Business to Business (B2B) E-Commerce enumerates online order activity (of products or services) between businesses which may involve wholesale distributors, retail buyers and manufacturers.
In a layman language, B2B simply means selling online goods or services to other companies through a sales channel. The convolution of the B2B market makes the solution specifications and implementation processes very demanding.
B2B transactions occur at a wholesale level. Business processes are generally involved here. Business to Business e-commerce model generally targets huge/small companies and bulk buyers. You can deal in any ecommerce type but you need to have gstin and for that you must check in the documents required for gst registration which can help in to get the gst number easily.
Examples of B2b marketing: There are tons of examples such as online furniture website, automobile manufacturing company etc.
The market size of B2B e-commerce in India is increasing at a very rapid rate. Various best examples of B2B marketplaces in India are IndiaMart, TradeIndia, JimTrade, Exporters India and many more. Alibaba is seen to be the best example of B2B e-commerce, it is the world’s sixth largest company by revenue. Anyone can start an ecommerce business and deals in various categories.
A common feature in all of these successful businesses is that they have a platform (software) where people can reach out to them easily. So a software is the vital component in B2B e-commerce. Global B2B marketplace helps to globalize the business at international level.
Benefits of B2B E-Commerce:
- 365*24*7 Availability:
Customers can now purchase goods at anytime from anywhere. Gone are the times when people would go to the shops to make sales. The refund and exchange has become a very seamless procedure due to online customer portals.
2. Improved Sales force engagement and increase in sale :
The efficiency of the sales team can be visible through the customer orders, prices, upsold amount etc.
3. Outstanding and Friendly Customer Experience:
The B2b e-commerce provides an excellent e-commerce experience where the customer can view all their account details, previously placed orders, browsing history, list of products,cart, order tracking etc. Product pages, listing with detailed product information helps diversify the product.
This applies to the manufacturer/supplier side as well.
The order details,stock details, raw materials, inventory can be easily managed through the manufacturer portal. In addition, customers can also write reviews.
4. Automated Process:
The entire supply chain right from where the customer places an order to the delivery of the order, the entire process is automated. The manufacturer can be notified regarding the orders using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).
EDI is the exchange of information using a standard format. The EDI documents consists of invoices, acknowledgement, Purchase orders etc. As EDI imposes certain standards on the data and its format, it results in clearer communication.Less amount of manual work is required as each and every phase is digitally processed.
5. Business Opportunities:
A B2B ecommerce site which does not have a private facing catalog pages but has a public catalog pages is a sturdy way to reach out to new customers. So when B2B buyers search to find the foremost prices, manufacturers and distributors can strengthen this ability, which would even help in raising their index.
6. Effortless Management:
The business holders who run their firms effectively do expect the same from suppliers and manufacturers. So the whole process (order management) becomes well managed if integrated with various inventory management systems, finance, logistics or ERPs making the whole flow very smooth.
7. Enhanced Brand Awareness:
The most important goal for B2B marketers is to increase the brand awareness. A well organized catalog provided helps in this.
8. Time and Cost Effective:
As the whole process is automated, it increases the efficiency and decreases the risk of errors.
9. Everlasting partnerships:
As the process benefits each and every business entity involved, the business relations last longer when compared to the B2C model.
Why There Is A Need of B2B E-Commerce Software in B2B?
Because of the major revolution in the IT industry, all the businesses are drifting to online platforms. So a B2B E-commerce software helps to bind between online platform and in-person ensuring consistency across all the channels.
A B2B software gives the power to the customers to buy from you whenever and wherever they need. The fact is that it’s effortless to run B2B transactions thru correct solutions (B2B e-commerce software)
A B2B ecommerce software empowers your business in every possible way. It lets you transform your vision turn into a realism.
The traditional sales methods are now shifting to online sales methods. Customers are attracted to online websites with attractive catalogs. More number of customers prefer to buy online instead of buying from a salesperson or a shop.
With an e-commerce website, the reach of business becomes wider.
An ecommerce platform/software is a mandatory component for B2B business. It is a basic software which when integrated with various ERPs makes the procedure to sell products online very simple. The software is an essential tool to keep the business top in the game.
Few important characteristics of a B2B E-commerce Software which are found in most of the B2B e-commerce software are:
- Registration of Customer:
When ordered for the first time, user has to register. Once the customer is registered, he can be given various privileges and timely updates regarding the sales and other offers.
2. Customized/Customer Specific B2B Catalog and Pricing:
Depending upon the customer type, different prices can be set for the same item. If you want to show a specific items to a specific amount of customers it can be done using specific b2b catalog. It allows a personalized product catalog for larger clients.
