The global B2B ecommerce industry is expected to reach a whopping $18.57 trillion in 2026 (up over $11 trillion from 2020). But while this model is extremely lucrative in today’s digital world, it still comes with its fair share of challenges. Are you struggling to overcome obstacles in your B2B ecommerce business? If so, let’s walk through some of the most common challenges of B2B ecommerce and the B2B ecommerce solutions you can leverage to address them for greater success in your business!
Solve These Common B2B Ecommerce Challenges
1. Many ecommerce businesses struggle to maintain client relationships.
B2B businesses have a lot of value to offer over time. They also tend to have a long sales cycle, so they’ll likely devote a lot of resources to maintaining and nurturing existing customer relationships. Why? Research shows that the average customer retention rates for B2B ecommerce businesses lie between 76% and 81%. This means that the bulk of your business will come from your existing customer base.
The problem? Many ecommerce businesses can find it difficult to track existing client relationships. Knowing who you’ve sold to, what your correspondences have been with them in the past, and other details are crucial to make sure they purchase your product or service in the future. Fortunately, the fix for this is simple with the right B2B ecommerce solutions!
Integrate a CRM solution into your B2B ecommerce platform. A CRM will allow you to effectively track each of your clients, monitor their status, and develop a follow-up strategy to engage them and encourage them to continue their business relationship with you. For the most part, customer retention is far more cost-effective than finding new leads. If you’re an established ecommerce business with existing customers who can sustain your operations, work on nurturing these relationships first.
2. Lack of payment options, especially credit, can negatively impact your business.
B2B ecommerce businesses offer a wide range of products and services. Some of these are on the lower end of the price spectrum, while others can total thousands of dollars. One great challenge of B2B ecommerce lies in payment options. Some customers may be put off by higher prices that they need to pay all at once. If your business lacks flexible payment options, it may drive customers away in search of a similar business that offers the types of payments they desire.
Look for credit solutions that will allow you to offer more flexible payment options for your customers. Ideally, these B2B ecommerce credit solutions should also protect your business from those who might not pay in full. You should make sure you have fraud protections in place for your broad range of payment options as well. The more convenient payment options you offer, the happier you and your customers will be. There are ample payment choices and solutions for modern ecommerce businesses!
3. Ecommerce stores often struggle with marketing and visibility.
There are trade-offs to choosing an ecommerce business model over a traditional brick-and-mortar one. One of these is the fact that marketing and visibility, to a degree, can be more difficult for B2B ecommerce stores.
While ecommerce businesses can participate in local events or use banners and other physical marketing materials to attract attention and foot traffic, they also need a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
Set aside some time to break down the process of effectively getting your business out there. To ensure that you’re finding the right B2B ecommerce solutions to these common challenges of B2B ecommerce, your plan should address:
- Who your competitors are and how they’ve found success in reaching their target audience.
- Who your target audience is (demographics, needs, platforms they use, etc.).
- Which marketing channels will be most lucrative for your business.
- How much money you have to allocate to your marketing strategy throughout the year.
- How to create an effective content strategy that engages prospective clients and supports your SEO needs.
- Developing an aesthetically-pleasing, easy-to-navigate website that clients will want to stay on.
- Addressing current issues with your website that are impacting SEO or customer engagement. For example, around 25 to 30% of the web is duplicate content, and many ecommerce businesses need to develop unique content that satisfies Google’s algorithm and captivates clients, moving them through the sales funnel.
Make sure you have a comprehensive business plan and marketing strategy in place to help your business thrive.
4. The B2B buying process is long and difficult.
B2C ecommerce businesses benefit from the fact that they’re selling directly to consumers. This requires significantly less time, allowing consumers to simply click a button and wait for their favorite products to be shipped to their house. The behind-the-scenes process of a B2B ecommerce purchase involves financial representatives, stakeholders, and other decision-makers, which can drag potential purchases out for months.
The reality is that the B2B buying process is long and complicated. So, what are the B2B ecommerce solutions that will help you address this?
Look for tools like CRM, ERP, and self-service tools that help you track your relationships with other businesses, record your progress and interactions, and get them all the information and support each decision-maker needs to finalize a purchase with your business. Keep in regular contact with your leads to nurture them and help them with any questions they may have.
B2B ecommerce businesses have to work a bit harder to drive sales. But it’s more than possible to cut down on this time and gain loyal customers with greater ease rather than simply accepting this as an insurmountable challenge of B2B ecommerce.
