The rapid growth of eCommerce has opened doors to success. Buyers can buy anything, anytime, anywhere and the sellers thrive with growth opportunities to succeed online.
eCommerce systems and tools have greatly evolved due to the Internet. With its potential rise, eCommerce also brings in new challenges, concerns, and questions to pose.
Every B2B provider has a journey different from the other. A lot of sources suggest that the B2B eCommerce markets are much larger than B2C eCommerce markets. It is nearly double the B2C market-which is huge!
And, as more companies become a part of the digital transformation and enter the B2B market, it is expected that 80% of all B2B sales will happen through digital channels by the year 2025.
While a lot of you might be convinced to either shift to or start a B2B eCommerce business, some might still be confused. This article should be a good read about types of B2B eCommerce and bursting the five biggest misconceptions in the B2B eCommerce space to give you a clearer idea about it.
If you’ve been planning to enter the B2B eCommerce space, you need to get a few essentials right-
The B2B eCommerce space is expanding rapidly.
Millennials are increasingly said to be influencing professional purchase decisions.
B2B eCommerce is proliferating twice as fast as B2C eCommerce.
Now that we fairly have a basic idea of how eCommerce businesses are growing let us take a quick brief on the different types of B2B eCommerce models.
B2B eCommerce models
B2B eCommerce comes in various forms. Here is an overview of four common B2B eCommerce models.
A business-to-business-to-consumer eCommerce model is very commonly found around in the markets. It takes out the need for a middleman between the organization and the customer.
The B2B2C model can be best described by the wholesalers or the retailers in the market. They buy the material either from another manufacturer or supplier which is also a business and sell it to the customer.
In this case, a manufacturer reached the customer by partnering with another business which is either a wholesaler or a retailer. With B2B2C eCommerce, all these processes or transitions happen virtually through b2b eCommerce storefronts or an eCommerce website.
An example of this model that is very commonly found these days- consumer buying a product from an affiliate marketer or blogger knowing that the product is manufactured and sent originally by a brand.
Businesses often tend to buy products in bulk for cheaper rates and then sell them around in the market for retail values. These goods are directly purchased by wholesalers from the manufacturing units or the distributors.
The wholesale business model is a very popular B2B eCommerce model. These wholesale models generally work over telephonic conversations or WhatsApp catalogs. The wholesale b2b models exist in almost all industries like retail, construction, medical, fashion, etc.
Manufacturers are the ones that bring in all the raw material together, combining it along with the help of manual labor and equipment, they make the basic products. Now in cases like the automobile industry, there exist manufacturers that just make the basic parts of a car like the tires, the doors, and all of that.
Later, these individual parts are sold to another business that takes care of its assembling and sale to the final customers.
These B2B businesses are also going online at a speed faster than ever making the whole B2B eCommerce space much more liable.
A distributor is a person or who is closely connected to the manufacturer in an attempt to bring the products to the market, to bring in higher sales. In an eCommerce model like this, the logistics and the operations of the sales happen online generally through B2B eCommerce stores. Just as other B2B eCommerce models, distributors work as catalysts to shorten the turnaround time between the sale and the delivery to create a better customer experience.
5 Biggest Misconceptions
With these basics and types of B2B models clear in your mind, it’s probably time your business also implements online ordering for B2B customers. But, if you are still resisting this update it might be due to some major misconceptions you are holding off in your mind. There are a plethora of misconceptions around the B2B eCommerce space. Let us burst some of these misconceptions and get a reality check.
Our Company Doesn’t Do B2B
One of the most common reasons why brands say they haven’t entered the B2B markets is because they either don’t realize its importance or are already doing it but didn’t notice it.
Selling b2b can include a variety of things like having wholesalers, dealers, large chain retailers, and selling to major organizations. You don’t necessarily have to be a manufacturer or a supplier to have B2B eCommerce.
B2B eCommerce is a great space to grow so one must have no reason to not enter the market.
B2B Customers Don’t Want to Order Online
Gone are those days where people relied on sales representatives for product details and price. Millennials today conduct extensive online research before making any purchase decisions and they expect everything to be online.
Life online becomes easy. Everything is just a tap away. The demography of the buyers, that is an entire generation of young adults in the age of 18-24 now accounts for more than 50% of B2B online customers.
With COVID-19, people avoid any sort of contact with the salespeople involved. They will check the reviews online and go ahead with their purchase.
While customer service assistance might be required in the case of B2B services, eCommerce tools offer enough additional support. Through these tools, they can make use of the online chat assistance where all of their issues or queries can be addressed.
A source also states how 89% of b2b buyers use the internet for their research pre-buying.
B2B customers are online, hence the myth is debunked.
B2B eCommerce Sites Can’t Workout Complex Pricing
With B2B eCommerce in the game, we understand that the pricing can be complicated. B2B pricing can be way more complicated than b2c. There can be major concerns like fluctuations in prices, customized orders, bulk orders, and customer-specific pricing.
These need to be tackled well to build a good B2B eCommerce storefront. Pricing is one of the most significant aspects of B2B eCommerce. B2B eCommerce platforms should be able to facilitate the need to make sure their company accounts allow them to provide different kinds of pricing.
For example, negotiable pricing options should not be an option available to the general customers and only available to B2B customers. This should be hidden behind the customer logins. Provision of information on freight and shipping must also be included, that will be a great add-on! With ERP integrations, all of this can be easily managed so B2B online stores can handle the complexity of pricing.
B2B Customer Service Can’t Be Managed Online
Physical meetings with the sales representatives and telephonic sales conversations are certainly of great importance however, the generation today demands an omnichannel service.
Customer service assistance is 100% required in B2B eCommerce too, there is no way to not have it. However, there exist tools that can help companies do so and not settle for anything less.
These tools allow great customer communication via emails, phone calls, and messages. B2B customer relationships are very important and one of the key factors to keeping them intact today is speed.
How fast does your company resolve their issues and how fast do you reply to their query? Quick resolutions need to be made because if you don’t provide them the right assistance at the right time, some other company would. But, one thing is for sure, customer services for B2B eCommerce stores can be managed online very efficiently.
B2B Websites Don’t Need a Catchy Design
Having a basic website that showcases your products with some functionality isn’t enough. What also matters is the look, feel, and user experience of the website.
It needs to feel like a reliable and trustworthy website. The first impression of the website leaves a lot of impact on the customer, and that will be made when you have a decent-looking website.
According to research from Stanford, 75% of website users judge the credibility of a company by its web design.
A good web design is important for two reasons. One is to attract customers, and the other is to retain the already existing customers. A good web design will do a lot of good because at the end of the day it is all about experiences.
We hope that this blog clears your misconceptions that acted as a roadblock in your way to start a B2B eCommerce store. There exists a huge misconception that eCommerce can’t satisfy the needs of the B2B world, or another could be that your company is still not ready for B2B eCommerce. But remember, all of these are just myths and misconceptions that can be debunked with the help of the given facts and figures.