The Big Boom of B2B E-Commerce amidst the Pandemic

b2b e-commerce

The B2B E-Commerce is the unsung market that’s about to boom even more with the outbreak of an unprecedented global health pandemic.

On a global level, by the end of 2020, B2B e-commerce will account for $6.7 trillion in trade worldwide and will be over twice the size of the B2C market at $3.2 trillion. 

Prediction from Forrester

Accompanying the potential for huge gains and a need to grab market share during these uncertain times, the biggest B2B brands are poised to take important steps to ensure they have as much of a land grab as quickly as possible. 

For this you will have to take note of the key ways the market is maturing and keep pace with the trends.

The e-commerce ecosystem is constantly evolving with new extensions being added constantly and B2B vendors are keen to keep up with the latest trends, seeking out every possible advantage to ensure business growth. 

Suppliers are willing to integrate their B2B platforms with a range of backend systems, like ERP, CRM and accounting software. They’re also looking to partner with systems integrators with the technical and commercial knowledge to leverage the new advances in technology that enhances the client experience. 

The B2B e-commerce is snowballing, with some estimates projecting the size of the market at US$1.2 trillion by 2021.

What is B2B E-commerce?

B2B e-commerce, or business-to-business electronic commerce, describes online order transactions between businesses.

It can be defined as the online sale of products and services from one business entity to another.

Because orders and services are processed digitally, thus the buying efficiency is improved for wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors, and other types of B2B sellers.

Why should you sell online?

According to Forrester, 74% of B2B customers prefer to buy online as compared to buying from a sales representative. This number rises to 93% when they’ve already decided what to buy and just need to make the purchase.

Keeping this in mind, B2B companies and other wholesalers cannot afford to stick to their traditional offline approaches of dealing with clients and customers. 

B2B organizations need to quickly adapt and chalk up a digital strategy that will help them capitalize on the growing trend of online buying.

Today, B2B buyers want a B2C-like shopping experience, with sleek site design and functionality for large catalogs and segmented pricing.

Existing complexities can easily be solved by modern B2B ecommerce platforms – and now, business-to-business brands irrespective of their sizes are looking to optimize their ecommerce channel for sustainable growth over the next decade.

How to begin with B2B E-Commerce?

In order to support your clients now—and keep their business in the future— incorporate the given 3 features to elevate your B2B e-commerce experience:

1. Incorporate Better Product Details and Real-Time Inventory

You can enhance your online product experience by beefing up product detail pages and online catalogs with detailed product descriptions and high-quality images, specs, and updated inventory to support purchasing decisions. 

This will help B2B buyers to make easy decisions during a recession.

The former is a common pain point for B2B buyers, even before the effects of COVID-19 sent clients on a frustrating hunt for in-stock products. 

Showing your clients an accurate representation of inventory saves them time, while reducing frustration and client churn.

2. Label in- and out-of-stock items properly

Begin with labeling all in- and out-of-stock items on search results and product detail pages clearly.

  • Demonstrate in-stock items first by default in search results.
  • Consider removing out-of-stock items from your product feed. For instance, you can connect Episerver Product Recommendations to your catalog feed to only display products that are in-stock.
  • Display available quantities of in-stock items.
  • Show a firm date when out-of-stock items will be available.
  • Give your customers the option to be notified when items are available (teeing up a future sale).
  • Whenever possible, show complementary items that are in stock, so that buyers have alternative options to purchase.

3. Real-time Shipping Updates and Faster Delivery

Your B2B buyers, just like B2C shoppers, want to track their orders and expect fast shipping options, like Amazon and its retail competitors provide.

In fact, “long lead times for delivery/fulfillment” tied for #1 alongside pricing as the reasons why B2B buyers ditch sellers.

Your clients want regular updates on their orders’ expected arrival date and any changes to the delivery schedule. 

So during the checkout process, consider including an opt-in for shipping updates between purchase and delivery. 

You can also use marketing automation to send a follow up email with shipping updates to buyers.

What are the latest and upcoming  B2B E-Commerce Trends?

Let’s now look at some of the major trends which are driving B2B e-commerce trends globally:

1. The Data-Driven Approach

Moving in a world of technological advancements, it is highly essential to keep an eye on statistical data. Once you know what your client needs, you will be able to make required changes in your e-store. 

With the help of real-time devices, you can track client behavior and analytics which is present on the e-commerce site. It has been observed that a proper market analysis will always lead to huge profits and customer engagements. 

This will strategically drive business sales and will ultimately boost your online business globally.

2. Subscription-based selling is on a surge

If you want to increase your prospect’s interest in your e-store, try a subscription-based selling process. 

This holds greater command on client engagement as buyers are always in the search of some new offers or profits.  

Providing subscription to consumers will face some excitement in the whole shopping experience. 

It’s a beneficial part for both clients and business owners to face profit from the subscription-based selling.

3. An era for Shopping with VR

VR or Virtual Reality builds an environment which helps clients to view products using VR headset that gives them a 3D world with HD view. 

Facing an awesome shopping strategy with virtual reality devices, people are going crazy with this style. E-Commerce companies are making high investments in providing a Virtual Reality world to customers for shopping needs. Living in the technology-based world, it is essential to adopt new trends and walk with consumer demands. It is highly essential to fulfill consumer demands and take care of their comfort when they visit your e-store.

4. Mobile E-Commerce

When you consider the fact that the mobile eCommerce accounts for an average of more than 40% of revenue in top B2B organizations, it’s obvious your company needs progressive applications that lead to a quick and seamless mobile shopping experience. 

Furthermore, mobile eCommerce will likely outpace desktop eCommerce by 20% over the next 2 years, so it is crucial that you optimize your website for mobile search results and make it as user friendly as possible.  

You should also consider a dedicated mobile app to provide an even smoother, faster, and always on experience without B2B users needing to actually visit your website.

5. Sales Team Involvement

While you might think that the B2B sales team has become somewhat obsolete in the new world of B2B eCommerce, the reality is sales reps can increase conversion rates by focusing on key benefits for each customer with eCommerce. 

According to Forrester analysts, B2B customers are both “accelerating their shift to self-serve and demanding higher-quality interactions with sales pros,” and the most successful sales reps will be those who can access online data – including order history and the latest product details – while helping customers make purchases.

RELATED POST: 7 ways Data Analytics can Help you Boost B2B sales

6. Technological advancement in Supply chain

Technologies like AI and big data are helping B2B manufacturers to analyze complex sets of data and arrive at a pattern along with optimizing the entire business process. 

Advanced technologies such as RFID chips and barcodes in products help provide real time actionable data to manufacturers and end customers. 

Technology companies are leveraging on these data feeds to effectively manage route plans and thus save huge costs for end customers and logistics companies. 

Latest technologies like Blockchain are being experimented on highly decentralized supply chain management such as smart contracts to help manufacturers track higher value goods with its unique attributes.

Get ready for the boom

To sum up, if you’re not ready – get ready, because for any B2B vendor to make sense of, and keep up with, the huge changes over the next 5 years, a key step will be to find the right e-commerce agency to partner with. Because.. B2B e-commerce is all set for the biggest boom. 

Our B2B sales & marketing consultancy firm helps your business by analyzing your current methods, identifying your pains, and quantifying the effects these have on your costs/growth/client retention and then helps you to find the best solutions to take advantage of the future growth in B2B e-commerce. 

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