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Strategy and Transformation

What Makes B2B eCommerce Unique?

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By Allison Gugala
As a marketer for B2B companies for over 20 years, I can tell you that marketing and selling in B2B is different than B2C. Yes, you are still selling to people, but there are a number of strategic, marketing and technical requirements that are unique to B2B – especially when selling online.  Each client we’ve worked with has their own unique set of requirements, but we’ve noticed that they share some commonalities too. Many of these commonalities are beginning to be considered best practices and are being recognized by leading industry analysts.  The Forrester Wave: B2B Commerce Suites, Q4 2013 report by Peter Sheldon and Andy Hoar mentioned a number of common feature sets unique to B2B eCommerce – a worthy read if you can get your hands on a copy.
B2B eCommerce has been evolving quickly and companies are looking to implement features and functionality that can help them:

  • Improve operational efficiency – especially with customer self-service and order capture and processing.
  • Build stronger relationships – making it easier to do business, improving customer service, and developing direct relationships with customers.
  • Grow their business – acquiring more customers, retaining customers, increasing and managing channel touch-points, and increasing sales.
  • Keep up – evolving eCommerce processes and experiences to stay ahead of the competition.

So what are these features and functions that make B2B eCommerce unique? They include custom catalogs, quick order entry pads, special information, personalized appearance, unique terms and conditions, regulatory support, negotiated pricing, special payment options, customer service order management, robust channel and dealer locators, mobile commerce, and B2C-like engagement features.

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Allison Gugala

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