eCommerce has taken a giant step forward in the 21st Century. The unprecedented pandemic presented an unexpected opportunity for ecommerce businesses to grow and thrive. While most assume that the ecommerce marketplace is predominantly limited to B2C (business-to-consumer) firms, that is not the case. B2B (business-to-business) companies also hold a significant share in the eCommerce marketplace. From 2021 to 2028, the global B2B eCommerce market presence is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.7%. It is currently estimated that 73% of millennials are involved in the B2B buying process. This blog is a comprehensive guide on B2B eCommerce marketplaces and how you can open and customize your B2B eCommerce marketplace on the WooCommerce platform.
Table of Contents
What is B2B eCommerce?
The B2B marketplace brings together many B2B buyers and sellers on a single website to fulfill transactions. B2B enables payments between businesses. Hence it is imperative that the experience of B2B marketplaces meet the supply and purchasing needs of the market. The B2B marketplaces can be global, offering various products, the same products, or different products with similar features.
B2B eCommerce for WooCommerce
WooCommerce is an exceptional open-source eCommerce platform from WordPress. The plugin is free, and it offers fundamental eCommerce devices, namely, shopping baskets, payment gateways, items pages, order management dashboards, and landing pages. Nonetheless, you have to cover additional expenses for advanced augmentations to make your site attractive and productive. The best thing about WooCommerce is that it is backed by a reputable brand and subsequently has various extensions and themes.
This platform currently powers about 42% of the online stores in the digital marketplace. You can choose from over 4900 WooCommerce extensions, both free and paid. These extensions are designed to support eCommerce factors. Besides themes offered by the official store, people in business can find many attractive themes from third-party developers to bring their websites to life. Thanks to this platform's flexibility and deep relationship with WordPress, launching and managing an online store with WooCommerce is easy.
Planning to start a thriving B2B business?
Benefits of Choosing WooCommerce for B2B eCommerce Marketplace
WooCommerce is the fastest-growing platform in the market that provides users with a wide range of benefits. Now that you are aware of its popularity, have you stopped to think about what makes WooCommerce so prominent? Why should you choose WooCommerce? What are the benefits of applying WooCommerce to your website? Find the answers to these questions below.
1. Compatible With Other Technology
The primary aim of your website is to create a seamless user experience. However, delivering a remarkable B2B experience is a daunting task. It requires a lot of adjustments, like the addition of new extensions and technologies. WooCommerce is exceptionally versatile and lets business owners integrate the latest technologies like CRM, ERP, and OMS into the website. It enhances the user experience and makes your website efficient. Frequent integration and syncing of these systems also help the managers gather crucial data and leverage it to streamline their business. Whether a third-party app or a distinctive software, WooCommerce will easily integrate it to give you maximum benefits.
2. Robust Platform
Nothing is 100% perfect, and as long as there are solutions to fix it, it will be alright. Similarly, no matter how well you complete WooCommerce's coding and software testing, people are bound to find faults and bugs once it is out in the world. WooCommerce guarantees that many B2B business owners use the same features in myriad combinations. It means they have already identified the bugs and reported all issues. The information allows WooCommerce to work on them, provide solutions and make the software flawless.
3. Additional Support
The problem with using small or less popular platforms is that it lacks community support. WordPress has an enormous community, and since WooCommerce was built for WordPress, you can benefit from the same community when needed. Technical experts and community forums have answers to all your problems. Get the specialized help you need by using this eCommerce platform.
4. Agile Features
WooCommerce is a sophisticated eCommerce platform that offers its users a variety of agile features. B2B businesses need the support of platforms to build their site. One of the advantages of opting for WooCommerce over other platforms is that it comes with a range of pre-built features so that the managers don't have to pay for fundamental features. Some of them are listed below:
- Addition of unlimited products/services, categories, sub-categories, and filters
- Receive notifications of a new order
- Configure the tax settings for stores, including different prices for different countries or products.
- Safe payment gateways through Apruve, credit card, PayPal, debit card, etc. It also provides secure offline payment options, for instance, cash on delivery, cheque, and invoice.
- Display visually represented sales, profits, marketplace trends, and so on.
- B2B customers can shop products by adding them to the cart, processing checkout, and paying through online or offline mediums.
