Up until the year 2000, business was quite primitive. Imagine the sight. Gen X and Baby Boomers lined up at retail shops negotiating petty prices with the retail vendors. They favored getting their information from data sheets, deals writing, and product preliminaries.
Today, time has changed. 73% of B2B buyers are millennials. And no matter how eccentric and puzzled you think this generation is, they exude distinguishing characteristics in the way they operate. The millennials grew up in the age of technology, and 38% of them admit to keeping in touch with the latest trends. They’re increasingly comfortable making big purchases online.
As buyer behavior changes, so should the Business processes. Where Gen X buyers may appeal to the hands-on approach that sales reps provide, millennials expect that same level of personalization through digital channels.
Ask yourself, how long has it been before you bought something online? Hardly a month maybe. Me too. The rising trend tells the importance of eCommerce. What about brick-and-mortar shops then? Will they go extinct? Probably not. But the benefits of a B2B eCommerce solution are such that any delay in transformation can simply stunt potential business growth.
It might be a little intimidating but don’t worry. We’ll dissect the whole of B2B eCommerce and examine how it works, what are different types of B2B eCommerce models and why it is the “future” for all of us.
How does a B2B eCommerce Solution Work?
B2B eCommerce or Business-to-business eCommerce is the sale of goods or services between businesses via an online sales portal. Here, both the merchant and purchaser are associated with business and not the end customers.
By 2028, B2B eCommerce is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.7% from 2021 to 2028. With reports suggesting that B2B eCommerce is the future, most businesses are looking for transformation.
Let’s take a look at how this model works at the basic level. An ordinary B2B store network incorporates the following network:
Producer – > Supplier – > Distributor/Traders –> Retailer – > Customer.
Now, try to understand who the beneficiaries are here.
First and foremost, the providers can open an eCommerce store to offer items to the merchants. The wholesaler can have an eCommerce store to move the sales process to the retailers, which will finally lead to the end-user. We call this a B2B intermediary-oriented model.
For example, consider a business that wants to buy interior paint, brushes, paint roller sets, etc. needed for their home painting services through one wholesaler. Here, B2B eCommerce can help the business match up with the distributor, reduce intermediary costs and accelerate bulk ordering online.
Sounds like a good prospect for your eCommerce business startup, right? Consider this transformation a chance for your business to become part of your customers’ lifestyle.
B2B eCommerce: Types And Functions
As an eCommerce business startup, you will probably fall into one of the following three categories. Each has its upsides and downsides, and numerous organizations work in various classifications on the go.
This is a sort of model that alludes to a specific business type where the clients have equal participation even after the deal. This specific process is applied to keep the current customer base intact and rehash beneficial business from them later on.
Here, the primary need is the customer and they play a significant role in business activities and all types of brand collaborations.
Supplier Centric Model
This marketplace is run by several suppliers that are seeking to establish an effective sales channel via the internet to a large number of buyers. Almost all of these channels rely on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to boost online visibility.
Here, the primary keyword is the product in question, and it is used throughout based on the user search intent.
Third-Party Centric Model
B2B models such as this one provide a common platform for buyers and sellers to communicate and transact. Since they are facilitated by third-party platforms or intermediaries, they are called intermediary-centric models as well. These third-party platforms come in handy when a business runs out of stock relevant to the buyers.
As a result, these platforms earn a commission from each party involved. They are not just a great addition to the marketplace but help drive out many important businesses as well.
Reasons why B2B Businesses Should Go For eCommerce
If you’ve been following the marketing circuit for the last two decades, the transition to eCommerce must be vivid in front of your eyes. Plus the pandemic exposed inherent flaws in the brick and mortar model. All this led to the birth of a B2B eCommerce solution. And it has ruled the circuit ever since.
Yet, more than 33% of small businesses do not have an online presence. They cite lack of resources and tools as their primary reason not to switch. But the real reason lies in the lack of awareness. They are unaware of the perks and hidden benefits of a B2B eCommerce model.
Below is a round-up on all the reasons why you should go for B2B eCommerce.
A Cost-Effective Solution
When you start a brick and mortar store, you have to think about the space, storage, electricity and water bills, furnishing, etc.
With eCommerce, your entire infrastructure shifts on a digital platform. The dropshipping options take away your worries about storage space too.
