I’ve always been a fan of nice watches. A quality watch makes a statement. As a consumer, it’s easy for me to go online, do some research, see product images, read reviews from other customers, and, if I spend enough time scouring Amazon.com, the site will know what to suggest to me based on my past searches and purchases. The right products are thrust in front of me at the right time – I can see what’s left in stock, decide to make a purchase, and even know how many days it will take for my new timepiece to arrive. With the click of a button, that watch is mine.

This process was unheard of 10-15 years ago – and even then, a site such as Amazon was focused specifically on books. But B2C e-commerce has evolved, and as a consumer, I can find almost anything I need, be it a watch, a tent for camping, or groceries.

There is no doubt that e-commerce has set its stake in the ground as one of the most important sales vehicles, both in the B2C world and increasingly connected to B2B sales. In fact, according to research and advisory firm Frost & Sullivan, B2B and retail e-commerce will hit $12 trillion worldwide by 2020, ranking it among up and coming industries in both innovation and market attractiveness.

As the world’s businesses embrace the digital marketplace, B2B marketers need to leverage all of their assets to create thriving e-commerce businesses in 2015 and beyond.

There are five focus areas that best-in-class B2B brands such as Rip Curl, Marlox Group, and Crocs execute to significantly boost B2B businesses’ sales – particularly those made through e-commerce platforms.

Omni-channel sales consistency

In a recent report from Forrester, “Building The B2B Omni-Channel Commerce Platform Of The Future,” B2B buyers “expect an omni-channel experience where they can view product information, analyze activities, see account history, take delivery, and return and exchange across all channels.” In fact, 68% highlighted the importance of viewing all purchasing activities across all channels, and 75% of buyers internationally said they would buy again from suppliers that have seamless omni-channel capabilities. This is a clear call from B2B buyers: they are looking for a consistent buying experience, no matter if it’s with your sales rep, or working in a self-service e-commerce portal.

Simplicity

While data remains a critical component in B2B marketing, the emphasis on simplicity is greater than ever.

Distributor, wholesale and retail B2B buyers have a pretty specific idea in mind in terms of what they’re looking for. If your e-commerce site is simple enough to seamlessly direct them to what they’re seeking, based on their profile and past purchases, you can ensure a higher level of conversion.

Adoption

Now that you’ve invested time and resources into preparing your e-commerce storefront for a B2B buyer, you must find ways to encourage adoption. Incentivize your field sales reps to train your B2B customers – during visits – to order via your e-commerce site. The more comfortable your B2B customers are with your e-commerce site, the more likely they are to place orders online.

It’s critically important to reward your sales reps for the online orders made by their B2B customers. This will alleviate conflict between your field sales and online e-commerce business.

To further encourage adoption among your customers, you can also provide pricing incentives for ordering online versus buying from a sales rep.

Integration

To get your customers hooked on using your highly customized B2B e-commerce site, you need to ensure the experience is complete.

The next step in B2B marketing is to merge your front-end e-commerce site with your back-end operations.

Using a B2B e-commerce platform that fully integrates with your back-end ERP allows for real-time synchronization of inventory, pricing, shipping and invoicing information. Your product catalog displays up-to-date inventory levels, your customers are presented with their specific pricing, and once an order is submitted on the web store, it’s automatically sent to the ERP system for processing. Your order-to-cash cycle time is minimized.

Mobility in every sales channel

In our increasingly connected world, mobility is king. There is no question that B2B brands and wholesalers are integrating mobility as a part of the B2B omni-channel sales experience. Mobility means that both customers using your e-commerce site, as well as your sales force in the field, can receive real-time inventory and timeline updates for order fulfillment, pricing, and more – anywhere. The best way to take your B2B business mobile is by utilizing cloud-based mobile app technologies. This allows for syncing up orders to the cloud with your ERP-integrated B2B e-Commerce sales platform –all in real-time.

Take mobility one step further by making your B2B e-Commerce site accessible via a mobile app. Your customers benefit from ease-of-use, accessibility, and speed of a native mobile app. And offline operation of the app provides the ability to make purchases even when internet connectivity is scarce.

While B2C e-commerce might have a head start, there is no question that B2B e-commerce is on its way into the mainstream. By implementing the tactics outlined above, your customers’ buying experience can become as easy as the click of a button.