If you handle all business operations yourself without any prior background in tech, things will seem complicated. That is why you need an easy platform to understand and use. WooCommere is designed for usage by both beginners and experts. You don't require programming knowledge to open up a B2B business on this eCommerce platform. Nonetheless, you will need professional help for future updates like adding new features/extensions, changing themes, improving the security of your site, etc.
6. Safe from Public View
Everything on the internet is easily accessible to the public if not cleverly hidden. Consumers can view your website and know your wholesale rates, disrupting the retail chain and causing massive losses. Therefore, you must protect your website from the general audience. You can add plugins to your B2B WooCommerce site since it is a compatible platform. It will help you hide confidential information from the public view or hide your entire online store.
Since WooCommerce is built on WordPress, you can benefit from the superior SEO capabilities of WordPress and the support of an accomplished content management team. You can add external plugins like Yoast, All in One SEO Pack, etc., to boost the overall SEO of your website. Furthermore, you can choose from available WordPress plugins to increase brand awareness among other businesses.
WooCommerce is an open-source platform that provides flexibility to developers. You have the option to customize current plugins or build them from scratch. WooCommerce allows users access to digital products, physical products, subscriptions, and customized themes. Startups or eCommerce beginners can carry out various store operations with prior technical or coding knowledge. You can easily categorize the products, set the sales price, write indivisible product descriptions, and so on.
Talk to our experts to know the additional benefits of choosing WooCommerce
Customization of B2B eCommerce Platform
Lastly, one of the leading benefits of choosing WooCommerce for your eCommerce business is that it allows you to customize your store. With its handy features, you can navigate the platform and design the store as per your liking. It is a misconception that B2B sites don't need as much effort as B2C sites and that B2B customers should be treated the same as B2C customers.
Using a generic website layout might seem like an intelligent way to save time and money, but it can lead to long-term losses. A personalized platform will cater to the specific needs of your business and the distinctive process to encourage your company's growth. It will prove to be a significant asset for your online store.
Pros of Choosing WooCommerce for Your Customized B2B Marketplace
1. Management of Unique Process
All eCommerce businesses, regardless of D2C, B2C, or B2B, have unique processes to complete purchases. Each function of the store should be carried out in a particular way. For instance, a thorough background check of the customer before buying an item or checking a consumer's credit card details before authorizing bulk order purchases.
These functions are essential for the smooth operating of the B2B eCommerce platform. Most shelf eCommerce solutions are ineffective when it comes to precise operations. When you are customizing your website, you can modify it to support the execution of these processes and contribute to the success of your business.
2. Personalizing Checkout Process
The checking-out process is perhaps the most crucial part of your business. Buyers add or discard items at this stage, and consumers must buy most of the items in their carts to increase profits. Some customers prefer buyer-specific pricing, ACH payments, and well-designed carts, while others prefer purchase limit approvals, contract purchasing, etc.
Mundane eCommerce products are not equipped to handle the burden of these requests, and this is where customizing comes into the picture. You can build a highly consumer-centric checkout process to fit the specific requirements of your business. This step will directly influence the sale of your products.
3. LOB Integrations
Line-of-business (LOB) applications act as a support system to your online store. WooCommerce has in-built free or paid extensions and features that will help build your site. However, it is not enough to want a B2B site to be the best in business. An eCommerce platform like WooCommerce can be easily integrated with various LOB for the optimal functioning of the B2B site.
A customized eCommerce interface empowers you to ensure seamless integration between the frameworks, and the stage is custom-fitted to your business cycles. A flawless integration can be significantly advantageous to your eCommerce business and is only conceivable through customization. It comprises automated fulfillment, analytics of consumer online purchasing behavior, real-time inventory data, automating customer-specific pricing, and other advancements.
4. Increase Conversion Rates and Decrease Bounce Rates
The aim of customizing your B2B online store is to create an unforgettable impression on the buyer. If buyers have a pleasant experience shopping from your website, they will naturally return for future orders. Eventually, it will create customer loyalty and a robust consumer community for your brand.
The conversion rates will start showing a steady increase. Therefore, it is critical to customize your eCommerce store for consumer satisfaction. Customization also allows you to efficiently design the website's layout to view crucial data and easily search for supplies they wish to buy. It helps in reducing buying friction and bounce rate.
5. Boost SEO for Your Business
As mentioned before, primary packages, products, and marketing alone will not aid you in earning top ranks. The eCommerce platforms include generic SEO features and marketing schemes, but a customized platform includes target-specific SEO techniques which will boost your business. What works for other B2B sites might not work for your B2B store. That is why business owners should invest in customized SEO solutions which ensure that their site is accurately tailored to become search engine friendly.
