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Some businesses have shied away from making their B2B buyers more self-sufficient. They think their customers might be totally lost without support from a great customer service representative or a salesperson that might drive business more successfully. Other customers are afraid that creating a self-service channel will weaken their ties with customers.

Your customers are already well-versed in self-service eCommerce channels. Just look at the Amazon experience — easy researching, comparing, purchasing, and returning or reordering — this is now the expectation for both B2C and B2B commerce.

  • They want responsive interfaces and intuitive features that save them time and money when ordering and reordering.
  • They want access to view past orders, manage negotiations, and approvals without contacting sales reps.
  • Your back-office staff also need visibility into customer information, they need to be able to manage quotes behind the scenes, and ensure the purchase experience goes as smoothly as possible.

According to a survey by eMarketer, 41% of B2B buyers say customer self-service functionality would make it easier to do business online.

Empower Customers With A Self-Service Portal

B2B buyers expect customer self-service to provide them with everything they might want at their fingertips.

Provide your customers access to…

  • Order and quote status​
  • Purchase order tracking and approvals
  • Shipping status
  • Company credit
  • Requisition lists
  • Returns​
  • Reward points
  • Order history
  • Company users and permissions
  • Address book
  • Stored payment methods

This is an excerpt of the information available within
“The New B2B Buying Journey: 6 Digital Trends to Drive Sales.”
Download the entire on-demand webinar.

Free Up Time for Sales Reps to Pursue New Opportunities

Effective self-service offerings free up your salesforce. When they are not required to handle the simplest of tasks, they can be more productive in finding new customers, negotiating bigger deals and they can free up their time for more strategic activities.

B2B buyers want to enable self-service options, but
not all of the time.

Companies can use things like Seller Assisted Shopping to help customers in a more efficient way when they have more complex purchases and, when customers have questions or issues, they’ll still want and need to talk to a sales rep. B2B will never totally lose the human element.

No need for Sales Reps to answer calls to …

  • Check product availability
  • Know order status & delivery timing
  • Review credit balance
  • Get invoices
  • Return products
  • Update addresses
  • Setup new buyers

Streamline digital processes so Sales Reps can …

  • Onboard new customers and buyers
  • Negotiate quotes
  • Sign contracts
  • Expose customers to new products
  • Track customer spend
  • Provide product information
  • Configure Products
  • Ensure purchases are properly approved

Embrace Self-Service

In B2B, self-service channels can’t completely replace the traditional sales and marketing channels that involve live reps. Companies need to provide both self-and full-service and take advantage of technology and make delivery of a full-service experience more efficient.

Ideally, self-service portals should be used to augment your existing sales team.

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A properly set up self-service portal can positively impact the overall customer satisfaction and in turn, an exceptional customer journey leads to increased engagement and customer retention.

The Future of B2B eCommerce

With advances in technology and changes in the demographics of buyers and decision-makers, B2B eCommerce is now focused more on the customer experience and their buying journey.

For B2B eCommerce retailers to thrive, marketing now needs to interact with B2B buyers using personalized communications and put them in the center of a process that’s being constantly nurtured.

Now is the time for B2B commerce to focus on tweaking their digital identities. Aim to perfect all your touchpoints so you can connect qualified leads with targeted marketing to build an efficient and enjoyable user experience that creates more brand advocates.

The most important thing to remember:
Stay customer-centric and you will succeed!

This six-part blog series takes a closer look at the components of a B2B eCommerce buyer's new journey. To read more, visit our blog.

B2B buyers now have much higher expectations. Let us help you expand your reach and improve efficiencies. Smart Solutions is 100% dedicated to your success.


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