The biggest trend in B2B eCommerce is the generation of a customer shopping experience that emulates that of B2C sales. Unfortunately, not all merchants are grasping this idea.
According to the 2013 eCommerce report from Intershop, roughly 50 percent of the 400 B2B providers said it is difficult to provide a user-friendly eCommerce interface their customers are used to from personal shopping. That isn't to say they don't see the value. Forty-nine percent of respondents say bringing customers from an exclusively offline shopping space to an eCommerce can lead to a higher bottom line at their respective organizations.
Jochen Moll, Member and Spokesman of the Board of Management at Intershop, expounded upon this in a press release.
"Where there is complexity, there is also opportunity," he said. "Organizations that can develop their B2B commerce channels now and offer a consumer-like approach will be well placed to capture market share. They will need to understand how to manage the complexities around their new channels, but the effort will pay off."
The two main challenges faced by struggling B2B merchants are the understanding of customer demand and expectations and the development of new technologies. While 74 percent are struggling with technological development, a staggering 81 percent are unsure how to meet the needs of their customers.
Many of these needs are directly related to the product evaluation process. Search and navigation is important, and 77 percent of respondents said they understand that. Additionally, 73 percent of B2B merchants said it's important to offer the ability to monitor category and product pages.
While it's up to the merchants to provide many of these services, a B2B payments solution can help with the transactional component of the equation.
The right technology can provide functionality needed to offer customers a convenient shopping experience. Payment tokenization and one click checkout offers the ability to store information in an offsite token, which allows the data of return customers to automatically populate when they make subsequent purchases. Individuals appreciate this convenience when they are shopping from their home computers, and those who buy for their respective companies continue that appreciation during the procurement process.
However, one of the biggest mistakes made by merchants trying to replicate the B2C experience is the acquisition of a B2C payment gateway. These are not ideal for facilitating B2B transactions and having the wrong solution can result in serious consequences. Instead, obtaining the right B2B payments platform can allow you to meet customer needs and serve your own by processing Level 3 data and qualifying for the lowest possible interchange rate.