Did you know B2B eCommerce sales are predicted to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027? B2B businesses that haven’t adopted eCommerce stand to lose substantial market share if they don’t adapt to changing buyer preferences. In fact, our 2022 B2B buyer report found that 85% of buyers would turn to a competitor if their current supplier’s channel couldn’t keep up. And another 81% of buyers said they would pay more for a supplier with excellent eCommerce capabilities.
So what does that mean for B2B companies? Simply put, your buyers are demanding better digital experiences, starting with commerce portal capabilities. 80% of B2B buyers expect the same buying experience as B2C buyers. Now’s the time to integrate B2B eCommerce into your business strategy.
What Does B2B ECommerce mean?
B2B eCommerce is the process of buying and selling goods or services between two businesses through an online commerce portal. It is a way to streamline and simplify the purchasing process for businesses. Ecommerce is preferred due to the speed and convenience compared to more traditional forms of purchase that involve a sales team.
What Are The Advantages of B2B eCommerce?
Greater Brand Awareness
- Your business can establish a strong online presence by setting up a B2B ecommerce website. This will make it discoverable by search engines and enable content marketing. Your company can make your products and services more visible to potential customers, while search engine optimization can make it easier for customers to find you when searching for specific products or services.
Wider Reach/Larger Audiences
- B2B eCommerce buyers are now conducting more than half of their research online. By leveraging B2B eCommerce, your business can expand its customer base beyond its traditional industry boundaries and tap into new markets.
Speed and Convenience
- By leveraging B2B eCommerce platforms, your B2B business can provide your customers with instant access to your products and services, reducing the time it takes for customers to research, select, and purchase the products they need. This can lead to faster order processing and fulfillment, reducing delivery times and increasing customer satisfaction.
- 74% of B2B buyers prefer to buy online instead of speaking with a sales representative, highlighting the importance of having an online self-service option for customers. B2B eCommerce provides customers with access to detailed product information, pricing, and inventory levels, empowering them to make more informed purchasing decisions on their own.
- B2B ecommerce enables personalization by leveraging your customer data to provide tailored experiences. With the help of technologies like machine learning and AI, your company can analyze customer data to create personalized product recommendations, pricing, and promotions, giving you a competitive advantage within your industry. In fact, our client JLL saw a 100% lead generation improvement rate.
- B2B companies can easily reach customers beyond their geographic limitations and sell their products or services to a global audience. By leveraging digital channels, your company can meet customer demand and adapt to changing market conditions quickly. Learn how to scale across complex global business units and regions in our white paper.
- Companies that use analytics are twice as likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance in their industry. B2B eCommerce provides detailed analytics by capturing and analyzing customer data in real-time. This allows for optimization of websites and sales funnels for maximum efficiency.
What are the Disadvantages of B2B eCommerce?
While there really are no “disadvantages” to having a B2B eCommerce portal, there are a few challenges.
The biggest challenge we hear from clients is simply getting a commerce portal up and running. The reality is it does take time, but that small timeline will pay off exponentially once your commerce portal is launched.
We recommend going live quickly with capabilities you know your customers need most, then iterate over time to improve the buying experience. We’ve launched in as little as five weeks to drive measurable results within a quarter.
Some companies are also reluctant about the maintenance and complexity involved in keeping an eCommerce portal up and running. While minor technical issues may occur when dealing with technology that requires a steep learning curve, companies can choose to invest in resources that help advance their capabilities. This may mean adding employees to your internal team, or investing in a managed services provider.
What Kind of Industries May Benefit from B2B ECommerce?
All B2B companies can benefit from B2B eCommerce! While B2B companies are thought to be farther behind in their digital transformation stages than B2C companies, the need to narrow the gap has been seen through the rise in B2B buyer expectations. Eight-one percent of survey respondents from our 2022 B2B report would choose a supplier with excellent eCommerce capabilities even if the supplier’s product was moderately higher priced than a competitor.
We’ve helped clients in B2B industries such as CPG, HLS, and manufacturing strategize, build, and optimize their eCommerce portals to maximize their results. Even industries with highly-specific purchasing requirements, like chemicals manufacturers, can leverage customized commerce solutions to enable buyers to purchase online.
What Opportunities in B2B eCommerce Exist Today?
The world of B2B eCommerce is quickly evolving. With the increasing digitalization of businesses and the ongoing shift towards online purchasing, B2B eCommerce presents a vast potential market for companies looking to expand their reach and grow their sales.
The rise of new technologies, such as AI and machine learning, has also opened up opportunities for businesses to streamline their operations and improve their customer experiences.
A major wave we’re seeing, which has been brought on by 2020’s challenges, is a shift for B2B companies to a B2B2C business model. Businesses who previously relied on another business to get their product in the end user’s hands are opting to build a new D2C channel instead.
Doing so offers many benefits including more insights into consumer preferences, more data, and greater brand awareness. You can learn more about launching a B2B2C storefront here.
We’re here to help in every step of your digital transformation journey. Contact our team to get in touch.