More B2B buyers shop online than ever before, with online orders taking the lead among the most popular methods for B2B purchasing. The facts are clear: if your business supplies other businesses, you need a B2B eCommerce website — but not just any website will do. Your business needs access to all the features that power successful B2B eCommerce.
Shift4Shop has everything you need to serve B2B customers and offer them the shopping experience they're looking for. Whether you're a wholesaler, reseller, manufacturer or any other B2B supplier, you can build the perfect site to appeal to B2B buyers — and if your business model requires, even sell B2C at the same time from the same website.
B2B purchasing is complicated, so B2B buyers have specific needs and expectations that your store must meet to attract their business. These expectations cover everything from specific website features to overall user experience. It's crucial that you understand what B2B buyers want — and that your B2B eCommerce website gives them what they're looking for, not just in products, but in features.
Shift4Shop has a deep understanding of the unique requirements of B2B buyers, and we've built numerous features into our eCommerce platform that directly address their needs and allow you to build an online store that B2B customers will love.
Shopping online offers a level of convenience that traditional retail just can't achieve, and B2B buyers are being won over by the types of eCommerce features you'd normally expect in B2C online stores. This is why the vast majority of B2B buyers prefer online purchases straight from vendors. In fact, 93% of B2B customers are looking for sellers that offer the same type of easy, informative, and intuitive shopping experience as B2C stores. In short, B2B customers want an experience that feels like B2C. Shift4Shop is designed as a fully scalable platform so any size business can sell to anyone, anywhere. This means a strong foundation in B2C user experience that allows B2B eCommerce stores to provide a simplified, streamlined purchasing process to their business clients.
B2B customers may want a similar experience to normal consumers, but their situation is not the same. B2B buyers are generally under more restrictions, potentially because of their business's budget, timeframe, or other requirements for making a purchase. A B2B customer may simply not have as many options as a B2C customer, and that's why they want to shop exclusively on B2B eCommerce websites that don't waste any of their time. A fast-loading, mobile-friendly website with easy navigation is crucial, and the more informative your product pages are, the better. Ordering and reordering need to be lightning-fast as well, especially since B2B buyers often place large orders for numerous products.
Shift4Shop stores utilize mobile-ready responsive design via our powerful Core Template Engine, complete with intuitive navigation. Make your products easy to find via unlimited categorization and product variants, so your customers can find what they're interested in right away — and when the time comes to order, buyers can complete their purchase in moments.
B2B buyers expect wholesale pricing appropriate to the size of their order, and since a big part of B2B sales is relationship-building, customers will want rewards for their loyalty to your brand — often in the form of custom pricing or VIP status. It should go without saying that they also need to be able to pay in a particular manner that is often mandated by the purchasing business and outside the buyer's control. That's why it's essential for your business to have flexibility for your product pricing, with the ability to offer per-customer rates or special quotes. Your online store must also be able to handle the payment methods your clients need to use.
Shift4Shop is fully equipped with all the tools you need to set up your wholesale pricing as best makes sense for your business and customer base. Offer wholesale pricing with minimum order quantity requirements and even multiple pricing levels based on quantity, customer type, or both. Plus, Shift4Shop also integrates with B2B-specific solutions such as financing through Apruve.
A growing proportion of B2B buyers prefer to perform their entire purchasing process online, from research to checkout. This means your B2B eCommerce website must be optimized to provide them with all the pertinent information in a clear and organized manner. Rather than simply trying to make a sale, your website should guide the customer through the decision-making process by describing your products and/or services in detail. Other information about your business should also be easy to find, including your policies and the types of payment you accept. Having an informative, useful website is vital to increase your conversions.
Your product pages should be rich with information, including all the technical details or other specifications depending on product type. Images and video are also extremely helpful. Remember that potential B2B clients will look at your product pages to decide whether or not the product will meet their specific needs, so it's best not to leave them with any unanswered questions. Shift4Shop makes it easy to build great product pages that include all the details in an organized manner, including both photo and video galleries the customer can view easily. Add bullet points to quickly summarize your product and include more detailed information in configurable tabs. Plus, Product Reviews and even a Product Q&A section are visible right on each product page.
Savvy customers will always check your business's About us page and policies such as Returns, Privacy, and Shipping before they decide to go through with their purchase. Always include detailed information that will help them understand who you are, what makes your business stand out, and what it will be like to buy from you.
Shift4Shop lets you add as many pages as needed for your website and link them into your navigation via the menu, footer, or other location. It's simple to create Extra Pages for any purpose, and this feature isn't limited to the About Us and Policy pages we mentioned — you can use it to create pages for any part of your website, including instructions or other supplementary information that can help educate customers about your products.
Wholesale pricing is the backbone of B2B commerce, and you need full control over it to give your customers the experience they're looking for. B2B buyers regularly make bulk purchases of varying sizes depending on the needs of their business. While it's common to offer a single price for any quantity, B2B buyers looking to make larger purchases will appreciate tiered pricing levels based on quantity ordered — the more they buy, the lower the price per item. Offering tiered pricing will help you make more sales and move more inventory.
Shift4Shop has a flexible bulk pricing structure that allows you to set pricing discounts based on order quantity, including both minimum and maximum quantities for each discount tier. Freely set minimum quantities for bulk discounts, require items to be purchased in multiples of any number, per product — or both. Bulk discounts can be combined with any other pricing options at your discretion, including personalized pricing as described in the next section.
Since B2B customers today prefer to research solutions online, your B2B eCommerce website needs to be optimized for search engines. Shift4Shop includes a powerful suite of SEO tools to fully optimize and list your website on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Most SEO is built in to take much of the work off your shoulders, including features like automatic XML sitemaps. Product URLs are generated to be human-readable and can be customized with appropriate keywords. You also have full control over meta tags, canonical URLs, redirects, and much more. Additional marketing tools include multichannel sales features like Google Shopping and other product feeds, built-in email newsletters, Facebook integration, and abandoned cart recovery.