The modern cloud-based eCommerce platforms provide you with cost-effective solutions in one place. A cloud-based solution allows you to work from anywhere using any device. All you need is an internet connection.
Your eCommerce store is ready without any coding. You can use the readymade templates and designs, drag and drop options, inbuilt SEO, and much more
Sometimes these platforms come with different SaaS automation tools that can be integrated with your eCommerce store.
Cost-effectiveness all in all
You Get To Understand Customer Behavior
Understanding consumer behavior can help businesses boost performance. B2B eCommerce solutions have all the artillery to curate transparent insights on user intent, online activities, likes, dislikes, and opinions.
If you have ever noticed personalized product recommendations, social media posts, shopping ads, or playlists, then this is an example of personalized marketing backed by solid consumer insights.
Insights help you understand your audience better, as well as find deeper, more actionable steps to optimize your marketing operations.
You Gain Brand Advocates
Business is all about trust. If you can win the trust of your customers, you’re in for the long haul.
People hail personalized experience as the cornerstone to brand popularity. With eCommerce, you can eliminate complex checkout processes, high shipping costs, website errors, and fallible return policies.
You make shopping more simplified. The more simplified their experience, the more frequently they flock to your website. When you make it easy and seamless for your customers to buy from your eCommerce store, it will only add to your merit.
24/7 Automated Service
An eCommerce store never sleeps – like a sales representative who has to run through doorsteps every season of the year. It serves like a parallel world employee who doesn’t demand holidays or a raise. By bringing a B2B eCommerce solution, you’ll save so much time.
An eCommerce store saves a lot of manual work which otherwise would have consumed a lot of your time and resources.
So, at any time of the day, you can pull out the catalog information to create a quote, access customer data, upsell and cross-sell to your customers, and market your products.
The trust you earn from your customers with personalized sales portals, mobile shopping, Augmented Reality tours, and self-service functionality is unmatched.
All of these operations can be stacked up in B2B eCommerce software to ensure an efficient business management system and can be utilized 24×7.
Opportunity to Reach a Wider Audience
Today, a B2B buyer conducts almost 12 online searches before making the final purchase.
Think about what that means.
Your customers trust eCommerce. 46% of customers say that they trust eCommerce stores more when buying expensive products.
Having a wide customer base is the utmost priority for any business.
By giving your company an online presence, you become location-independent. You don’t have to worry about rentals and housing taxes anymore.
You can reach a wider pool of audiences. A person sitting in Norway can purchase Squishmallows online from an American eCommerce store.
Customers follow trends very closely these days and businesses who don’t meet their expectations are easily alienated. eCommerce gives you the liberty to live up to the expectations of the crowd and bring a fresh, up-to-date, and modern touch to their shopping experience.
What are the benefits of a B2B eCommerce platform?
With all the avenues available, an eCommerce business startup has everything it needs to grow. With offline shops losing their novelty, all you need is a solid B2B eCommerce software as a service (B2B SaaS) system to take care of your business. You can either go for ready-made B2B eCommerce platforms or custom websites to meet a variety of customer needs. They help you build an online experience that drives sales and fulfills commitments, irrespective of the location of your buyer.
Often, people think a B2B eCommerce platform is just a tool to manage product catalogs and sales. But it’s so much more. It’s like a complete operational head that controls everything from sales operations to back-end technical issues, no matter who the target customer is.
For instance, with B2B eCommerce software, you get to:
- Offer personalized customer experience through promotional campaigns across different channels and devices.
- Integrate third-party APIs to improve inventory management, shipping, and website management.
- Customize payment and shipping options to reach a wider audience.
- Centralize the ordering process with customer information stored for fast-tracking and easy reference.
- Enhance the checkout process and prevent cart abandonment.
The Time is Now!
B2B eCommerce sales are soaring. According to IDC, the global B2B eCommerce market surpassed $5.7 trillion in 2019 and is expected to grow by 17.5% annually by 2027. Whether it’s improving inventory management, automating reporting and documentation, or reducing operational costs, a B2B eCommerce solution can help your business shine.
In the end, business is about minimizing discrepancies keeping in mind the future growth opportunities. Together with a B2B eCommerce solution, your existing business can get the much-needed push to create a strong foothold within the customer base.