According to Global Newswire, by 2027, B2B eCommerce industry is estimated to reach 20.9 trillion. Amid the pandemic, very similar to B2C eCommerce, B2B eCommerce trends also increased. Overall, there has been an increase in demand for purchasing products online than ever before.
Here are the B2B ecommerce trends that sellers should consider on how these will impact the B2B business industry.
Evolving B2B eCommerce
While B2B eCommerce is not something new and has been existent for over a decade, online channels have not always been a main source of revenue. However, to meet the changing habits of B2B buyers, B2B industry leaders are investing for building sophisticated B2B online experiences as part of an eCommerce-first strategy.
According to a report by Forrester, by 2023, millennials will constitute 80% of total B2B buyers. Today’s younger generation business leaders are more digital-savvy due to the increased penetration of the internet. They always prefer to research online for various buying options available before making a purchase decision and just they would for their personal purchases are shopping goods online. This has led B2B businesses to realize that in the coming years, eCommerce has a strong potential to be their main revenue driver.
Digital Commerce 360 states that around 48% of companies now conduct online purchases for 50-74% of all corporate purchases and 23% of companies conduct around 75% of their purchasing online.
Rise and Dominance of B2B Marketplaces
The role and importance of B2B marketplaces is rising by the day and cannot be ignored by B2B merchants.
Reports indicate that instead of visiting a B2B seller’s website or eCommerce portal, B2B buyers tend to visit marketplaces. According to Digital Commerce 360, Amazon Business is preferred by 33% of B2B buyers compared to 32% for a supplier’s website or portal.
Amazon Business Marketplace serves more than 55 Fortune 100 companies globally, large hospitals, local governments, large educational institutions and many such more. The marketplace has reported faster growth than overall sales growth on Amazon.
Amazon Business is not the only marketplace. There are many B2B marketplaces. Benefits that are drawing B2B buyers to marketplaces like Amazon include large options of product catalogs, comparatively lower prices, and fast shipping. Considering the above trend, B2B sellers will have to adapt their business practices and leverage marketplaces correctly to build their brand visibility and increase sales.
With proven processes, software, and expertise in marketplace management, TransForm Solutions assures B2B sellers tremendous growth and profits and is devoted to providing highest level of excellence and the best possible experience.
Tools and Technology
Now since it has been established that B2B eCommerce is here to stay and flourish in the coming times, it is imperative to have modern and advanced systems in place to support the same.
An integral part of any eCommerce store is the technology and platform behind it. B2B business have complex requirements and eCommerce platforms have made several enhancements and upgrades to handle those.
Today’s young buyers look for shopping convenience, site load speed, the accuracy of the information, and personalization. The intuitive eCommerce platform with integrated tools streamlines the time-intensive and cost-intensive sales process.
Account Management Features for B2B eCommerce
- Adding multiple shipping addresses
- Editing payment information and schedule
- Tracking order status
- Add/remove corporate users and their purchasing permissions (limiting to a certain budget)
Order Management for B2B eCommerce
- Detailed product catalogs with product comparisons
- Descriptive videos OR 3D rendered images
- Ability to add items in bulk
- Modify recent order list / reorder products
- Faster checkout
The downside of a feature rich B2B portal can be no in-person support from a sales person. Hence features like live chat, instant support, human assisted chatbots, etc. are also integrated in a B2B portal where users who require a human guidance can be directed to.
eCommerce sites do not completely eliminate sales person. In fact, sales teams can use the site to drive more orders and increase their bottom line.
While many B2B merchants are undergoing digital transformation of their stores, many are still only scratching the surface. The main challenge that is holding back B2B leaders from adopting B2B eCommerce tools is their integration with existing and legacy technologies. Other challenges include finding the right eCommerce partners to support their B2B stores.
Technology integration with ERP, supplier databases, PIMS, etc. enables automating core processes and deliver omnichannel customer experiences like:
- Order fulfillment for next-day delivery
- Automatically route orders to suppliers based on efficiency and cost
- Display real-time inventory availability and price information
- Syncing customer data to customer support systems
B2B eCommerce Site Personalization
B2B merchants should leverage personalization techniques to make the online shopping experience more engaging and rewarding.
According to Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that recognize them, remember them and offer relevant recommendations as per their preferences.
Personalization techniques increase loyalty and turn one-time buyers into long-term repeat customers, in turn driving higher revenue. It reduces the costs of new customer acquisition. Here are some features that help to personalize the shopping experience.
- On-site Search to help buyers find the exact products they are looking for
- Catalog segmentation to show select products to certain buyers
- Pricing customization to display pricing and auto-adjusted based on volume, customer type, or order size
- Value-added Content like marketing one-pagers, product specification sheets, whitepapers, videos, etc.
- Based on the past purchase and/or browsing history, show recommend products
- Increase conversion rates by offering various payment options/terms
Here are some interesting facts about B2B online searches:
- Forrester reports that a majority – 74% of B2B buyers search online for product information and options.
- According to Think With Google, on average, B2B buyers do 12 searches online before engaging with a specific’s brand’s site.
It’s imperative to connect these prospective buyers with your products early in their discovery stage through targeted content marketing.
B2B sellers should implement strategic content marketing approach to create and distribute focused, valuable, relevant, timely and consistent content to attract, acquire and retain a targeted audience. The content ultimately drives profitable customer action.
Align various content pieces like website, blogs, product pages, social posts, videos, emails, etc. with the B2B buyer’s journey such that that helps them drive towards a purchase decision.