We tend to think of e-commerce as the sole domain of consumers — i.e., ordinary people buying products and services from the comfort of their home computers.
However, many of these people also work in retail, shipping and logistics. When buying in bulk for their customers, they crave the same ease, speed and convenience that have already made online shopping so successful in the B2C space. In fact, B2B e-commerce is already a $1-trillion industry. By 2023, that number will nearly double to $1.8 trillion.
To grab your slice of this rapidly growing pie, it pays to improve the e-commerce experience for your users. Below are five tips to help you get started.
1. Focus on Mobile. Most online browsing happens through smartphones and tablets — not traditional PCs. In addition, Google now indexes the mobile version of websites instead of the desktop version when calculating its search rankings. Your wholesale distribution site should be optimized for mobile users.
2. Improve Page Speeds. Online users are notoriously impatient when it comes to page load speeds. If it takes more than three seconds for your site to render, you risk losing 40% of visitors. On mobile devices, that number is closer to 53%. Moreover, page load speed is a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. The slower your site, the less traffic you’ll receive. Make sure your e-commerce store loads as quickly as possible (across all devices and connections).
3. Add More Payment Options. Most e-commerce platforms are set up for consumer payments like Level I credit card processing. Corporate buyers, however, often need more secure payment options — especially for large bulk orders. Your e-commerce shopping cart should be configured for alternative payment methods such as ACH, Levels II and III credit cards, and even cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
4. Write in ‘Plain Speak.’ Every industry uses jargon; wholesale distribution is no exception. Yet the people visiting your e-commerce store are still people. Resist the urge to sound overly professional or technical when plain English will do the job. Keep your language as simple as possible. “Free shipping” will resonate more with your audience than “complementary delivery.”
5. Target Millennials. Millennials are now officially the largest generation in the American workforce. While the exact numbers vary from industry to industry, their overall representation continues to climb across all sectors. Takeaway: Your wholesale distribution site should speak to the unique needs of this demographic. For example:
- Millennials are more cost-sensitive than any other generation. Your pricing should reflect this.
- If your e-commerce store doesn’t have a social media component, there is a large swath of potential buyers with whom you’ll never connect.
- Millennials value social issues and environmental causes more than any other age group in the workforce. If you’re involved in charitable works, energy-efficiency improvements or social activism, these are all worth highlighting throughout your site.
E-commerce continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with new best practices emerging every year. However, the above tips represent some of the lowest-hanging fruit. Not only are these steps relatively easy to implement, but also, they will continue to remain relevant in the foreseeable future.
Starting with these five best practices can have an outsized, positive impact on your customers’ e-commerce experience. As a result, this improvement will help you generate far more sales in the long run.
Acks is senior director of product management for CDI Technology, which focuses on delivering intuitive payment processing, e-commerce, point-of-sale and supplier collaboration solutions to enterprise-level organizations. Acks’ experience and authority with SAP, Oracle and IBM has made him a sought-after speaker and editorial contributor.