The pandemic is evolving and with it is an increase in orders, disruptions in supply chains, changes in customer behavior, closures of the store, and more, all of which is affecting your B2B business. Ecommerce has seen a significant impact and here we discuss the challenges of COVID-19 on B2B e-commerce, solutions as well as opportunities.
Move Your Customers Online
Encourage your customers to shop online to reduce physical contact and guarantee business continuity. Some customers are used to shop online but many others need a push. Let your customers know that your web store is operational online, help them navigate it, and place their orders online. You can use the latest versions of Sana Commerce having “impersonate a customer” feature which lets sales and customer service representatives see everything just the way a customer would and can help customers with orders, creating sub-accounts and more.
Look After Your Existing Customers And Their Communities
Lots of companies are taking care of their customers by providing supplementary services such as banks are eliminating or delaying charges, restaurants are offering takeaways, and much more. You can also take some measures to assist your customers and their communities, offer discounts or benefits, like free delivery to the customers in worst-affected regions or sub-regions. You can relieve customers dealing with financial issues by offering additional return options or extending invoice payment dates. You can display products that can help your customers, and their communities to get through this pandemic.
Verdo’s Success Story Amid The Coronavirus Crisis
Verdo, an international sustainable energy group headquartered in Denmark took beneficial steps and attained huge success during the pandemic. Verdo took proactive decisions in April and paid about €8.68 million to its suppliers within three days rather than waiting for their usual 40-day payment time. Due to this, Verdo’s suppliers paid their employees and dealt with the financial issues that the pandemic caused.
Ensure Your E-Commerce Platform Meets The Needs Of B2B Customers
The coronavirus pandemic is making more and more customers turn to e-commerce but it is not sufficient to just have a web store. Your e-commerce site should fulfill the requirements of B2B customers, offering them an appropriate, dependable, and comprehensive web store. Your B2B customers expect that your web store should have relevant information being displayed, offer optimized functionalities, be able to manage the complexities of B2B orders, and prevent order errors.
Streamline Your Returns Process
There will be alterations and fluctuations in demand for some products during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those customers who are struggling financially will be looking for ways to make back some of their expenditures which can cause a rise in returns. What you need to do is make the returns procedure easy for your customers. It would be better to let them sanction returns through the web store and to track the progress themselves. It will be convenient for your customers, and will also prevent any increase in calls and emails for your service teams.
Roll Out Web Stores To New Regions And Markets
If you already have a web store, then consider launching more web stores to new regions and markets. This will ensure revenue and help existing or cut-off customers. You can start launching new web stores in places where you have a physical presence at present, but no online presence, which means even if your physical stores are closed yet your existing customers can continue shopping with you. You can also reach new audiences by launching additional web stores in places where you have no existing presence.
Deal With Demand And Supply Chain Disruptions
The demand for some products has increased sharply during the COVID-19 outbreak while supply chains are also disrupted due to restrictions in transportation and shutting of organizations. Figure out ways to properly deal with such disruptions, in both the short and long term. You can handle peaks in traffic by optimizing your ecommerce site’s performance and stability. Have huge but stable infrastructure, balance load, and try lazy loading. Your web store should show real-time stock levels and pricing, allow customers to track their deliveries, mark out-of-stock items, and let customers know when the products will be back in stock. This will enable you to handle disruption in the supply chain efficiently and ensure minimal impact on your customers and service teams.
Put In Safety Measures To Protect Your Employees And Customers
Ecommerce can help you to protect your customers and team by minimizing face-to-face communication but you will have to run a physical logistics center and to physically deliver your products. Adopt new hygienic measures to deal with this challenge and inform your customers about the same.
I Don’t Have A Web Store Yet: Is It Too Late To Launch One?
If you have a physical store, but not a web store, you need to consider some short-term possibilities and the long-term changes in customer behavior.
- Short-Term Possibilities:
You can get a web store up quickly to fulfill the existing demand for ecommerce. Accelerate the delivery of your web store using a SaaS solution and ensure using other ERP-integrated ecommerce solutions.
- Long-Term Changes In Customer Behavior:
This huge shift to ecommerce has changed customer habits as well. Launch an ecommerce store that not only meets the changing behavior of existing and prospective B2B customers now but also customers in the post-COVID world.