Digital commerce is on the rise in all parts of the world. Businesses have many opportunities to expand their marketing to numerous channels, markets, and devices. But when we think of online transactions, why is it that primarily B2C ecommerce comes to mind? B2C refers to businesses selling to consumers or the general public. B2B ecommerce, on the other hand, happens when companies sell to other businesses or organizations. These business-to-business transactions are also more commonly carried out online these days. When a company is involved in B2B, it needs to cater to the interests and requirements of its business customers or client organizations.
What is Business-to-Business Ecommerce?
B2B or business-to-business eCommerce can be defined as activities involving online transactions where both parties involved are organizations, not individuals. In other words, a company that sells its products or services to other companies over the internet is involved in B2B ecommerce. This is different from B2C eCommerce, where the merchant targets individual customers and sells to end consumers.
There are many different types of B2B organizations. They span over a range of other business models and operate in various sectors in the economy. Most of the B2B businesses are service providing companies. Their services range from accounting, digital, legal to physical goods like equipment, machinery, and even consumer goods.
When we shop online, we usually see the B2C eCommerce market. Little do we know that the global business-to-business eCommerce market actually consumes 6 times the market space on the internet like B2C. These stats are expected to grow as many local and international businesses seek to build a solid online presence. Companies that buy services from other companies online are also looking for more convenient and speedy purchasing experiences and are thus looking for service providers on the internet. This trend is expected to push the offline B2B companies to create eCommerce websites that enable them to accept payments from their client organizations online.
In short, the demand for B2B ecommerce platforms is on the rise. Companies that are not yet considering selling their products and services on the internet will have a hard time sustaining their business in the long run. Due to the ongoing pandemic, more B2B organizations are introducing their online stores and promote their services to other companies through various digital platforms.
This post is a guide to B2B trends that you need to know if you are operating in a B2B sector.
Latest B2B Ecommerce Trends
The booming trend of online sales has forced many organizations to improve their customer experience to provide more convenience and ease of use. The technology keeps getting smarter every year, and more sophisticated tools appear in the market. Businesses that are among the first to take advantage of this technology gain a competitive edge over others. These are the quickest businesses in adapting to the eCommerce world. B2B companies that get involved in ecommerce can make more and higher sales from clients all across the globe. They are not bound by the geographical region they are located in, as they build mechanisms to make sales online. This opens doors to make more international sales and enjoy high-profit margins.
Here are some of the prevailing B2B ecommerce trends. We have already been observing some of these for the past couple of years, while others are expected to become more prominent in 5 to 10 years.
Businesses that buy services or products from other businesses also have needs and requirements. One of the latest B2B trends is to offer personalized services. This means your service needs to cater to the specific requirements of your client organization. If you want to survive in the highly competitive business-to-business market, you might have to fine-tune your approach and procedures for each client you come across.
If you are selling your services online, this would mean customizing your digital tools and service delivery channels to suit the requirements and pace of your business customer. Organizations have multiple stakeholders and usually deal with longer negotiations when they buy from another organization. Therefore, B2B companies need to incorporate even more complicated personalization of services than B2C companies. A study showed that 69% of B2B buyers are willing to pay more for personalized service and experience.
Whether we use mobile apps, desktop or mobile websites, or visit retail outlets in person, we expect to get the same service from a particular brand. B2B customers are the same in this regard. B2B ecommerce customers also expect omnichannel experiences throughout their contract duration.
Giant eCommerce platforms like Amazon are fighting for wallet share nowadays. Statistics reveal that more than 77% of consumers shop through their mobile phones these days. This trend is expected to grow in the coming years and applies to B2B customers. The top management staff of companies is more commonly browsing through service provider websites through their mobile devices to decide which business to buy from. B2B customers are constantly looking for ways to digitally purchase the goods and services they need. This means the demand for omnichannel marketing is growing in the B2B market.
3. Mobile Growth
Mobile web traffic seems to be growing exponentially in both B2C and B2B markets. Millennials are more mobile-dependent now than ever before and like to browse online stores and eCommerce websites from their mobile phones. This creates opportunities for business-to-business sellers to get quality leads by selling their products and services online. By creating a mobile website, B2B companies can attract a new pool of client organizations from different parts of the world.
According to research, mobile traffic comprises more than 65% of eCommerce traffic. This massive mobile user base provides great opportunities to business-to-business service providers to sell their services through mobile apps or at least accept payments through apps or mobile websites for the services delivered in person.
The future eCommerce world will be heavily reliant on data and analytics. It is easier to gather and analyze data for transactions carried out online. B2B companies realize the importance and value of this data and make more productive use. This is making the trend of collecting data analytics grow. Loyalty and customer reward programs are also run online, enabling both B2C and B2B sellers to collect more comprehensive statistics about their customers.
The growing reliance on customer demographics and situational data helps organizations make more informed decisions for future marketing strategies. Technologies that use cloud computing and storage are getting more commonly known. More and more business-to-business organizations incorporate network optimization and predictive analytics in their operations. Adopting such innovative technologies is bringing about a digital transformation in the world.
5. Conversational Commerce
Voice searching and ordering are becoming more and more common every year. Statistics show that in 2021, 3 million more adults in the US will own a voice-activated device compared to last year. This has a direct impact on the B2B market. It mainly represents a business opportunity for newcomers in B2B ecommerce. For years, companies operating as offline sellers can now consider selling online and incorporate conversational commerce technology in their websites and apps. This is also an opportunity for the existing B2B ecommerce operators to enhance their customers’ buying experience.
6. VR and AR
The technologies of virtual reality and augmented reality play a renewed role in the world of B2B ecommerce. Customers and businesses look for more immersive experiences these days. B2B sellers can now allow buyers to test their products or services virtually before the actual purchase is made. This provides both parties a convenient channel to confirm complex products the actual transaction is made.
7. AI and IOT
The technologies of AI and IOT continue to impact B2B ecommerce. These technologies give a more accurate prediction of the outcome that each party is looking for. Businesses buying goods or services online can receive the suitable recommendations with the correct course of action.
PWA stands for Progressive Web Apps. This technology is not yet as well-known as the others mentioned above. Nonetheless, it is gaining momentum and popularity in B2B ecommerce. B2B businesses that use PWA have more easily accessible storefronts and landing pages.
If you are running a B2B business, there are plenty of opportunities for you to explore. That’s the benefit of finding out about the trends in your respective sector. But you can only take advantage of all the knowledge you just gained if you have a professional website to sell your products or services online
Image taken from Strikingly
You can quickly build one on Strikingly if you do not have a website yet. Strikingly is a website builder that allows you to create a complete eCommerce website in just a couple of hours. Once you sign up for your free account, you’ll be able to access your website editor, where you can try out our web development tools and features. You’ll be surprised how simple the process is, and enjoy building your website all along.