Before the advent of digital marketing and eCommerce, almost all B2B transactions and customer experiences...
Before the advent of digital marketing and eCommerce, almost all B2B transactions and customer experiences happened offline. Face-to-face transactions, in-person relationships were formed and business cards were exchanged throughout the supply chain.
While those B2B relationships still exist, to remain competitive while minimizing the cost, B2B companies have started venturing into the online world to increase the transparency and ease of transacting with big companies.
In the year 2018, the United States had hit $1 trillion in online B2B sales, which is a 17% gain from 2017. The reports also suggest that by 2023 it will reach $1.8 trillion, so these numbers will continue to climb. Apart from that, an analysis by Forbes also shows that since e-commerce sites are operated by and for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors respond to a growing demand among buyers for the online purchase options, the B2B market is soon going to account for twice the size of B2C.
It can be intimidating for B2B business owners to find the right time to get into the e-commerce bandwagon. They may have been comfortable and secured as their offline operation are running successfully. However, now the time has changed, seeing the current situation and these growth numbers, we can say that it is the time for B2B businesses to consider building themselves in the online world.
Let's take a look at the potential B2B e-commerce holds for you:
You may have become a preferred supplier with your current clients and must have been getting repeated orders from them. Won't it be better to make it more seamless and easier for them to buy from you? As per McKinsey, around 80% of B2B buyers would not want to speak to a salesperson when placing the order for the exact same product or service.
An e-commerce platform allows the customers to automatically purchase of re-purchase the products and services faster and without getting in touch with a sales representative. This saves time and effort of both, you and your customer.
B2B buyers are increasingly becoming more comfortable with online purchases and seeing the change in the market, there is a good chance that your competitor has already started selling online. If you have not, you may lose out to the competition.
The more digital natives are moving into the roles of making purchase decisions, online shopping will become more common in the B2B market. This means, building e-commerce functionalities into your B2B website is the way to future-proof your business.
A comprehensive B2B website not just provides your customers with the convenience to research and purchase. It gives collects a plethora of data about the type of information that leads them to make the place the order, their preferences, and more. Such information can help you plan your marketing strategy for starting a new product line or a completely new business. It can also help you to streamline and better your customer experience.
The online B2C buying experience is now impacting the expectations of B2B buyers as well. Customers enjoy the simplicity and efficiency that occurs when they buy with a click of a mouse and the product is delivered right to their door. Though the B2B purchases are more substantial and recur more often, the B2C purchasing experience has raised the B2B buyers' order fulfillment expectations.
Transforming your B2B business will offer your more digitally-minded clients to the same transaction pattern as B2C purchases, providing them with B2B products or services.
Whether the businesses are ready or not, technology has a way of forging ahead. The older B2B websites need to be equipped to handle the current-day requirement or they will become obsolete, regardless of the product you are offering. If your website is outdated and lacks functionality, the potential customers may pass over your business to choose your competitor.
Not just that, your customers' way of interacting with their business has now evolved. They are looking for vendors that can blend in the same way, which your older website may not be ready with. B2B customers have also started expecting your site to be mobile-enabled, emerging touchpoints like chatbots, 360-video, and much more.
The change may overwhelm you, but it is time as the B2B e-commerce potential is going to keep growing. Holding back may hold your business from enduring a completely new group of potential customers and stunting business growth. You will now have to change as per the new normal COVID-19 has introduced us to, where offline businesses may lose their competitive advantage. If you are planning to go online and need a consultation, please do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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