Today, the B2B industry is almost twice the size of the B2C industry. Market players have experienced strong growth in this industry starting from 2020, and expect it to go on till at least 2025.
According to Merit, 73 percent of B2B buyers are millennials who prefer purchasing products online, which is the main driver for the rapid growth of this industry. Further, according to the current publication from Meticulous Research, the global eCommerce market is anticipated to increase at a CAGR of 11.1% from 2018 to 2025, and touch $24,265.12 billion by 2025.
The reasons behind this phenomenal growth are rising penetration of mobile and internet, advancement in technology like big data and cloud-based b2b eCommerce platform, advanced shipping and payment options, as well as an increase in disposable income.
However, there are still some B2B entrepreneurs who are quite skeptical and confused about B2B eCommerce. That is why we have created a guide that will help you in walking through the important aspects of the b2b eCommerce store.
What Is B2B eCommerce?
The b2b eCommerce is all about selling goods and services between businesses using an online sales portal. Here all the transactions are made online instead of using the traditional way like emails or telephones. Further, a customized online store tends to improve the buying efficiency of wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors, and other B2B resellers.
Types Of B2B eCommerce
According to the survey conducted in 2018, about 48 percent of companies conduct 75 percent of their purchases online. They use different types of B2B eCommerce methods like:
Whenever you want to sell the products, you either want to sell directly to the business (B2B) or the consumer (B2C). However, the rapid growth of eCommerce has blurred the lines of these two sales channels. That is why the sales network has created a new framework by combining these two models: B2B2C eCommerce.
B2B2C or Business to Business to Consumer is an eCommerce model that allows you to access customers with the help of another business. It is a collaboration between two businesses to reach a common set of customers.
If there are two businesses X and Y, X can take the customer data from Y (with more customers) to expand its customer base. On the other hand, Y can offer X’s products and services to its customers.
This business model differs from the channel partnership since the customers are well-aware of the source they are buying the product from. But, that does not cut down the role of middlemen. It allows both parties to work together and serve the end customer.
As more traditional businesses are shifting their operations online, wholesale eCommerce is acquiring tremendous popularity. It is an eCommerce model that enables you to sell your products and services to other businesses in bulk using customized b2b eCommerce solutions.
This type of eCommerce business enables you to gain high order volumes with less handling time and costs. You can also expand your business into the large B2B market of $7.7 trillion and find new customers organically.
Manufacturers produce finished goods on a large scale using parts and raw materials along with manual labor and machines. B2B businesses then sell these finished products to other manufacturers and wholesalers.
For example in the automobile industry, the manufacturers individually produce various parts of a car and later sell them to the automotive companies. Manufacturers are taking over the online B2B market just like wholesalers are doing.
Distributors work with manufacturers to bring visibility to the goods they are producing and help increase sales. In eCommerce, sales are generated online through a b2b eCommerce store.
Selling online not only increases growth opportunities but also shortens the lead time involved from sales to deliveries. This way, you can create a positive customer experience and surpass customers’ expectations.
How Is B2B eCommerce Essential?
If you want to expand your existing business using a powerful sales channel, B2B eCommerce is the desired option. It offers a plethora of advantages that are given below:
Today, maximum buyers look for stable online shopping platforms because of their accessibility and convenience. If your brand is not available digitally, you could miss a lot of customers. However, a b2b eCommerce platform not only helps you reach your customers effortlessly but also plays an important role in expanding your customer base.
Efficient Customer And Suppliers Management
Customized b2b eCommerce solutions enable you to manage customers and suppliers without any hassles. Doing business digitally provides you a management software that will manage all your business operations. It keeps a record of your customers, which can be used to personalize the shopping experience of your customers.
Upscale Your B2B Business
With the help of B2B eCommerce, you can not only expand your customer base but also sell more to your existing customers by implementing an automated up-sell and cross-sell recommendation program. This recommendation program enables you to offer them the products they are looking for.