3. Customer Groups:
All theCustomers are treated equally in B2C e-commerce. But as the wholesalers deal with huge number of orders which vary from each and every customer, it is important that a separate customer groups are there to manage.
Now, B2B companies should be able to manage price, minimum number of quantity to be ordered, promotions, discounts, shipment, payment etc to be classified as per customer type.
Various parameters on which classification can be done are:
- Order Proportions
- Geographical Location
- Products quantity
- Roles and Resources:
There might be various users such as Salesman, Staffmembers, etc who use the software. As each and every piece of information cannot be shown to them, these users are given permissions to a specific bunch resources.
- Customized Sales Reports:
Various reports such as Sales Report, highest selling product report, dashboards etc can give real time statistics.
This feature allows the system to re-order a previously placed order. If you have a client whose orders are fixed, same items and same number of quantities, this feature will allow to reorder by simply clicking on a button instead of adding the items to the cart and then placing an order.
- Order Management:
Once an order is placed there might be below cases:
Order editing once placed
All of this can be easily taken care of by the software.
- Status Management of the Order:
Different statuses can help manage the order. Right from Ordered to Delivered. If the order is in a processing state or backordered, each and every phase of the order can be managed using status. This status can be visible to the Customer Portal as well making the tracking procedure very easy and simple. Order Processing becomes smooth.
Organizations not investing in an ecommerce software are lagging far behind their competitors. The absence of digitalization in these organizations will lead them to lose customers, suppliers, value in the market place and ultimately leading in loss. Failing to invest in an ecommerce software can cost these organizations a fortune, losing out on huge revenues!!
Technologies Used in B2B E-Commerce Model:
- Vigorous B2B E-commerce platform:
The online sales portal has to perform more than transactions. It must be responsive, optimized, scalable and robust. If the business includes a large number of products, a well defined search feature must be designed.
It must be user friendly. The users should be able to easily manage their accounts, past orders, order tracking, claims etc.
2. Real time amalgamation of ERPs:
Integration of an ERP makes the order management process easier. All the orders placed will be sent here with details such as order items, quantities, billing address, shipping address etc.
3. Third Party Shipment Methods Integration:
While handling shipping and delivery of large number of orders, integration with logistics such as FedEx or UPS can help reduce the cost. It will also provide real time order tracking to the customers. Reduce paper work by providing online documentation and invoice.
4. Mobile Applications:
Mobile Applications are used to connect with other business clients, within a business or by employees of a company. Some of these apps may be available publicly while others are exclusive.
Top Differences Between B2B & B2C Systems:
- Definition: B2B is an online transaction of goods and services between two business entities where as B2C is a commercial transaction of goods and services to an individual customer.
- Business Models: B2B and B2C approach different business models architecture. In B2C the customer and business interacts via the website. While in B2B the manufacturer, business entity and the customer, all of these are involved.
- B2b is a complex process involving suppliers and manufacturers whereas B2c is a simple process which involves a business entity and consumer. The prices in B2C are generally fixed and quantity of items are low.
- The prices in B2B are extremely variable depending on a number of pricing entities. As businesses are much larger bodies, the volume, larger quantity, services are much higher when compared with B2C.
- The purchase and sales cycles are usually longer in B2B while the purchase cycle is really short in B2C as the consumer browses the items he wants to purchase, checks its prices on various sites, and make a purchase.
- New / Return Customers – B2B customers would return to website to place the order again and again. Where as in B2C, customers often make a purchase again.
- The prices in B2B differ from customer to customer, depending upon the professional relationship. While the prices are fixed in B2C for each and every customer.’
- B2C customers purchase goods and services from their individual usage point of view whereas the B2B customers purchase according to their business needs.
- The decision making process on a purchase in B2B may take days, weeks or even months depending upon the business needs whereas in B2C the customer can decide about purchase in a few hours.
- Deliveries: B2B payments are mostly on the basis of business relations and are done post delivery. B2C payments can be done on delivery or at the time of checkout can be done via Credit Card, Net Banking etc. which is pre delivery payment.
- Marketing: The entire focus shifts to the product features and benefits while marketing to a customer in B2C, the main focus is on the benefits and uses of the product. The customer decides using emotional thoughts rather than logical.
Consumers are less interested in a huge marketing message. Consumers are more focused on how the product will benefit them. How the product will help them make their lives better and easier. There is no logic or reason behind their purchase.
In B2B marketing, the center of attention is the objective of the product. No emotional decisions are made here.