businesses may want to offer customers both shopping list and cart capabilities.

8.Segmentation & Custom Reports

 

Segmentation custom reportsWith a treasure trove of customer data, your B2B eCommerce platform is fertile ground for account-based marketing, segmentation, and customer experience analytics. You should be able to track key business KPIs and determine how they get affected by different marketing tactics, UX improvements, and new product offerings.

As an essential feature for B2B eCommerce analytics, your solution should include a customizable reporting engine and dashboards enabling your marketing teams to gain actionable insights into the customers’ data. Apart from tracking key business indicators, it will help you understand your customers’ purchasing patterns, and prepare timely, targeted marketing campaigns.

9. Flexible Custom Workflows

 

Flexible custom workflowsWhen selecting your B2B eCommerce software, don’t forget to consider the flexibility of your solution. An eCommerce website should never be “set it and forget it” exercise. Eventually, markets will change, opportunities will present themselves, and customers will ask you for more features.

 

One crucial capability during your technical evaluation should be the ability to create an unlimited number of custom eCommerce workflows to support both buyer and seller-related processes. A flexible workflow engine should allow you to customize various workflows from onboarding and quotation, to order submission, checkout, and replenishment.

10. Self-service Options

 

self service optionsCustomers increasingly prefer to self-serve instead of calling sales reps over the phone. However, not just any self-service portal will do. B2B-specific portals should be responsive, intuitive to use, and have specific functionality. For example, business buyers often have to ask for quotes, submit orders, create reorders, modify details, or track shipment – your solution should support this.

 

However, sometimes, all the B2B portal features in the world will not replace human interaction. Look for B2B eCommerce self-service capabilities that you can personalize to each customer or adjust as circumstances change. If you want to build and nurture strong customer relationships, self-service capabilities play a part in getting you closer to these goals.

Author's Bio: 

Arnaldo is an American writer for various digital news publications. After being in the eCommerce industry for more than 15 years, Arnaldo has a good understanding of what it takes to make an eCommerce business successful. He also likes to cover newsworthy events related to business management software, customer relationship management (CRM), and Quoting software