5. Complex return or refund policies may drive away potential buyers.
It’s important to remember that every aspect of your B2B ecommerce business can be either a selling point or a reason for clients to walk away. This includes everything from the level of security your business employs to your return or refund policies. Speaking to the latter, businesses that make it difficult to return products (or no return policy at all) or receive a refund for unsatisfactory purchases can end up driving potential clients away. Fortunately, there are B2B ecommerce solutions that can help!
Set aside some time to look over and improve upon your current return and refund policies. Ask yourself some important questions and consider the POV of your customers. Are your return and refund policies written plainly while covering everything they need to know? Are there too many steps that make it unnecessarily difficult for them to remedy the issues they’re experiencing? How can you simplify the process for them without cutting into your profits or making things difficult for your B2B ecommerce business?
Figuring out these types of B2B ecommerce solutions can seem like a challenge. But it’s important to address challenges of B2B ecommerce like these if you want to boost conversions rather than have clients walk away.
6. Bulk shipments and shipping options can be pain points for B2B ecommerce businesses.
Shipping B2B products can be a logistical headache, especially because this industry has its own set of constraints and requirements. Shipping is a major part of B2B ecommerce businesses, and you need an efficient process to make it work well for you and your clients. After all, it can really be a balancing act. If you’re regularly shipping out too few items that cost your business more, receiving small returns regularly, or struggling with bulk shipments, you might find that shipping has become a pain point for your business. How do you tip the scales?
Look for ways to outsource your shipping needs and provide your clients with a wide range of shipping options personally tailored to their needs. As with having multiple payment options to satisfy the needs of your clients, having multiple shipping options is beneficial to your business. Common B2B ecommerce solutions for shipping issues include changing the number of products you ship at a time, finding more cost-effective shipping solutions, and outsourcing your shipping needs.
7. Poor pricing structures and shopping carts can drive customers away.
Businesses often spend a great deal on one purchase. Likewise, they might be purchasing multiple products and services at the same time. If your pricing structures don’t appeal to them or they aren’t easy to see or apply in shopping carts, it may drive customers away. Pricing structures are often one of the main challenges of B2B ecommerce that today’s business owners run into.
Similarly, shopping carts are one of the most important tools in your arsenal. These B2B ecommerce solutions can make or break a buyer’s experience. If it’s not easy to edit the shopping cart, see prices, and apply discounts, they might go with another business that does offer the right features.
Develop incentives, multi-tiered pricing models, and volume discounts, and ensure that shopping carts automatically apply various discounts on your website so customers can see how much they will be spending and saving in real-time. You might want to look at successful businesses in your industry to see what their shopping carts look like so you can tailor yours to meet the needs of your target audience.
8. It can be hard to know how to focus on long-term growth and success.
It’s important to remember that ecommerce businesses have become more appealing to aspiring entrepreneurs in this day and age. Easy to set up and lacking the same costs and commitment as brick-and-mortar stores, there are plenty of reasons why this type of business model is so attractive. However, many an entrepreneur has learned for themselves that a simple business model doesn’t guarantee success.
Anywhere from 80 to 90% of ecommerce businesses fail. Too many prospective business owners get in over their heads and fail to maintain their profitability and growth over time. Once you start, the last thing you want to have to do is close up shop because you’re simply not reaching your true potential. But what are you supposed to do? Are there B2B ecommerce solutions for these many challenges of B2B ecommerce?
Ensuring that you’re hitting your sales goals and maintaining profitability is a massive undertaking. Here are some items to focus on as you move forward with your B2B ecommerce business.
- Develop key metrics to track to identify areas that are impacting your budget, issues with productivity, or problems with operations.
- Find ways to cut costs by taking advantage of discounts, reducing the amount you’re spending on essential services, or cutting unnecessary operational costs altogether.
- Make it easy for clients to provide you with feedback you can use to improve your products and services over time.
- Look for ways to continuously optimize your B2B ecommerce businesses and provide your clients with a better experience.
- Consider where your business may be going in the coming years and how you can foster growth and ensure that you’re on the right track.
- Develop a plan for potential problems you may encounter and the proper B2B ecommerce solutions you can leverage to address them.
Now is always the right time to evaluate the health of your business and develop a plan of action to address any areas of concern that could undermine your business’s profitability.
Help Your B2B Ecommerce Business Thrive With the Support of Coalition Technologies
B2B ecommerce businesses experience numerous challenges once they’re in operation, many of which are completely fixable with a little bit of guidance. Use this guide to understand the common challenges of B2B ecommerce, how you can properly navigate them with the right B2B ecommerce solutions, and how Coalition Technologies can support you in creating a stunning website and developing high-quality content that will drive sales and traffic! Contact our Digital Strategists to discuss your business needs today.