6. After Sales Services
A sale helps a company make profits, but after-sales service allows the company to build a brand reputation. Most companies fail to realize that their duty doesn't stop or is restricted to handling purchases. They are also responsible for assisting the customers after buying the product or services.
Client loyalty and satisfaction also depend on how well you treat a buyer after making the purchase. A custom WooCommerce B2B marketplace allows the customer to track their orders, invoices, quotes, membership applications, get customer service, and so on. The happier they are with the after-sales services, the more likely they will purchase from your store again.
7. Wider Consumer Base
Word of mouth remains one of the leading advertising and awareness-spreading methods. If a consumer has a considerably satisfactory experience with your store, he will most likely recommend your store in his business circles. A growing reputation will bring a whole new set of customers for your B2B eCommerce Marketplace. All this makes customization the key to building an impeccable user experience.
You can do it by studying your target audience and modifying the site based on consumer trends and preferences. It will guide you in gaining more consumers leading to higher sales which ultimately ushers in enhanced profits for your business.
8. Getting Ahead of Competition
A B2B marketplace faces the same level of competition as a B2C marketplace. To convince users to buy from your eCommerce store, you need to offer them something exceptional from other sites. Customizing your website according to the needs and desires of your buyers will help you stand out amidst the ruthless competition in the marketplace. Personalization will attract more shoppers and help you build customer loyalty.
Need to customize your WooCommerce B2B platform?
Why Opt for WooCommerce to Create a B2B Marketplace?
There are several other eCommerce platforms available on the internet. The million-dollar question is why you should choose WooCommerce to create your B2B eCommerce marketplace. What makes it unique? We have compiled the reasons for your understanding.
1. Customer Needs
A business should have consumer-centric goals if it wants to succeed in the future. For this, they should understand their target audience's needs, wants, and desires. Making a B2B marketplace on WooCommerce permits you to discern your B2B purchasers' needs accurately.
2. Customized Platform
You can offer them a personalized platform built from scratch that includes everything like the relevant product details, shipment information, easy navigation of the website, effectively designed checkout process, etc. Personalization will improve the user experience and business.
3. Long Term Relationship
Your B2B eCommerce marketplace should have a strong client community to propagate a consumer loyalty culture for your firm. A customized platform enhances purchase satisfaction, leading to improved customer loyalty. It will help you build a long-term relationship with your patrons and be profitable.
Warehousing and inventory are significantly expensive and require a large workforce to manage. To reduce your company's expenses, you can eliminate the need for stock or warehousing. WooCommerce allows you to utilize smart shipments from the related supplier to fulfill the buyer's order.
5. Consumer Buying Behavior
Understanding the psychology behind the consumer's mind is essential. It allows us to answer questions like what do consumers like? How often do they purchase a particular product? How many times do they order in a year/month/week?
Studying these patterns will help you comprehend the consumer buying behavior of your B2B online store, which will give you valuable insights into B2B marketplace trends, buyer preferences, and so on.
How Do You Build a WooCommerce Custom B2B eCommerce Marketplace?
Below are three simple steps to develop your B2B store.
Step 1: Set up B2B Prices
If you have a B2C store, it is best to combine it with your B2B online store in the long term. After integrating both online marketplaces, you can move on to finalize new product prices for your B2B customers. The logic behind this is to make the product and price reversely proportional, which means the higher the order volume, the lower the price. It is also the thumb rule for wholesale stores to prompt their patrons to buy in bulk from their store.
To assign different prices to different customer strata, you must first give them particular roles. Role allocation could be done with the help of any plugin that is accessible to you. To make your store more flexible, you can add custom roles that enable you to create a complex pricing structure and numerous pricing tiers. The pricing could be based on user behavior, product, quantity, category, and global percentage discounts.
Step 2: Customize the Visibility Settings of Your B2B and B2C Customers
After deciding prices for your B2B store, you will need to determine which consumers can view the prices. If your B2C customers are exposed to the wholesale rates, it will hit your business profits. Some products will only gain you profits if sold in bulk rather than individually.
To prevent this, you can customize the visibility settings to hide the view of products, prices, and more from your B2C or B2B customers. Another reason to customize these settings is to manage two different target audiences and sell products. For example, your B2C marketplace could sell clothing while your B2B marketplace could sell tech products.
