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B2B e-commerce sales will top $780 billion this year, according to Forrester Research. Sales are on track to reach $1.13 trillion in 2020 as business vendors and purchasers move en masse from traditional channels, like phone and offline, to e-commerce. One reason for the shift: Businesses are keeping an even closer eye on their bottom lines.

5 Things You Can Do to Boost Online B2B Sales

Posted:

10/29/15

B2B e-commerce sales will top $780 billion this year, according to Forrester Research. Sales are on track to reach $1.13 trillion in 2020 as business vendors and purchasers move en masse from traditional channels, like phone and offline, to e-commerce. One reason for the shift: Businesses are keeping an even closer eye on their bottom lines.

Online B2B (Business to Business) sales cut operating costs and overhead by driving customers through self-service sites. Manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford storefront space are able to get in the game, too — which is also driving B2B e-commerce growth. Buyers, in turn, prefer an online marketplace to other channels because of transaction ease. Buyers can go straight from researching products to making a purchase with just a few clicks (or taps on the smartphone). As the competition for digital buyers heats up, is your business leading the pack or falling behind?

Transaction Ease and Cost-Cutting Efforts Drive B2B E-Commerce Growth

Making the leap from offline to online sales success isn’t always easy; don't let outdated e-commerce solutions hold you back. If your business sales are lagging, these five tips can help close the gap:

  1. 1. Optimize search rank. Increasing B2B sales starts by bringing more buyers to your website. Seventy-four percent of online buyers prefer to research online, reports Forrester. If your website content is not optimized for search results ranking, your business won’t be found. Don't overlook the importance of metatags and keywords.

  2. 2. Provide real-time inventory. Maintaining accurate online inventory is one of the biggest problems B2B websites face. If your potential customers don’t know whether an item is in stock — or worse, an item is supposedly out-of-stock when it’s actually available — you’ll lose the sale. The right B2B sales solutions will ensure your inventory is updated in real time so you never lose a potential sale (or hurt customer trust) due to misinformation.

  3. 3. 24/7 customer support. Your customers don't want to wade through an endless FAQ page or be on hold with an overseas call center for an hour; they need an answer now. Live-person chat makes it easy to proactively offer help and better anticipate customer concerns. Plus, since a single customer service rep can handle multiple client problems at the same time, your customer service will be more efficient and responsive. Choosing a B2B sales solution e-commerce software package that includes live customer support can reduce sales barriers and improve customer satisfaction.

  4. 4. Optimize on-site search. The majority of B2B customers who land on your website aren’t ready to make an immediate purchase. Instead, they’re researching products and services. Make this process as easy as possible by providing enhanced search capabilities with enriched keywords, metatags and product tagging. Include product recommendations and associated searches.

  5. 5. Increase cross-selling opportunities. Never miss a sale. Cross selling is the process of prompting buyers to make an additional purchase on a complementary product. Use a B2B e-commerce software package that includes this feature. Ideally, your purchasing software will automatically prompt customers to consider complementary products as soon as they add a specific item to their cart.

B2B online e-commerce is all about transaction ease. If your website ends up making it more difficult to complete a transaction, you’ll deter customers. If your sales aren't hitting the mark, look for your Achilles' heel: Perhaps it's a slow inventory search, a failure to offer robust cross selling, or a lack of responsive customer support. Highland Solutions can help; we are an experienced e-commerce partner focused on improving the effectiveness of your online B2B store. Contact us today for an individualized e-commerce consultation.