Written by Jeethu Augustine
Technical Content Writer
The business-to-business (B2B) commerce market is much more complex than the business-to-commerce (B2C). Market and customer requirements in B2B are constantly evolving. With customers making recurring purchases, business relationships between business customers are long-term. B2B suppliers are expected to deliver the content, features, and experiences that their buyers enjoy as B2C consumers.
For a B2B commerce strategy to be successful in the long term, it must provide customers personalized shopping experience. But for B2B merchants, it is a challenge to merge their portfolio, content, and technology into a digital ecosystem that grows with new requirements.
The table below clearly mentions the differences between B2B and B2C. And these differences result in multiple functional and systematic requirements for digital commerce ecosystems in B2B.
|Buyer||Buying center, purchasing department||Single buyer|
|Buying||Continuous Buying Cycle: Recurring orders(structured, predictable)||One-Time Buying Cycle: Individual orders (inspirational, spontaneous)|
|Workflows||Individual buying and approval process cost centers||Simple order logic, limited after-sales|
|Sales||CRM-driven: Retaining and maintaining existing customers||Campaign-driven: Acquiring new customers|
|Touchpoints||Sales reps, customer service, procurement platform (machine to machine)||Online forms, email, chat, search|
|Products||Complex, many variations, configurable||Simple, few variations|
|Search||EAN-driven: “specific” results||Keyword-driven: “fuzzy” results|
|Pricing||Complex, customer-specific, local pricing||Simple, discount-logic, local pricing, campaigns/promotions|
|Payment||Primarily by invoice, credit cards||Various methods (credit cards, PayPal, etc.)|
|Content||Product description, datasheets||User stories, brand experience|
|Interface||focus on technical interfaces such ad OCI and EDI, efficient workflow, digital procurement||Focus on “human” interfaces to create memorable customer experience, inspirational|
Purchasing processes in B2B are changing. Businesses today want to buy online and take advantage of personalization. The customer shopping experience is crucial for building customer loyalty, which plays an important role in B2B business. The strength of many modern systems lies in their ability to adapt flexibly to new requirements.
The B2B retailers should be looking for a commerce solution that will provide them:
commercetools has a headless, API-first technology that supports businesses to innovate faster. It helps in the hassle-free addition of new touchpoints and integrating with multiple systems. The headless technology allows limitless customization. It helps to personalize customer experiences, ensuring a seamless, frictionless purchasing experience for your business customers.
With U.S. B2B e-commerce transactions predicted to reach $1.2 trillion by 2021 according to Forrester Research, and global numbers expected to be five times that number, it’s critical to get the digital commerce experience right for B2B buyers. We’re working with B2B companies globally to help them capture today’s digital buyer and drive positive engagement at each stage of the customer journey.
How to lay the technological foundation for sustainable business success? The best approach is a mixture of using a standardized commerce platform and tightly integrated and modularized custom developments.
Technologies are beginning to get outdated, and structures are becoming too inflexible to adapt when needed. Unlike the monolith structures, in headless commerce solutions, the frontend is decoupled from the backend, helping organizations build personalized customer experiences, gain the freedom to experiment, increase their agility, and scale more efficiently using the headless paradigm.
JSW is ranked among the top multinationals and largest steel makers in India. JSW’s innovative and sustainable ideas cater to steel, energy, cement, and infrastructure sectors. JSW One was launched to leverage the JSW Group’s distribution, supply chain, and product synergies across the steel and cement businesses. JSW One has commenced operations in the eastern region, which will be scaled-up pan-India over the next couple of years.
To build an omnichannel, integrated, tech-led “one-stop online shop” for JSW One - JSW Group’s unified online marketplace for wholesale distributors and retailers, leveraging their existing products and distribution network of JSW Steel, Cement, and Paints.
JSW did not have an online ecommerce platform for their B2B2C customers. They wanted an omnichannel solution provider that would cater to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, Independent customers, Original Equipment Manufacturers etc.
JSW, having a very complex architecture and a vast scope, required a framework that could support a huge number of integrations. Considering the client’s challenges and the current market, we proposed commercetools.
We developed a seamless B2B/B2B2C ecommerce platform based on microservice architecture. Through this platform, JSW One will offer ecommerce marketplace for small and medium-size manufacturers and provide access to quality material and facilitate online transactions, order fulfillment, tracking, and inventory management, besides giving much-needed credit.
Contact us to know more about our commercetools capabilities and the services we offer.