In 2020, not having an e-commerce site really means putting obstacles in your way. Selling online has become essential for most sectors of activity, especially in the post-covid era. The pandemic currently hitting the world has forced many physical businesses to come to a complete halt. Having a merchant site or an online sales solution then made it possible to limit the damage, or even for some to develop an entire part of their activity that they had until then underestimated.
But actually, why create an e-commerce site?
Before going into detail about the differences between a generic e-commerce site and a version dedicated to professionals, let's focus on the key question of the moment: why should you create an online store for your activity?
A few months ago, I would not have oriented my response in the same way as today. Indeed, covid has since been there and I think, has profoundly accentuated the urgency that retailers must face in implementing their digital transition. For what reasons you ask me? Here is my opinion on the subject:
Previously, having an e-commerce site made it possible to show your entire product offering / product catalog to your customers or prospects remotely. This also made it possible to have visibility on the internet, thanks to search engines in particular (provided you work on your natural referencing). The resulting benefits were obvious:
- recruit new customers,
- And develop its turnover
Today, creating an e-commerce site to sell on the web is no longer just a simple accelerator for your business, but an absolute necessity for many sectors of activity, including those we least think about! Let’s take the example of restaurateurs. The latter were inflicted with an administrative closure for several months at the start of the year, and the blow of fate seems to be hitting Marseille restaurateurs again at the end of September. Thanks to take-out sales, facilitated by taking orders on the internet via “in-house” e-commerce solutions, or via more well-known applications (Deliveroo, Uber Eats, etc.), some restaurateurs have been able to save all or part of their their turnover.
Creating an Ecommerce site in 2020 is no longer just about developing your turnover, but also about not losing any. The digital revolution has been taking place for many years in B2C, and it would seem that B2B is no exception to the rule, as evidenced by these revealing figures:
- B2B E-Commerce is valued at 12.2 trillion dollars globally in 2019(1)
- Almost 50% of B2B buyers are millennials (2). What does that mean? As the years go by, B2B buyers will be profiles that were born with E-Commerce!
An E-Commerce site dedicated to B2B: what are the differences?
In addition to taking advantage of the many advantages common to B2C online sales, creating an e-commerce site dedicated to professionals has other significant benefits. Undertaking selling on the internet is an adventure that can profoundly affect the functioning of your business, for good or for bad. Before you start, make sure you have fully understood the benefits you can get from it, and take it step by step.
First of all, let's find out together why the project of creating an e-commerce site dedicated to professionals can turn out to be a particularly profitable enterprise, both from a human and financial perspective.
A site built to manage specific conditions for sales between professionals
If you sell B2B, you know this better than anyone: sales between professionals often have nothing to do with sales to individuals. The conditions of sale often differ depending on the type of customer, some are subject to VAT while others are exempt, the ordering, payment and delivery methods vary depending on your buyers. In short, selling between professionals is exciting but it is also much more tiring!
A generic E-Commerce CMS (Content Management System) such as can be found on the market today is not cut out for these specificities. Perfectly suited to B2C sales, platforms such as Shopify, Prestashop or WordPress are not suitable for online sales between professionals. Unless you add a significant number of modules or develop them tailor-made in order to meet the expectations of your B2B activity, using one of these solutions would be expensive and complex to implement.
Having an online sales site designed for B2B means having the assurance of:
- Being able to charge adapted prices according to the classification of the customer connected to their store
- Manage special delivery conditions
- Have control over VAT
- Manage the ordering, payment and delivery methods offered according to the customer
In short, having a unique e-commerce site that adapts to the customer's requirements and specificities, without having to do it manually.
But having an online sales site dedicated to B2B sales also allows you to…:
Secure the order taking process
Today, many companies that sell to professionals still accept orders by telephone. And what company today can boast of having never had to deal with a error in order taking , whether on the customer or supplier side? Probably none. The result is a loss of time and customer satisfaction, but also and above all a money loss .
Online sales make it possible to banish these order errors. The basket created online is clearly displayed on the customer side, and transmitted in an inalienable manner to your services. Likewise, acceptance of the general conditions of sale when validating the basket constitutes signing of a sales contract between the customer and the supplier.
Simplify product sales and replenishment
Selling online in B2B also means being able to easily put aside heavy and tedious administrative tasks linked to order taking. Sales are received by email or even directly in the company's ERP. No entry to be made, all the information concerning the customer and their order are already entered in your management tool. Accounting is also simplified, as is replenishment. Your stock status is updated in real time, your purchasing department and your customers informed of it.
In fact, an e-commerce CMS dedicated to B2B saves time for the customer AND the supplier.
Build customer loyalty
In addition to offering certain advantages to customers which will provide greater satisfaction, creating a B2B e-commerce site makes it possible to implement previously neglected marketing actions.
How many companies today can boast of having the time to follow up with all their customers to present them with new commercial offers, adapted to their profile? Quite a bit, I'm afraid.
This is why having an online sales solution dedicated to B2B allows you to, in just a few clicks, segment its customers according to their typology, displaying them personalized commercial offers and even notify them of the latter by e-mail via targeted campaigns .
Your clients will appreciate it, and so will your accountant.
Reassign your sales team to sales
In addition to removing the daily administrative burden from your sales team, creating an e-commerce site allows you to reassign your salespeople to operations with higher added value . Previously overwhelmed by time, and unable to establish an ultra-personalized relationship with the customer, your salespeople will now have more time to do prospecting, but also additional sale or the upmarket with your existing customers, and thus increase the profitability of your business.
What solution should I adopt to create a B2B e-commerce site?
As we have seen in this article, creating an E-Commerce site dedicated to selling to professionals is today more of a need than a fad. Especially when we know that “ the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of B2B e-commerce is forecast at 10% for the next five years” (3).
But then, how do you create this kind of online sales site adapted to your business and your B2B needs? To do this, you can use turnkey SaaS solutions such as those offered by Huggii . At Huggii, we offer professional solutions that are simple and very quick to implement. You didn't have to do anything, we take care of all the technical part, including the import of your product catalog.
We developed Huggii in 2018 because we noticed a severe lack in the E-Commerce CMS market. No turnkey solution was available for sale to professionals. Unless you start from scratch or adapt a consumer CMS to your needs, the solutions for creating a B2B e-commerce site were missing.
By creating Huggii, the first B2B E-Commerce solution, we wanted to respond to a major challenge for B2B merchants, suppliers and wholesalers, namely: the success of their digital transformation . When we see the number of B2C companies that did not make the switch to e-commerce in time and who have suffered from it, we know how important it is not to neglect this aspect of transformation of your business.