B2B ecommerce is rising at a rapid speed. The change is very visible and apparent. By 2020, global online business to business sales will outshine B2C sales value by 206.25%. (Source).
Also, Did you know?
- Business to Business ecommerce revenue is expected to contribute to 12% of business to business sales by the end of 2019.
- 83% of wholesale buyers looking for a robust online platform which makes cross-selling and upselling easier.
- 46% of business leaders support online operations for business to business operations because of increased efficiency. (Source)
In the backdrop of the stupendous growth of B to B businesses, various ecommerce platforms like Shopify have started expanding the scope of their services. They have come up with Shopify Plus in 2014 to cater especially to the enterprise segment.
If you are thinking of taking advantage of diversifying your business into uncharted territories or even start a new one, then your chances look promising already.
A Few Upcoming Trends
Are you familiar with a few of these promising shifts in online B2B operations;
- Digital-first business because this millennial generation prefers online operations rather than doing it the old fashioned way.
- Focus on super fast order fulfillment because of a streamlined and efficient online workflow.
- Rise of progressive web apps (PWA) to enhance cross channel selling experience.
- Business to business companies will start embracing ecommerce and indulge in online marketplaces.
Shopify noticed these trends and realised that their basic platform wasn’t enough. A business to business operation hosted online requires complex solutions than just a basic platform. A simple website builder with capabilities to run a basic store won’t suffice. That’s the reason Shopify has moved on from it’s ‘Advanced’ plan to target high volume enterprise clients. They now have ‘Shopify Plus’ for enterprises looking for appropriate solutions which can be enhanced by Shopify Plus apps.
Shopify’s Solution to the Need
Shopify Plus is a service launched by Shopify to cater to large-scaled enterprises looking for an ecommerce platform. Their ‘Advanced’ plan wasn’t capable enough to accommodate the need for scalability and high-level flexibility. But Shopify Plus can process thousands of orders per minute and had a more streamlined and automated workflow.
With Shopify Plus you have limitless bandwidth and your very own ‘Merchant Success Manager’ at your disposal. Their team of experts will help you with the setup and the operation of your store using Shopify Plus apps.
Shopify Plus blends easily with many ERP, CRM, and other systems e.g. accounting systems. If your system has some special/extra requirements, Shopify Plus will help you source it.
There are over 1500 apps available, but if you still need more, your developers can use Shopify Plus’s REST API to build your own.
A Few Hurdles along the Track
When you are running a large scale enterprise, there will be challenges. Challenges like -
- Reliable Logistics
- Timely deliveries
- Maintaining customer relationships and engagement
- Quality support
- Keeping track of inventory and your operations.
Means to an End
Some of the Shopify Plus apps that can help you tackle these challenges and enhance your B2B operation experience are as follows.
Oberlo has been one of the most popular apps used by Shopify users. It’s mainly used by clients whose businesses involve drop shipping. This app allows you to discover trending products and add them to your Shopify store to start selling immediately. If you are looking to enhance your marketplace with dropshipping, this is the app to check out for your B2B business.
Price: It has a ‘Free’ plan with limited features. ‘Pro’ plan costs $79.90/month with full features.
customer relationships is crucial to attracting new ones. Klaviyo is an email marketing software that claims to do the same. Klaviyo enables you to process and correctly interpret cues from your visitors and customers. It enables you to easily turn that data into valuable, relevant messages. You can integrate Klaviyo and Shopify and begin using all of your historical Shopify data to enhance your B2B relationships with your clients.
Price: Klaviyo has a ‘Free’ plan that supports 500 emails for up to 250 contacts. Their maximum monthly subscription costs $1700/month that supports 1,500,000 emails for up to 150,000 contacts. If your business needs something more, you need to request a quote.
3. Referral Candy
Referral programs are quite a useful tool. Did you know that ‘Word of mouth’ influences 80% of B2B buying decisions? Customers also seem to trust referrals over every other channel because most referrals they get are from trusted acquaintances. You can easily exploit your customer’s contacts and gain some more. Rewarding them for making a referral will enhance your Brand’s identity.
