With Covid-19, self-service online platforms are going to be dominant elements in the B2B space, which begs the question: When it comes to selecting a B2B e-commerce platform, what should you look for? 

For any business owner, there are multiple factors to consider – especially in today’s current state of the industry. 

Changing Times

Due to the virus’s impact, B2B buying behaviour and preferences have shifted, which impacts how you, as a manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler, sell to your customers. 

Increasingly, B2B buyers are purchasing online, with at least 55% completing at least half of their purchases via e-commerce. A McKinsey survey supports this, as 95% of Asian B2B buyers have stated they will make purchases in an end-to-end, digital self-serve model

To meet demands, a seamless online experience is crucial. B2B buyers aren’t just looking for speed and efficiency, but they’re also expecting personalisation – a key component in the traditional people-facing industry. 

With this pivotal shift, the speed of your adoption process matters too. Covid-19 has shown that manual processes no longer work – something the heavily fragmented industry has long relied on to operate. Now, getting online fast is crucial. 

“Look for a solution that is not only cost-efficient but also one that you can deploy in the fastest time,” says Lennise Ng in a recent webinar with MDEC, CEO and co-founder at Dropee. 

This brings us back to the first question: what should you look for in a B2B online platform?

In this article, we’ve compiled the top five features you need for a B2B e-commerce platform that will not only meet your buyers’ expectations but also streamline your processes. 

Top 5 Features for a Powerful B2B Online Platform

  1. Personalised & Customer-Specific Pricing
  2. Seamless Order Management 
  3. Precise Tracking Fulfillment
  4. Robust Analytics
  5. Easy Set-Up and Integrations

#1 Personalised & Customer-centric Pricing 

Your buyers expect a customised experience – even after you’ve moved online. 

Your B2B online platform must be able to cater to various customer needs, right down to the retailer level. The ability to segment pricing and payment dues according to different buyers is crucial. 

This is especially evident in the B2B space, where products are often sold at different price points based on the negotiated contracts. Additionally, different buyers have different payment or credit terms as well. 

Top 5 Key Features You Need for A B2B Online Platform
The Special Retailers tab on Dropee Direct.

On Dropee Direct, you have a Special Retailers setting where you can customise the catalogue and pricing for each of your buyers. Alternatively, you can also create promotion codes or free item promotions as well. 

With these features, it allows you to…

  • Show the right price points for each buyer, all in real-time
  • Keep track of which buyers are on credit terms 
  • Identify when payments are due for different orders 
    • This, in turn, allows your buyers to track when their order payments are due
  • Create unique discounts
  • Offer customised promotions or free shipping
  • Automate price changes

What’s important here is also privacy. Unlike B2C e-commerce platforms, where everyone sees the same price tag, business pricing must be kept confidential. 

With their own specific login IDs, buyers should only be able to see their own selection of products and attached pricing, and no one else’s. 

#2 Seamless Order Management System

Traditionally, sales representatives spend a chunk of their time managing orders, from picking up phone calls to filing tedious paperwork. With digitisation, that process is transformed into a self-serve system. 

In other words, your buyers can place orders on your B2B online platform without talking to any of your salespeople, saving your business valuable time. According to McKinsey, only 20–30% of B2B buyers want in-person interaction – so it’s a win-win solution. 

Your B2B e-commerce platform needs to consolidate all of your orders in one place, where you can easily keep track of which orders have been paid for, and which haven’t. 

Top 5 Key Features You Need for A B2B Online Platform
The order management system on Dropee Direct.

Instantly, your sales representatives can follow-up with those that have yet to make payment – and not have to call them up one by one. 

Human-prone errors such as duplication of orders will be minimised too, as you and your buyers can easily see the order and payment history.

Another key feature to have is the ability to support different order management rules. In B2B, buyers often purchase in bulk, and setting minimum order quantities (MOQs) is common. Hence, having the ability to configure order requirements is a must-have. 

You can easily do so on Dropee Direct! When you upload a product, you get to decide the minimum order quantity, as well as the quantities purchased to trigger wholesale pricing. Higher quantity, more affordable!

#3 Precise Tracking Fulfilment  

Without a B2B e-commerce platform, your buyers will need to constantly call or email you to get an update on their order’s delivery status. The longer the wait, the more calls you receive. 

To ease their minds (and yours), your online platform needs to showcase an overview of the delivery stages. The more detailed, the better – this ensures the right orders are fulfilled on time (to the right buyers) with minimal delays or issues. 

Top 5 Key Features You Need for A B2B Online Platform
The order management system on Dropee Direct, trackable by delivery stages.

On Dropee Direct, our delivery process is segmented into a few stages, including Pending Shipment or Pending Self-Pickup, In Progress and Completed. Your sales representatives can easily navigate between the tabs, managing orders as they go. At the same time, your buyers are also notified of any updates in their statuses. 

There are also other stages as well, such as Rejected. Having this in your B2B e-commerce platform is important, as it not only promotes transparency, but also speed. The last thing you want is for your buyers to expect a delivery, only for them to find out that the product is out-of-stock a few days later. 

This feature provides a seamless transition, from purchase to delivery. 

Extra feature: On Dropee Direct, you can also manage trade promotions on territorial rights! You can easily create promos for buyers in different locations, all in one platform.

#4 Robust Analytics

With all of your orders and deliveries moved online, you now have actionable data at your fingertips.

From the bestsellers of the month to your most searched products, a B2B e-commerce platform must be able to surface these insights for you to tap into. 

A plus point is if data and insights can be visualised – all you have to do is analyse and report. This not only helps you to better manage your inventory, but also provides clearer next steps in decision-making.

Robust analytics available at your fingertips on Dropee Direct.

When you sign up for Dropee Direct, you get instant access to your order analytics. As a Supplier on the platform, you can see your sales trends, best customers and bestsellers of the month, of the year, and of all time. 

Robust analytics available at your fingertips on Dropee Direct.

As a Management on the platform, you get even more visibility, which allows for better accuracy in forecasting demand. This includes top searches, search logs, and category analytics. 

What's the difference between the Supplier and Management tier? Different Dropee Direct packages allow for different levels of user management. 

In simpler terms, the basic package allows you to monitor all transactions between your own sales teams and their retail customers, while the advanced package allows you to manage the accounts of your sales distributors & enable them, in turn, to manage the accounts of retailers that they serve. 

Talk to us to find out more!

This is an important feature to have, as it allows you to upsell based on buyers’ purchasing behaviour, which means you can provide better and more focused engagement.

#5 Easy Set-Up and Integrations

While you always have the option to build your e-commerce platform from scratch, the typical timeline takes an average of 6 to 24 months. This waiting period causes missed opportunities, especially when all of your competitors are already online. 

Opting for a B2B e-commerce platform will get you up to speed in a quicker time frame – saving you time, resources, and effort. Dropee Direct, for example, can get your store up and running as fast as in a day! 

Another feature that will help your business run more efficiently is easy integration with existing applications you already use, whether it’s shipping or accounting services. 

Having this feature enables you to streamline all of your processes, which means less double work, and more time saved. 

In the Dropee Advanced and Custom Package, you can integrate 3PL (third-party logistics) for shipping services, and Quickbooks for accounting softwares. 

Ramp Up Your B2B Online Platform

These features are just the tipping point of what makes a powerful B2B e-commerce platform.

Each is important, and together, they help to accelerate automation – a key driver in B2B success. 

Dropee is an e-commerce solutions provider that helps B2B entities streamline and manage their customers and inventories. We also help to connect businesses via an online marketplace where they can expand their sales channels.

Reach out to us for a free consultation and get a headstart in digitising your business today!


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