Differentiation In B2B Ecommerce Is A Six-Pronged Strategy 

All Case Studies > Differentiation In B2B Ecommerce Is A Six-Pronged Strategy 

Thanks to the digital transformation of commerce, B2B companies are increasingly challenged to develop a robust ecommerce presence. As McKinsey noted, ecommerce has become the most effective sales channel for B2B ecommerce enterprises. 

Doing so exposes them to increased competition, however. Ecommerce is a global opportunity, and the convenience and logistics that you can offer your customers can be offered by your competitors as well. Success in B2B ecommerce comes down to your ability to find competitive differentiation.  

There are six key stepping stones to differentiation in B2B ecommerce.  


Product Differentiation

For businesses to differentiate their products, they need to present them in a way that not only attracts buyers but also provides the relevant information effortlessly.  Salesforce Commerce Cloud equips businesses with a variety of tools and features to deliver this, right from the top of the funnel: 

  • Product Listings and Catalogue Management 

With Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s robust catalogue management, B2B ecommerce platforms can showcase their products neatly and attractively. Enhanced with detailed descriptions and rich media like images and videos, it helps customers make informed choices. Salesforce research shows that 80% of of users value a company’s experience as much as its product or service. So, an engaging and informative sales platform is crucial for success.

  • Configurable Products and Instant Quoting 

For B2B businesses, tailored product offerings are key. Salesforce Commerce Cloud empowers them with tools to let customers personalise products, get instant quotes, and simplify ordering. This level of flexibility will help to set businesses apart from competitors with rigid product offerings. 


Service Differentiation

Exceptional customer service is a key driver of success in B2B e-commerce. Buyers might be increasingly comfortable with making purchases with a low level of interaction with salespeople, but this doesn’t mean they’re willing to accept a lower level of service.  

As Gartner notes, to deliver a differentiated service standard, “chief sales officers (CSOs) must prepare their teams to go deeper with greater levels of empathy and understanding.”  

Gartner refers to this as situational awareness, and this is built on the premise that every buying situation is unique, but with patterns that repeat across organisations. 

Cloudwerx utilises Salesforce Commerce Cloud to help businesses amplify service differentiation in several ways:

  • Customer Self-Service Portals 

Through Salesforce Commerce Cloud, it becomes easy to create a self-service portal that gives customers the comprehensive ability to access order history, track shipments, and resolve common issues without the need for direct contact with customer support. This not only enhances the customer experience, and reduces the workload on the customer support team, but it also fits with the preferences of modern buyers, with Gartner finding that 44% of millennials (and even more Gen Z) prefer that no sales rep be part of the sales process. 

  • Real-time Inventory Management 

With Salesforce Commerce Cloud, businesses can provide customers with up-to-the-minute inventory data, reducing the chances of out-of-stock situations and enhancing trust in the company’s reliability. 

  • Integration with CRM 

By integrating the ecommerce platform with Salesforce’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, businesses can gain a 360-degree view of their customers. This integration empowers sales and support teams with valuable insights, enabling them to offer tailored assistance and build stronger, long-lasting relationships. 


Distribution Differentiation

Efficient and flexible distribution is the third “prong” of successful B2B e-commerce. Here, Cloudwerx and Salesforce Commerce Cloud equips businesses with tools to successfully optimise their distribution strategies: 

  • Multiple Shipping Options 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud allows businesses to present their buyers with a variety of shipping options. This flexibility caters to the diverse needs of B2B customers and can be a significant point of differentiation. 

  • Inventory and Warehouse Management 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s capabilities extend to supporting the inventory and warehouse management systems, ensuring accurate and efficient order fulfilment while enabling true just-in-time processes. This allows B2B organisations to fulfil orders in a timely manner – preserving the customer experience – while controlling costs and managing inventory effectively.  


Relationship Differentiation

Building and nurturing strong relationships with B2B customers is a strategic imperative, and this is why the omnichannel approach to B2B remains as important as ever. Yes, the ecommerce platform is now the main sales platform and customers increasingly look to make purchases without the involvement of sales staff, however the role of sales has never been more critical for building long-term relationships. As Gartner notes, the strategy needs to be to “engage buyers through an intelligently coordinated purchase experience by delivering proactive and prescriptive situation-specific support for all engagement channels and touchpoints.” 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers features that enable businesses to excel in the integration of the ecommerce platform into the businesses customer relationship system: 

  • Customer Segmentation 

With Salesforce Commerce Cloud, businesses can segment their customer base based on various criteria, such as purchase history, industry, or location. This segmentation allows for targeted marketing efforts and personalised communication. 

  • Account-based Selling 

B2B transactions often involve multiple stakeholders within a customer organisation. It remains true that it takes 7-13 touches to generate a sale in B2B, for example. Salesforce Commerce Cloud supports account-based selling by allowing businesses to create hierarchical account structures, ensuring that all relevant parties have access to the necessary information and pricing. 


Image/Reputation Differentiation

A company can also achieve differentiation by leaving a good impression before even the first interaction. A positive image and reputation can mean the difference between where a customer wants to direct their business, and the Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers features that can contribute to a company’s image and reputation: 

  • User-generated Content 

Encouraging user-generated content such as reviews, ratings, and testimonials can enhance a company’s credibility and help to bring the human quality of interacting with the business to the fore. Salesforce Commerce Cloud provides tools to collect and showcase this content, allowing potential customers to gain insights from their peers. 

  • Brand Consistency 

Maintaining a consistent brand image all touchpoints and interactions between customer and business can help build a positive impression about the professionalism and standards of the business. Salesforce Commerce Cloud is fully customisable, and organisations can use it to ensure that a business’s e-commerce site aligns with the overall brand identity. 


Price Differentiation

Finally, pricing is, of course, a critical part of B2B selling. Customers need to be able to access pricing that is tailored to their needs, and this has traditionally been a challenge that made B2B ecommerce less viable than the B2C counterpart. However, Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers several features to support price differentiation: 

  • Dynamic Pricing 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud enables businesses to implement dynamic pricing based on factors such as order quantity, customer segment, or contract terms. This flexibility allows for strategic pricing that maximises profitability without compromising competitiveness. 

  • Contract Pricing 

For businesses that engage in long-term contracts with customers, the platform supports contract-specific pricing. This ensures that negotiated terms and conditions are accurately reflected in the e-commerce system, enhancing transparency and trust. 

Ultimately, success in B2B sales and B2C sales are not that different. Organisations need to differentiate themselves, and then recognise that underpinning the entire sales process is human interactions, meeting human needs.  

This is where Cloudwerx and Salesforce Commerce Cloud can assist. By putting the human experience at the centre of the B2B ecommerce experience, Cloudwerx is able to assist organisations in their ability to adapt to changing customer needs and market dynamics, and achieve the differentiation they need to elevate their ecommerce sales success.  

If you are interested in working with Cloudwerx, please reach out to hello@cloudwerx.com. We offer free consultations, and would love to hear about your business.

Realise the full potential of your CRM