# 1. Self-service Functionality
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A recent report from Marketo and The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) finds that up to 86% of B2B CMOs think customer experience will be more critical in the industry in the coming years. With the nature of B2B lengthy and complicated sales journey, it is extremely crucial for businesses to prioritize customer service and engagement.
Since then, there has been an uprising need for the adoption of B2B digital tools and platforms in order for businesses to provide better customer experiences and to be able to scale at the same time. The most common digital solution is none other than a B2B e-commerce platform which serves as a 24/7 portal for customers to place orders conveniently.
Here are 5 highlight features that you should look for when searching for a B2B e-commerce platform:
1. Self-service Functionality
B2B customers are now increasingly expecting a similar buying experience as that of B2C.
A well-rounded B2B e-commerce platform should enable buyers to execute different sales activities such as checking stock availability, placing orders, making payments, checking order statuses and sales documents anytime, anywhere.
Another function that may be extremely useful for B2B buyers is the ability to reorder items with just one click, without having to manually add them into cart every time they need to place an order.
2. Search Capabilities
Liferay found that more than 50% of B2B customers claim that their inability to conduct an online search for information is the primary obstacle keeping them from solving a problem on their own.
A B2B e-commerce platform needs to include a smart-search capability when it comes to product browsing. Smart keyword searches can be a practical feature for buyers as the time required to look through lengthy classified catalogues is substantially reduced.
With an efficient search function within the platform itself, customers can quickly find the products that they are looking for, which helps them browse and order more effectively.
A recent research by Statista found that an astounding 93% of B2B respondents claimed that personalization initiatives on their websites had resulted in an increase in income.
B2B personalization is important for B2B businesses as it is a common practice for them to have different customer tiers, pricing tiers, not to mention different trade agreements and promotions.
A good B2B e-commerce platform should allow sellers to personalize what their buyers can see based on their tier or group settings.
Apart from that, other personalization features that will be useful for B2B buyers include:
Recommended items and product suggestions according to the buyer’s past purchases or browsing history.
Promotions/discount prompts to increase upsells
Limited time coupons that can be used/applied in bulk
The traditional B2B trade flow often leads to the dominance of manual tasks, where back-office administrators frequently need to key in data and information manually from one place to another. Human intervention as such increases the likelihood of data siloes and errors such as order duplications and missing information, which leads to inefficiency and high operation costs in the long run.
Here's where system integration plays a massive influence. In order to ensure minimal errors owing to automated calculations and seamless data synchronization, a strong B2B e-commerce platform should allow seamless integration between a business ERP or accounting system and the platform itself.
With this integration, B2B buyers can receive real-time updates on product availability, pricing, and more from their B2B sellers. Not to forget the reduction of ordering process time from hours to minutes, which helps speed up the fulfilment process.
The integration that a good B2B e-commerce portal offers, linked to a single cloud platform, will assure productivity and improve workflow efficiency of B2B businesses.
5. In Depth Analytics
B2B business owners should be able to have access to real time data and insights when it comes to customer and sales data. The inability to access such data will ultimately cause B2B businesses to not be able to respond fast enough to the market trends and changes, and like it or not, it gets increasingly challenging as businesses are expanding.
A robust B2B e-commerce platform should possess the ability to extract data and key figures automatically in real-time, converting them into user-friendly data visualizations, giving B2B business owners a bird's eye view on their business operations, ranging from daily revenue, sales team productivity to the best-selling products, just to mention a few.
With these visualizations, owners will then be able to make data-driven decisions on how to forecast, grow and scale their companies.
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Boostorder offers an end-to-end digital transformation solution for B2B businesses to automate their sales processes from order to fulfilment. To discover more about how our services might benefit you, visit our products or solutions page. You can also get in touch with us here to schedule a free demo session.