The B2B ecommerce websites in India have undergone a massive transformation. From being non-existent and unknown to enabling full-fledged transactions – they have faced it all and yet the journey for them has just started.
If we recall, the first few B2B websites were simply a directory of suppliers and buyers wherein these sites promoted suppliers to list their products and details but the actual sales were always done offline. But as the technology took bigger leaps towards development, these sites became more sophisticated and evolved themselves drastically over time.
These led to increase in trading volumes and values, along with more user-friendly and simple to use customer interfaces. However, the past challenges such as discovery, lack of transparency continue as transactions were still offline.
Working with traders, wholesalers and manufacturers has helped in garnering some key lessons that must be learnt by the startups:
Quality Over Quantity
We usually instantly think of volume business with massive discounts whenever ecommerce is talked about. Mostly because, we associate success with the total number of clicks and total number of customers.
However, this is where B2B ecommerce differs from B2C ecommerce. Evaluating your growth with just numbers of customers may not get you the revenue you are aiming at. The strategy should be to work by applying the 80-20 principle, where 80 per cent of the business comes from the top 20 per cent of the customers. This 20 per cent customer base should be nurtured and cared for.
Secure Online Transactions
It is still preferable to deal in cash, here in India. Sometimes, the objective is to save tax, but often it is due to lack of easy to use and easy to refer electronic transfers. However, as an ecommerce firm, your buyers could be residing in any part of the country and hence the online transaction system becomes important element for growth.
Lack of a secure system would often mean slower business. While volume of online transactions is important, the overall coverage of the sector in the online transaction system should be the final goal.
Trust And Reliability
Indian business runs on relationships and trust. There is a lot at stake for producers and buyers – hence one messed up transaction would mean that they will never come back to you again.
Because, as a producer if you won’t get your products sold, it would affect your storage and inventory. Likewise, for a buyer, his forward production planning will fail completely if the product does not match the description as mentioned on the site. As an ecommerce startup, you are therefore serving both ends of the spectrum constantly.
Timely Delivery And Strong Logistics
One of the key factors to build a long lasting marketplace is to create a strong logistics back-end. Building a strong third party network of service providers covering diverse geographies with requisite quality checks, will determine the success and failure of the venture.
The customers are always sensitive to price, but trust and comfort, established by quality customer service, plays a much higher role in a B2B transaction.