Step 3: Create Separate User Accounts for Your B2B Buyers
Discounts are necessary to attract B2B consumers. For wholesale deals to be accessible, your WooCommerce B2B patrons should be signed up for a wholesale customer account. You can assign them the role of the site administrator. Customizing this process can be done in two ways:
- Make the wholesale customer role the default setting for a few accounts by navigating to Settings > General and changing the New User Default Role.
- To add another client or change a current client's role, navigate to the Users tab of the WordPress dashboard and choose their account from the dropdown. Scroll down to the role and select Wholesale Customer.
Creating a B2B online website need not necessarily end with just three steps. After setting up the basics of the store, you can focus on other aspects like website layout, integration of various software to carry out specific processes, streamlining the checking out system, and more. There are multiple areas you could explore to make your store your own. A customized store leaves a mark on the buyer's minds and encourages them to return for more business. Also, there might be plugins that your eCommerce business might need to function smoothly. You can visit the WooCommerce plugin marketplace listings to find those that suit your needs. In most cases, it is ideal to contact a WooCommerce expert to help you identify the plugins you need and modify them or create an entirely new one to match your objectives.
Are you planning to set up a WooCommerce B2B website?
Whether a firm is a startup, an established company, or is classified as a small business, sooner or later, even the most fundamental operations will need to evolve. Technology is advancing rapidly, and humanity can barely keep up. Only the stores that adapt to and integrate the latest technological advancements survive the competition. Your B2B eCommerce marketplace must be equipped with state-of-the-art features to be ranked number one in the industry. To understand the process, systems, and features of your business needs, you must comprehend your business model, target audience, and business goals.
Based on your consumer requirements and the company's growth, you can customize your B2B site. Customization is the essential requirement of your business and consumers. It ensures the steady advancement of your store, higher profits, buyer satisfaction, consumer loyalty, increased sales, a broader client base, and more.
Unlike any other platform, WooCommerce allows the software to adjust according to your business. Through customization, managers and business owners obtain several benefits: user experiences, custom sales reports, pricing features, responsive design, unique products, and other business applications. Recognize the need in your B2B eCommerce marketplace and deliver it through customization.
Customization of B2B eCommerce Marketplace on WooCommerce - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between a B2B eCommerce store and a regular eCommerce store?
A regular eCommerce store is generalized to meet the requirements of the mass target audience. However, a B2B eCommerce store is tailored to fit the needs of specific buyers and give them a personalized experience.
Is WooCommerce a flexible platform?
Yes, WooCommerce has high technical flexibility. This allows your B2B website to shape business activities like customer pricing, registration forms for different business types, VAT or other forms of tax validations, tax support and exemption, user community support, wholesale order form, quote requests, custom checkout process, etc.
How is WooCommerce B2B the best solution for you?
WooCommerce is a secure, reliable, and robust platform for all B2B eCommerce marketplaces. It can manage products and their variants without compromising performance quality.
Can you build custom catalogs in WooCommerce?
You can create custom catalogs in WooCommerce. It has an inbuilt category and tag hierarchy feature that lets sellers customize catalogs.
Is there any additional support available for WooCommerce?
Since WooCommerce is widely used by businesses worldwide, it has a robust community that provides expert help.
How does customization of the B2B marketplace lead to recurring purchases by consumers?
To attract recurring customers, you need to make the process of reordering seamless and effortless. This is only possible through a customized user experience. Showing order history, reorder list notification, and payment information makes the process convenient for the buyers.
Can I protect my B2B website from specific users?
Customizing your B2B online store will hide your store and restrict access to specific users. For this, you need to implement consumer login and customer accounts by using the features available on the platform.
What is a maximum or minimum order quantity?
Since you run a wholesale B2B store, you need to sell a minimum number of items in bulk to earn profits. You can set a minimum or maximum limit to a particular item a buyer can buy through customization.
What custom payment methods can the store owners create?
WooCommerce allows store owners to create custom payment methods to streamline their business. They offer three custom payment methods: Net 30, Net 60, and Net 90.
What do you mean by WooCommerce Multi-Vendor Marketplace?
WooCommerce Multi-Vendor Marketplace (WCFM Marketplace) is a free open-end multi-vendor marketplace plugin powered by WooCommerce and available on WordPress. It helps you build your custom B2B eCommerce marketplace.