Optimizing Your B2B eCommerce Experience During the COVID-19 Outbreak

April 27, 2020

Category: Best Practices

As we settle into this new “COVID-19 era”, businesses will start looking ahead for the next steps. Now is the time for B2B businesses to take stock of what tools they have and what levers they can pull to stay afloat. 

We’re launching a series of posts covering three ways businesses can move forward successfully during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ll focus on:

  • How to optimize your B2B eCommerce experience
  • How to generate revenue and cut costs
  • How headless eCommerce can help you scale…and fast

Here are tips for optimizing your B2B eCommerce experience during the COVID-19 outbreak

With social distancing and shelter in place orders in effect around the world, and as retail locations either remain closed or wrestle with a new normal, being able to reach your customers digitally is more important than ever. 

If you don’t currently have strong eCommerce or order management systems in place… 

If you don’t have an eCommerce experience for your customers, now is the time to start thinking about it. Your customers need to be able to order your products whether your sales team is in the field, in the office, or at home. 

Here are 3 tips to start contemplating a B2B eCommerce strategy:

  • Determine Your Omnichannel Strategy: Today, eCommerce doesn’t just mean placing an order from a desktop computer. Do you have field sales reps placing orders from a tablet? Will your customers place orders from a smartphone? If so, your eCommerce strategy will need to address these omnichannel requirements. 
  • Research eCommerce Platforms: Make a high-level list of your requirements and begin your research of eCommerce vendors and platforms. Will you need something custom? Do you have complex workflows? Do you have a large product catalog? You’ll want to make sure you’re looking for the right type of platform and vendor to meet your needs. 
  • Organize and Clean Up Product Data: Bringing a product catalog online is no small feat. But, it can be made easier by clean product data that can be quickly uploaded. Customers who have product data organized are able to make more rapid moves to an online platform than those who don’t.

If you have eCommerce or order management systems in place… 

Today, your customers are relying on “no contact” ordering to get the supplies they need to keep their businesses running. Your ability to respond to these needs will determine your future success. 

Here are 3 tips for optimizing your current B2B eCommerce experience: 

  • Update and modernize the UI: B2B customers will be looking for the eCommerce experiences that are easy to use, easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. If they can’t easily place a repeat order or search for a product, they will likely find a site that can. Take this time to take inventory on how your current UI is working for your customers, and identify places where optimizations and improvements could be made.
  • Eliminate manual order entry: Now is the time to take stock of current integrations with back-office systems and understand how offline orders are being placed. Is there a better way for CSRs to place orders within the eCommerce experience as they impersonate the customer they are placing the order for?
  • Extend eCommerce to brands or channels who’ve been neglected: For many businesses, there’s that one brand, product line, or channel that isn’t quite up to par with the others. Now’s a good time to focus on enabling online ordering across every business unit and channel.

Focusing on the ways your customers will want to order from you now and in the future will help set your business up for future success.