As a business to business (B2B) ecommerce company, you are already competing in an international market.
Product options from around the world can be easily explored via the internet. According to a recent Forrester study, almost three quarters of B2B buyers will research half of their work purchases online. Currency is no longer a barrier with international transactions through Authorize.net, Google Checkout, Amazon Payments and PayPal – to name just a few.
But there’s much more to international selling and global B2B. Many manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers could be overlooking important opportunities and risks of global competition.
Here’s some food for thought.
Moving to the Cloud
For many companies, an expanding international B2B business means a new ecommerce platform.
customizing and integrating existing systems to support multiple countries or channels is often costly and time-consuming. In many cases, these systems can quickly become bottlenecks for your expansion plans.
Moving to the Cloud is an increasingly popular solution to these problems. It is often driven by the need to add versatile features such as catalogue management, multiple online storefronts, local partner portals, configure-price-quote (CPQ) and payment gateways and payment options to support a multinational business.
Cloud-based B2B ecommerce platforms like Cloudfy can be easily configured and integrated with major business systems. They can also support complex sales workflows, management of multiple channels and fulfillment systems.
To future-proof your growing business, you can also be confident that a Cloud-based solution is scalable and can support your innovative new business models. With continual updates automatically delivered, it is also easier to maintain and keep ahead of the competition.
The Amazon factor
Launched in America in 2015, Amazon Business arrived in the UK in April this year and is one of the most important online marketplaces out there. Amazon Business aims to meet the buying needs of all sizes of business and institutions such as universities, hospitals and charities. It is likely to have a major impact on cross-border purchasing.
We recommend any B2B business consider their own B2B Ecommerce portal rather than Amazon to maintain independence and control of their customer relationships. Amazon Business may be an additional route to market but poses some business risk if it were to be the only route to market. Not all products are suitable for sale on Amazon.
A strategic approach to creating an outstanding brand experience on your site will make you stand out and contribute to long-term customer loyalty. In addition to carefully designed user journeys and stunning pages, an extended product range, additional product information and value added services will all attract customers to your site.
Smartphone penetration in the UK increased to 81% in 2016. These devices have overtaken laptops and are influencing buying behavior in the workplace. Your international strategy will need to handle ordering from any device, anywhere and at anytime.
Language, currency and shipping requirements can be intelligently pre-populated on your site, but will need to be flexible enough to allow your B2B customers to change according to their needs.
You will also need to consistently manage prices and promotions in different countries and take a business-wide view of cross-border selling.
Your buyers might be happy with self-service in their busy work schedule. If they decide to send emails or call, your customer support team will need to seamlessly match their online experience and fully understand their local requirements.
You can also complement these efforts by utilizing digital marketing and social media campaigns. This can allow you to reach more customers, promote your products and services, and expand your presence in the B2B market. And don’t neglect things like customer service and enabling positive customer experiences and user experiences.
If your company is going global then contact us today to find out more about international B2B ecommerce marketing, selling and more.