B2B customers are making an important decision when they choose to buy from you, and are therefore seeking to build a long-term relationship with you as their supplier. A personalized customer experience goes a long way to help form that relationship and allows you to meet the needs of more B2B customers
Customer Groups are a versatile Shift4Shop feature serving as the key to personalization. With Customer Groups, you can segment your B2B clients across any criteria you deem necessary. Set different minimum order requirements, pricing, and other specific options (like payment, shipping, and promotions) for each group. You can define your pricing based on Customer Group or type rather than per product listing, saving time and streamlining your workflow. Customer Group pricing levels can be completely independent of your normal bulk pricing levels, if needed.
Want to further refine your pricing strategy? Assign custom pricing to individual customers with Customer-Specific Price Lists. Create a list of products and define a unique price for each, and then assign the list to one or more customers. Products can be on multiple lists and customers can have more than one list assigned to them (with the product's higher listed price taking precedence if it's on multiple lists assigned to the same customer). This allows you even more control over the prices your customers can access, even beyond the Customer Groups pricing tools.
Need to create a B2B eCommerce store for members only, such as to serve an exclusive client list? You have full control over who can place an order or even view your products and pricing on your website. Limit orders to registered users only, or take it a step further and hide pricing from unregistered users as well. You can even opt to hide certain products or your entire catalog from non-members, or restrict visibility of certain products to specific customer groups.
Proper sales tax management is crucial for any business, but not every eCommerce platform gives you the tools to handle its complexities. Shift4Shop's Tax Manager makes it easy to set highly-configurable tax rates based on country, state or province, ZIP code range, and more, manually or via CSV file upload. VAT is also included to simplify the process for businesses selling internationally. Tax exemption rules can also be created for products, customers, and Customer Groups.
If your business has sales representatives, it can strengthen B2B client relationships if the same representatives always handle specific customers. The Shift4Shop Sales Rep module helps assign and track the progress of sales staff, provides detailed performance reporting, and makes commission management easy.
Rich shipping options allow you to set up shipping through integrated carriers around the world, with the freedom to define shipping rates by Customer Group. Shift4Shop is also integrated with ReTrans Freight, a freight management solution utilizing LTL shipping to enable you to get the best rates for shipping orders of any size — saving money for both you and your customers.
If your business sells only to a specific list of clients, the B2B Cost Center Locations feature lets you create a list of defined locations for your different Customer Groups to select at checkout rather than typing in an address. This is essential for supplying franchises, honoring exclusive sales contracts, and other situations depending on your business. Included free in Shift4Shop B2B eCommerce plan.
B2B buyers are not shopping at their leisure — they're often pressed for time, and it's crucial for your website to respect that need and provide them with the right tools to place their orders quickly. Shift4Shop includes numerous features to streamline the ordering process and let customers reorder frequent purchases with ease.
Each customer who makes an account on your B2B eCommerce website can view their entire order history in their My Account page. When viewing a past order, the customer can click the items to visit their Product Pages or place the entire order again with a single click.
Shift4Shop's Saved Carts functionality allows customers to create a shopping cart and save its contents for later purchase. You can allow these carts to remain even after the customer goes through checkout, so they can use the same Saved Cart again at a later date without having to refill it with products, or delete the cart if they choose.
The Quick Order Pad provides a fast interface for filling a cart by letting customers import Part Numbers or SKUs along with the quantities they need. This allows customers to complete their purchase in moments without needing to browse your whole catalog. Some products, like auto parts, have predefined Part Numbers set by the manufacturer, or you can provide your customers with SKUs your business has chosen for the products. Included free in Shift4Shop B2B eCommerce plan.
B2B buyers using procurement software will often want to visit your online store from within the app, and creating a PunchOut catalog ensures compatibility between your B2B eCommerce website and the procurement software. PunchOut2Go is a service that provides this compatibility so more B2B customers will find it easier to buy from your website. Connector included free in Shift4Shop B2B eCommerce plan.
B2B customers commonly use a few certain payment methods, with credit cards taking the lead at 94% for online transactions. Older payment methods are still frequently used even for online transactions, including checks. To serve the most customers, your B2B eCommerce website should be equipped to accept several payment types.
Shift4Shop provides the payment options you need to successfully run a B2B online store. Easily accept both online and offline payment methods, including eChecks and paper checks, money orders, PO, Net 30, 60, 90, etc., corporate accounts, PayPal, and many more. You can also restrict certain payment methods to specific Customer Groups as needed.
Some B2B buyers do prefer to shop online but place their order with a representative over the phone. Shift4Shop has an easy-to-use Manual Order Creation panel to help your representatives manually create orders for customers.
If quoted pricing is needed by your business, Shift4Shop makes it easy with a built-in Phone Order "Get a Quote" System. Quickly create a quote that the customer can choose to purchase similarly to a regular online order, with or without an expiration date at your discretion.
Collecting payments via invoice can be an involved process, but it's far easier if you can provide an online invoice your customers can pay online. Shift4Shop's Hosted Payment Page lets you create a dedicated payment page for customers to make direct payments to your business without needing to place items in their cart.
Apruve is a great solution for extending lines of credit to your B2B customers, enabling you to provide open credit accounts to B2B buyers at no risk to you. Apruve handles all customer invoicing and repayments, with your business receiving payment within 24 hours. Extending credit to B2B customers has been shown to double the number of orders and triple their size, increasing both your overall sales and your Average Order value. Connector included free in Shift4Shop B2B eCommerce plan.