The wonderful thing about eCommerce is that it can run continuously without interruptions. That means you can have customers globally in different time zones visiting your website and making purchases. However, to do that, the system needs to be operable 24/7 throughout the entire year. That is why relying on the best eCommerce automation tools and strategies is essential not only to ensure uninterrupted service but also to gain a competitive edge in the market.

The old-fashioned way of doing that was always to have staff available. But, of course, that has many downsides, such as cost, workforce planning, etc. A better solution is to automate your eCommerce business using eCommerce software for B2B.


What is eCommerce Software for B2B?

B2B eCommerce software contains tools to help you automate much of your eCommerce business. By using it, you can:

  • reduce your reliance on a human workforce to do mundane and repetitive tasks, thereby leaving them to focus on more productive things,
  • streamline your business processes by linking systems together,
  • offer clients an excellent purchasing experience, and
  • integrate seamlessly with your client’s systems, thereby increasing efficiency for both them and you.

The ultimate benefits that come with all of that include:

  • reduced operating costs,
  • fewer operator errors,
  • increased sales, 
  • enhanced staff efficiency, and
  • an exceptional level of customer satisfaction that leads to repeat business and an excellent reputation. 

Deciding Which Processes to Automate

Generally speaking, automation using eCommerce software for B2B comprises three key elements:

  1. a trigger event that sets an automation in motion,
  2. a condition that determines what the automation will do, and
  3. an action wherein a function is performed without needing any human input.

Usually, order execution entails several processes, from the moment the order is placed up to when the products or services are delivered. Many of those processes can be time-consuming or repetitive, which makes them highly suited to automation.

Here are some typical examples of processes that are usually good candidates for automation using B2B eCommerce software:

  • Customer Registration

Contact capturing is essential to every business, where the initial customer sign-up process is invaluable for gathering the basic details about new customers and also ‘locking them in’ to your site.

  • Requests for Quotations (RFQs) and Quotations

Business customers want easy access to pricing. That means they like to have personalised price lists and quotations for whatever it is they are looking to buy. Automating these will allow you to offer them instant pricing, meaning they can make quick decisions on whether to proceed.

  • Checkouts

A robust, streamlined, automated checkout will help boost sales significantly as customers can quickly move from the RFQ/quotation stage to placing an order online literally anytime, anywhere. 

  • Product Catalogues

B2B buyers differ from B2C customers in that they generally demand a much more personalised service, which extends to product catalogues. This is because they usually want to be able to negotiate prices, delivery, and payment terms. Moreover, the cataloguing process is traditionally labour-intensive, but automating using B2B eCommerce software can reduce or even eliminate that.

  • Sales

Traditionally, sales staff spend considerable time nurturing sales leads, many of which don’t convert to actual sales.

By automating your business’s sales process, your sales staff will not waste time on ‘possible leads’. Instead, it can focus their efforts on providing exceptional customer service to deals actually in the bag.

Sales automation can also offer promotions and upsells tailored explicitly towards each customer and presented opportunistically.

  • Inventory Management

Inventory management uses many systems to keep your customers and staff informed of order updates and inventory status, such as procurement, warehouse management, order tracking, etc.

A good B2B eCommerce software solution will link your store and CRM platform together and provide automatic real-time order and other status notifications to all relevant parties.

  • Invoicing

Once you have shipped an order (or maybe even beforehand), you’ll want to get paid. There are plenty of invoicing softwares online for raising invoices, many of which can easily integrate with B2B eCommerce software to automate the process at the appropriate time. One example of a streamlined and automated payment process that can be integrated into B2B eCommerce software is an option to send money through PayPal. This can save time and reduce errors when invoicing and receiving client payments.

  • Returns

No company likes having goods sent back any more than customers like returning them. However, it is, unfortunately, a fact of business life that can be quite resource-intensive. For example, you may have different return procedures for different product types, plus the return approval process may also vary between products.

B2B eCommerce software can automate many workflows that returns require, such as informing the relevant department(s), processing the return, issuing a refund, and updating the CRM and inventory accordingly.

  • Customer Follow Up

Once a sale is complete, it is good practice to follow up with the customer to ensure they received an excellent experience on your eCommerce website and are happy with the service they received from your company.

While the personal approach is best for substantial transactions, automation is perfect for smaller ones. For example, your B2B eCommerce software can automatically send personalised customer satisfaction surveys and follow-up emails to customers to show them that you appreciate their business and take their feedback seriously.

Choosing The Right B2B eCommerce Software Solution

Once you have decided which processes to automate, there are a couple of other things to consider when choosing B2B eCommerce software:

  • The Reputation of the Software and Developer

Plenty of developers offer eCommerce automation tools, but sadly, not all are created equal.

As such, investing in software developed by an established vendor with a proven track record in eCommerce automation is strongly advised. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take advantage of software demonstrations and free trial periods to satisfy yourself that the software will do what you want it to.

  • The Software’s Ability to Integrate with Your Existing Systems

You want your B23B eCommerce software to integrate and properly work with your existing (and future) internal systems. If it doesn’t, you will probably need to do some of the processes manually, defeating the object.

Therefore, seek out software with all the integrations and connectors you need to bring your systems together, preferably without requiring the services of software experts to implement.

  • Real-Time Data Processing

The whole point of automation is to remove the need for manual processes. As such, your chosen B2B eCommerce software should be capable of instantly processing requests, orders, and all other activities in real time. That will ensure everything is as fast and efficient as possible, keeping your customers happy and your business streamlined.

  • Data Monitoring and Validation

Given the sheer volume of data that business processes need to handle, the software and all systems interacting with it must be able to manage that data efficiently, securely, and accurately. And the best way of ensuring accuracy is to undertake regular monitoring and auditing of data traffic.

  • Customer Support

In an ideal world, your systems will always work flawlessly. However, reality dictates that glitches may occur here and there, or you may have a customer struggling to do something on your eCommerce site.

Therefore, it is essential always to have a team available able to correct issues and answer queries, thereby ensuring your customers always get the best online service and their orders are promptly fulfilled.

eCommerce Software for B2B In a Nutshell

eCommerce software for your B2B business could be one of your best investments. It will marry together many of your existing systems, allowing you to offer an automated purchasing process for your clients, which will also significantly streamline your business operations.

The result? Happy customers who return for more, staff doing more productive tasks, and a more profitable business. As Hot Chocolate once sang, “Everyone’s a winner, baby, that’s the truth”!