Price: It starts at $49+commissions. It’s ‘Enterprise’ plan costs $3999/annum.
4. Marketplace integration tools such as Walmart Integration, Codisto LINQ, Amazon Channel
The B2B business model depends heavily on sales and commission that comes from it. A supplier can’t just keep on collecting items to your stock. Those items need to be cleared up from your stocks as well. The more you sell, the more you earn.
An open marketplace is a right platform to provide better publicity to your products. They can help you sell your products in bulk.
Some of these marketplace integration tools in the Shopify Plus apps store are Walmart Marketplace Integration and Codisto LINQ. They can easily unite you with retailers and help you achieve your targets quicker. Walmart integration app connects you to Walmart, Codisto helps you sell on Amazon and eBay.
Price: Codisto starts from $29/month while Walmart Integration starts from $40/month
Customer service and support are the main requirements for a buyer to hang on to a particular supplier. Customers expect businesses to be where they are. B2B customers want to reach out and help themselves successfully through your help centers, social media handles, or your phone number. Zendesk claims to support your customer base through any channel you are willing to provide support.
Price: Zendesk Suite starts at $89/month per agent. Basic Zendesk Support starts at $5/month per agent.
Shipping is one of the most challenging aspects of a business that manufacturers and distributors normally face. Shippo helps you streamline your B2B shipping to save you the trouble. Shippo helps you to get discounted shipping rates, print labels, and send tracking info to your customers from one place. They support integration with USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL Express, Amazon and Etsy.
Price: Shippo offers a ‘Pay as you go’ scheme for 5 cents+postage costs per shipment. Their basic subscription plan starts at $10/month.
Easyship is another shipping platform that helps you to reduce B2B shipping costs, helps you sell globally and increase your conversion rates. It gives you direct access to hundreds of courier solutions saving your time and money. It supports integration with UPS, FedEx, DHL eCommerce, SF Express, USPS and 250+ other courier services.
Price: It’s free to install. Users simply pay for what they ship. Costs incurred are shipping fees & additional options such as insurance and duties.
8. Sales Pop — Boost Sales
It’s a helpful upselling tool for your B2B business. When customers view a specific product, Sales Pop shows upsell notifications to suggest frequently bought together items that customers might be interested in. By showing a quick preview of suggested products, Sales Pop motivates your customers to buy instantly.
It’s a great way to introduce new trending products or even reintroduce old items. Sales Pop also comes with an analytics dashboard that can let you see which items are being clicked on by the viewers and the orders generated through the pop-up.
9. Stitch Labs inventory management software.
Effective inventory management and control can help your B2B business and its reputation. It lets you see if any incorrect or damaged goods have been shipped to customers.
Stitch Labs inventory management software provides you with features like multi-location support, geographic order routing, automated backorder management, inventory reporting, etc. This helps you to achieve a streamlined complex operation to help you focus on selling and growing your business.
Price: It starts at $799/annum.
10. Yandex.Metrica Analytics
The analytics tool is very important to run an ecommerce operation. It helps you to make more informed decisions and produce the best possible returns for your ecommerce operations. It is crucial that ecommerce platforms offer built-in analytics.
Yandex is a free website traffic analytics service. It offers several unique features such as detailed analytics, session replays, rich and customizable reports, and powerful segmentation. It’s totally GDPR compliant.
You can use all the help you can get if you are running a successful enterprise. It’s not easy.
These plugins can prove to be quite helpful. They also help you save a lot of time for better productivity. If you are generating enough revenue, you don’t have to worry about the cost of using these apps.
If you think that your business -
- Is not generating enough sales/revenue.
- Not converting enough leads.
- Isn’t getting enough attention in the consumer’s eyes.
- Operations are getting all over the place.
Don’t worry! Take a moment to check these apps out. These highly potent apps have solved a lot of problems for a lot of B2B players. You can even try out demos of other ecommerce platforms suited for B2B ecommerce.