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The Business of eCommerce Podcast – The keys to good B2B eCommerce compared to the growth of social commerce.

The Business of eCommerce Podcast – The keys to good B2B eCommerce compared to the growth of social commerce.



A conversation looking at two different audiences one B2B the other B2C. What are the keys to success in both cases.

Joining us today are

Kate Gleeson of

and Fergal Walsh of Print Solutions

for a conversation in two halves, we examine what makes a good B2B eCommerce experience going back to where I started in this space and looking at the growing importance of Social Commerce and how to use messaging and social media to drive real eCommerce transactions.

In the past couple of weeks we have been focused on Direct to Consumer eCommerce operations but starting off today I was thinking about where I first started in this space which was actually building B2B eCommerce solutions – or at that time we referred to them as Extranets.

The question I was wondering about have things changed, has the pandemic also driven increases in Businesses ordering from their suppliers via B2B solutions, and what’s the essence of a good B2B solution.

Normally the two biggest challenges faced in this space are providing contracted pricing (or personalised pricing) and the solution to that is normally driven by connecting your companies backend ERP system to your commerce environment.  So that contracted pricing is applied for that customer.  That, however, gives rise to a related problem that if you are pulling all this content from your backend system often the descriptions in that system are poorly created – they were designed for internal users, not external customers and equally speed of response is slower than our expectations on the web. So you have to get your technology platforms right and QA your Content – you are exposing your information now you can’t hide.

But the cost benefits of doing this through improving and deepening the customer relationship if you do it right are very significant. For the customer, they get the benefit of

  • Personalised Pricing
  • Making it easy to order
    • Easy and Fast Navigation
    • Store Shopping Carts for Repeat Purchasing
  • Improved Communication
    • Order Status
    • Customer Support
  • Great Product Descriptions, Details
  • Excellent Search Capabilities
  • Seamless Interactions – Across all your supply chain. We really have no patience for processes or departments that don’t talk to each other

Interestingly sometimes the resistance to doing this well comes from your internal sales team because they want to own and maybe control that conversation.  Truth is doing this right removes a lot of the repetitive administration work and allows your Salespeople to become more of account managers and relationship builders rather than order takers – and making that transition yields great benefits.

On the other side of the coin this morning then we also have two Direct to Consumer brands in the Pharmacy and Ladies Fashion areas and something that I’ve been noticing in this space is the growing importance of Social commerce.  By this I mean I’ve seen a lot of companies produce lots of content for social media and put lots of effort in there in terms of creating posts etc but it has not resulted in driving incremental sales in the way that they expected.   This was mainly because the customer while seeing your content in their feed wasn’t really that engaged, may not have been in the market for your product at that particular time so conversion rates were pretty low

With the advent of social shopping and of much better shopping integrations on Social media platforms and not just Facebook and Instagram but also that often forgotten platform Pinterest, this is beginning to change.   For some clients, we are seeing improved conversion rates from social through these integrations and for the first time, the quality of this traffic is approaching what we traditionally saw with Organic or Paid search traffic. Most brands are seeing rapid growth and are investing more in this area and I think it is a topic we will be returning to over the next few weeks and certainly during this holiday season.

The difference here is all about reducing friction particularly on mobile devices – the old principle of getting the customer to the right product in the shortest number of clicks still holds true and if it’s really easy to purchase from there then you stand a much better chance of success.

At the end of the day whether we are buying for ourselves or buying for our employer ease of doing business and seamless rich experiences will always give you an advantage.

Enjoy the listen.


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