B2B eCommerce Marketing
Thinking of marketing your B2B eCommerce store? Let’s consider the following points to market your products and grow your sales:
Educate Your Customers
Online strategy, combining content and business, consists of several practical applications. If you do not have all the information concerning sizing charts, ingredients, and guides, your customer will look somewhere else for it. This will lead them to purchase the product from your competitor instead of from your eCommerce store.
Therefore, it is important to improve your value to the customer by providing them educational content and closing the deal after you have gained their trust. This way, you can drive organic traffic and close sales online more efficiently.
The chances of fulfillment errors in B2B eCommerce are more than that in B2C or direct-to-consumer shopping. It can affect the truckload of your products. It is due to the nature of the types and quantities of products ordered. Moreover, you have to deal with service challenges, refunds, and apologies. For this, you have to develop new relationships and introduce ancillary services to your customers. You also need to use an ERP or OMS as a central source of foolproof information. When you combine these systems with robust APIs, you tend to improve the customer experience and increase the revenue of your business.
Align Business Processes And Teams
Organizations usually work inefficiently when they have resources that are placed in the wrong roles or processes, which severely impacts the momentum of the business. This inefficiency occurs especially when your digital channel is built as an add-on and is not cohesively structured within the enterprise.
If you want to ensure that your business processes and team are aligned appropriately, you need to review your current organizational structure and then, realign your roles and resources. If required, you can even look outside your organization or start your hiring process. Aligning your processes enables you to create a chart over budgeting and management decisions that will help your digital team to work efficiently.
Minimize The Back-Office Costs
As eCommerce platforms have become more vigorous in terms of functionality, their reach and influence in the company’s existing technology have increased significantly. Also, because large software companies are acquiring and integrating the smaller and more specialized software rapidly, traditional applications have become obscure.
Hence, while selecting a digital eCommerce initiative, you have to understand the roadmap of the chosen commerce technology platform and its significance concerning capabilities. This way, you will be able to cut down the license and maintenance costs incurred on overlapping technology and even reduce technical bloat.
Scale Content Production
Before doing anything else, it is very significant to scale content production to target all your vital customer segments. Content produced keeping in mind the customer segments enables the audience to respond properly. This strategy works better than a one-size-fits-all approach as B2B buyers prefer industry-specific content.
When you publish helpful articles, guides, videos, and other content, you tend to answer the questions usually searched by your target audience. Pairing these contents with accurate keyword research brings in more organic traffic that can eventually be converted into buyers.
Align Ads With Landing Page
A B2B business’s prime strategy should be the landing pages. It is because when a prospect clicks an ad, it should be directed to a dedicated and branded landing page having cohesive design and content.
If both the content and the design of the landing page and ad differ from each other, the prospect will leave the page and can never be converted into your customer. Although you might be receiving traffic to the page, that traffic will not get converted into leads.
Optimize Your Website’s Design And Speed
Google has made mobile-first indexing very crucial for all websites. If you want to improve your presence in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you have to maximize your desktop and mobile design and speed. This strategy will improve both your SEO and conversion rates. It is because people usually start their shopping on mobile devices and end up purchasing them from the desktop.
Furthermore, you also need to make the buyer experience of your website on mobile look seamless. Because the mobile version is not providing your buyers the best user experience, they may leave your website and will not come back to purchase it on the desktop.
Interconnect Your Sales Channels
When you are selling the products online, you have to add more channels like social media or email marketing. Integrating all these channels with each other will ensure a smooth and efficient customer experience. Therefore, this strategy will help you to acquire more customers and generate profits.
B2B eCommerce is a vast digital platform that might take some time to explore. You need to be on your toes to adapt to the changes and work in those areas where the rate of potential buyers is higher.
When you think of scaling your business, you look for a robust B2B eCommerce platform that helps your business in taking the appropriate growth path. A cloud-based eCommerce platform will allow you to engage with your customers across multiple channels. In short, it provides an omnichannel B2B commerce solution that maps your buyer journey and helps you generate valuable insights.