B2B e Commerce Solutions: The Importance of Personalization

Mandy Movahhed
February 15, 2019

Manufacturing and distribution businesses that sell wholesale differ in all sorts of ways, whether it’s the industry they sell in, the customers they sell to, and the decisions they make regarding their sales and distribution strategy. However, one thing almost all manufacturers and distributors who sell B2B share is the fact that all customers are not created equal.

Most of the time, this customer segmentation plays out in the form of customer-specific pricing tiers, where suppliers give their Gold, Silver and Bronze customers access to certain pricing and promotions based on their purchase volume. It’s pretty straightforward, and meant as a means to reward customer loyalty and to incentivize the most active buyers to keep placing more orders. Other times, customers are segmented by product access, where due to regional constraints or inventory issues only some of a product line is available to particular customers.

Before the days of B2B e Commerce solutions, and for those who are still selling manually despite the growing importance of digital selling in B2B, customer-specific selling can feel tedious and clunky. When reps meet with customers in-person, they have to look up or reference price sheets, ensuring they know what that specific customer is eligible to buy, at what price, and with what promotion. And for customers that are ordering from you using an old-school catalog, given the static nature of the catalog, it’s required that they either cross-reference their specific price list, or worse yet, have to call or email you to get their pricing.

Sounds pretty outdated for 2019, right?

Enter B2B e Commerce solutions. B2B e Commerce solutions come in all shapes and sizes, with varying levels of power and functionality. There’s a lot that goes into vetting a B2B e Commerce solution for your business, but for the purpose of today’s blog post, we are only going to talk about personalization, and how important it is for your B2B e Commerce solution to accommodate personalized selling.

The following are a list of features that must be personalized for each customer (or group of customers) if you want to get the most out of your B2B e Commerce solution:

  1. Price
  2. Promotions
  3. Product assortments
  4. Order history
  5. Top products

B2B e Commerce Solutions: Personalization Features

  1. Personalize by price. By far the most common personalization requirement for B2B selling, if your B2B e Commerce solution doesn’t allow you to represent customer-specific pricing (whether it’s by a customer group or at the individual customer level) you should run for the hills.

    If implement pricing personalization in your B2B selling software, your reps won’t have to memorize complex pricing rules and your customers won’t have to call you to confirm if pricing is correct. Most importantly, accurate, customer-specific pricing also significantly speeds up fulfillment times, as orders are less prone to errors.
  1. Personalize by promotions. Closely related to personalizing by price, your B2B e Commerce solution should include the ability to surface promotions for specific customers or customer groups.

    Whether it’s a buy-one-get-one free promo or a free product after a defined order minimum is met, it’s important that your B2B e Commerce solution can reflect the same way you would choose to sell in-person.

    You want your customers to feel prioritized, and you don’t want to introduce the eventual channel conflict that will arise when they can only get a promotion offline.
B2B e Commerce solutions promotions
Handshake Direct, our B2B e Commerce solution allows users to customize promotions for specific customer groups.
  1. Personalize by product assortments. B2B e Commerce solutions should allow you to filter and customize your catalog for each of your customers, so that you can ensure that those customers only see the products they are eligible to purchase.

    This will prevent customers from becoming overwhelmed with too much choice, while also keeping them focused on relevant products.
  1. Personalize by order history. Order history personalization is one of the most important features of top B2B e Commerce solutions.

    When your customers log in to your portal, they should be able to access their specific order history. What’s more, they also should be able to quickly duplicate and modify a past order—a re-ordering workflow that is so common in B2B.

    We get tons of positive feedback for this feature in our B2B e Commerce platform, since it saves our customers’ buyers so much valuable time, and ensures recurring revenue.
B2B e Commerce solutions order history
Handshake Direct allows buyers to quickly identify past orders to duplicate and modify.
  1. Personalize by top products. Top product personalization is showing your customer the products they have ordered from you most frequently. This gives them a short cut to be able to quickly find and add the products they want most to their order.

    What’s more, sophisticated B2B e Commerce solutions like Handshake will even allow you to return your customers’ top products at the top of search results when they search your catalog for relevant items.

B2B e Commerce Solutions: Next Steps

If you’re looking at B2B e Commerce solutions and want to make sure you’re working with a vendor that can give you the personalization you need, we should talk.

Handshake’s B2B e Commerce solution is known for a deep coverage of B2B selling, including extensive personalization features. Set up a ten-minute phone session to talk about how we might be able to help you, and we’ll go from there.