In layman terms, B2B e- commerce stands for business to business electronic commerce where products are sold via online portals through the internet. In today’s technological world, eCommerce is a boom. It is widely being used by the companies to improve their operational efficiency. In this the product and services orders are digitally placed.
A new bud called mCommerce has also joined the race. Further, retail eCommerce is transforming at the speed of light due to introduction and adoption of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality). With ever-rising mobile technologies, how B2B eCommerce can survive and perform better is the most important areas of interest for industry experts and researchers.
The market for the B2B eCommerce is quickly evolving. More and more companies are adding online sales channel for selling their products and services to increase business.
According to the UPC report 2014, it said that in the year 2014, 63% of industrial supplies buyers went for online purchasing of their products.
The B2B eCommerce market is expected to grow from $780B in 2015 to $1.1T in 2020.
According to Forrester, by the year 2019, it predicts that manufacturers and wholesalers will total account for 30% of the spending on eCommerce technology which in the year 2013 was 20% of it. As per Frost & Sullivan B2B eCommerce will hit $6.6 trillion by 2020.
For a successful business in eCommerce, a robust platform is a must. A perfect and robust eCommerce platform not only helps to boost and sales and satisfy users but also proves as cost efficient option.
When it comes to B2B eCommerce, there’s lot more to say. How will it take a turn in the future? How can it boost buying experience of customers? Will it get revolutionised or doomed with new technologies popping up day by day? Well, there are three key elements which are expected to accelerate as well as enhance the future of B2B eCommerce.
B2B buyers prefer eCommerce platform for buying complex products, digital goods and the subscription-based products. It provides the entire required information to B2B buyers that are needed in making educated and smart buying decision. With various eCommerce websites and mobile applications, users can access each of the minute details to at their finger tips – be it price, volume, quality, size, expected date of delivery or even feedback and reviews. Hence, with the help of this information, they can place their order at their own through any device such as PC, smart phone etc.
According to Forrester 93% of business buyers prefer to buy products online and by the year 2017, 56% of the buyers were expected to make half of their business purchases online and by the year 2020, it is expected that this number will rise to 85%.
Self service buying provides several benefits-
- It proves to be cost effective as by this several products can be compared along with their prices and the best one can be picked out of them.
- It also free up the sales staff as it handles these order taking activities and more focus can be given on higher value accounts and development of business.
- It also provides profitable serving, high order volume segments like SMB’s and parts and accessories orders from existing customers.
Cross- channel engagement
Seamless cross-channel experiences for the eCommerce platforms are must regardless of the way the customer or the prospect get in touch with you whether be it online, with a call to sales, or through one of your channel partners. The customer choose how , when and where to engage with you and these cross-channel engagements must deliver expected experience across all the customer needs and demands which are based on end to end view of customers. As with this the sales team can continue the conversations, address objections and can also offer valuable human connection to build up relationship and loyalty with the customer.
After laying foundation of the seamless experience from self-service to digitally enabled sales optimization can be start that can show impact in business outcomes.
The customer today expects the sale person to know about the product that they have purchased or installed after becoming a customer. The customer expect that the sale person should know their needs and have information and is prepared based on all the information that was made available to the customer before the purchase.
This is what the personalization is all about – product and solutions must be configured to meet the business requirements and needs, presentation of right components and replacement parts based upon the solutions from the previous purchases.
Along with these three major B2B eCommerce elements, there are several other trends which play an important role in success of the eCommerce business today.
Global market, Local support
ECommerce trend is rapidly shifting towards Asia with China’s exponentially growth in this sector it is expected to be doubled between now and in the year 2019, which will add up $1 trillion worth sales in just three years. For the better services localization of eCommerce strategies are being done by the companies that includes translation of the website content, and other features to connect with the local market.
This has become the gold standard to attract the customers and to retain them. Videos are being preferred more as a content marketing strategy. According to the sources over 895,000 hours of B2B videos ere watched in the year 2014. During the research processes half of the B2B buyers spent 30 minutes or more on watching B2B related videos and about 20% of buyers watch over an hour of the video content.
Further, short duration illustrative or tutorial videos that illustrate only the most important functionality of your product are also among the latest B2B eCommerce trends.
In 2016, Gartner predicted that by 2018 nearly a half of all existing B2B eCommerce websites will be using Configure Price Quote (CPQ) tools. Such B2B eCommerce trends help businesses configure prices to the unique needs of customers, sales volume and order history. Moreover, these prices are transparent and do not involve any hidden charges.
How AI can be forgotten here? It all started from chatbots and now has expanded its wings. From Amazon’s Alexa to Google’s Allo, see how tables have turned in the entire industry today.
Most of the eCommerce strategists nowadays utilise AI as a part of B2B sales strategy to maximise their revenue. This is due to its ability to predict sales, optimize prices, and calculate discounts based on similar customer profiles.
Mobile friendly websites
According to the study it states that more than half of the B2B buyers are millennials so hovering over a giant stack of papers is a big no for them. They prefer to use mobile devices extensively to research about and to buy B2B products.
Subscription based business models
These models are gaining more popularity in the B2B space. These models help in making the process of online purchasing more convenient for the customers; that are beneficial for both the business and customers.
Onsite search function
If the customers are not able to find what they are looking for in your website they will simply turn to other website for the same therefore it is important to implement improvements that enhance user experience, so that it does not cause any confusion.
Over to you!
These all elements and trends together enhance the future of B2B eCommerce experiences of the customers. The B2B eCommerce trend will be globally dominating in the near future. Currently, the mega eCommerce star Amazon accounts for 37% of the eCommerce market alone. It is predicted that the traditional B2B retail will collapse and the B2B eCommerce that accounts for fewer than 10% in the United States today will rise to a massive 50% by the next 10 years. Thus a golden age of B2B eCommerce is about to invade.
Content Lead at SoluLab, a leading Enterprise Blockchain, Mobile Apps and Web development company, started by ex-vice president of Goldman Sachs and ex-principal software architect of Citrix. SoluLab Inc provides full spectrum, 360-degree services to enterprises, startups and entrepreneurs helping turn their dreams into awesome software products.