B2B E-commerce: How Can You Do It Yourself?

12/10/2018 08:00 | Start a business

b2b ecommerce

As state-of-the-art apps and e-commerce websites are developed to offer robust sales platforms, consumers are increasingly confident to make purchases online. In fact, according to the Office of National Statistics, online sales have grown significantly over the last three years with shoppers browsing a whole range of goods from the comfort of their living room.

With UK shoppers making 51% of their purchases online, the B2C market is booming. In comparison, the B2B e-commerce market is still in its infancy, but with huge amounts of investment being ploughed into their mobile and online platforms, this won't be the case for long.

One of the most significant growth areas in UK e-commerce is the B2B market. Both wholesalers and manufacturers are taking the opportunity to appeal to an ever more online savvy audience, with an estimated 27% of the global B2B market being performed online by 2020.

B2B e-commerce platform

This places a huge priority on improving the B2B e-commerce experience to match that of the high standards set by B2C platforms.

So how do you choose the best B2B platform for your business? Well, there are many things to consider while you're doing your research. These include:

Design
Online customers can choose to purchase from their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, which means that the design of your platform needs to accommodate all of these devices. Customers will soon get frustrated if your web-content doesn't render correctly on the device they're using which may result in you losing sales.

Usability
B2B e-commerce buyers want to be able to find information and solve problems themselves, and your platform should allow them to do just that. They should be able to manage their account, access shipping information, and track orders quickly and easily.

Flexibility
B2B customers are different from B2C customers, and therefore your platform needs to be able to offer different prices for different customers. Because B2B customers tend to buy in bulk too your platform needs to provide flexible payment options.

Best B2B e-commerce franchises

If youre concerned about the complexity of setting up a B2B e-commerce business alone, there are opportunities to invest in B2B franchises. This way you get the freedom of being your own boss with the added security of being part of a reputable brand with tried and tested infrastructure and systems in place.

The great news is that there is also a huge variety of different B2B e-commerce franchises to choose from so theres bound to be one that suits your interests, ambition and budget. Here are just some of the many franchises available for investment:

Bartercard

Bartercard is a trading platform which allows businesses to buy and sell their goods or services to a vast potential customer base that is not accessible to their competitors. The franchise has transformed the way companies manage their cash flow by developing a pioneering exchange system which enables customers to benefit from cashless transactions both nationally and internationally.

Unlike most franchises, the income opportunities are endless for franchisees. Becoming a Bartercard franchisee will allow you to work five days a week but create a 24 hour, 365-day revenue stream. So if you have general business experience and people management skills, this could be the franchise for you.

There are two types of franchise opportunities. You can choose to run a regional brokerage franchise or a district business development consultancy. Regardless of the option you choose, you need to be articulate with excellent presentation and excellent relationship building skills. You'll also need to invest around £25,000 with access to working capital of between £60,000 and £90,000.

Brokerplan

Investing in a Brokerplan franchise gives you the opportunity to offer your clients access to a wide range of financial products and services from over 250 UK based lenders.

As a franchisee, youll be responsible for helping small and medium-sized businesses to secure business loans, obtain buy to let mortgages, and acquire asset leasing, to name a few. You dont need to have any experience of working in financial services as you'll be given all the training you need. You need to have the confidence to work with owners and managers of SME companies and a passion for building your own profitable and sustainable business.

The investment needed to get your business off the ground is just £4,995. In return, youll attend a comprehensive training course and receive both marketing and business development support. With the income of a typical case coming in at between £2,000 to £8,000 a rapid return on your investment is expected with projected earnings in the range of £30,000 to £75,000 for your first year.

Rosemary

Rosemary is an established and trusted bookkeeping franchise which offers its franchisees the chance to work flexible hours from the comfort of their own home. So if you want to say goodbye to long commutes so that you can focus on growing a successful management-style business, then this could be the franchise opportunity for you.

The cost of setting up a Rosemary bookkeeping franchise is £16,970. Alongside this franchise fee, theres a start-up cost of £2,870 which includes all the necessary IT equipment and software youll need to get your business up and running.

Once you've joined the Rosemary franchise network, you'll receive a comprehensive 12-week training programme which will provide you with guidance on how to set up and operate your business, win new clients, maximise your sales, and give a first-class bookkeeping service. Throughout your franchise term, you'll receive ongoing advice and technical support on bookkeeping, sales, marketing, recruitment, staff management and legislation changes, so you'll never be alone.

Conclusion

One thing is for sure, e-commerce is going to continue to grow for many years to come. As consumers expect more and technology becomes more advanced, e-commerce companies will need to invest in their platforms. This is true for B2B e-commerce companies too.

The good news is that when you invest in a B2B franchise, you get to run your own small business while being part of a bigger company. Therefore you'll benefit from the franchisor keeping up to date with technological developments allowing you to stay one step ahead of your competition.

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