Did you know B2B eCommerce sales are predicted to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023 in the U.S. alone? B2B businesses that haven’t yet adopted eCommerce stand to lose substantial market share if they don’t adapt to changing buyer preferences. In fact, our 2021 B2B buyer report found that 90% of buyers would turn to a competitor if their current suppliers’ channel couldn’t keep up. And another 87% 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. The past year welcomed more eCommerce purchases than ever before with online purchases in the U.S. growing by 44% year over year.
If you aren’t familiar with B2B eCommerce, here’s what you should know.
What Does B2B ECommerce Mean?
B2B eCommerce is the process of selling products or services from one business to another via an online commerce portal. It’s a more efficient way to purchase products for a business 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?
There are plenty!
Greater Brand Awareness
At the very least, your commerce portal will help generate some brand awareness online. Your company can double down on these benefits by investing in digital marketing tools to maximize site visits. In particular, ensuring that your site is SEO optimized will help potential buyers find your site – and complete purchases – faster.
Wider Reach/Larger Audiences
Having an online presence also helps you reach untapped markets around the world. Previously your company may have only had enough internal resources to provide service for a small number of accounts. Offering online ordering expands the pool of potential customers to anyone with an internet connection. It takes your brand from local to global. Plus, those extra customers also mean a greater potential for sales.
Speed and Convenience
An increase in speed and convenience are obviously beneficial for customers, but that benefit also extends to your internal team. They can also operate more quickly and enjoy having all customer information and order history in one central location. Plus, that efficiency can be taken a step further with automation tools.
One of the best features of an online commerce portal is that it reduces the strain placed on your internal sales team. Processes that were previously manual tasks can now be completed by the buyer anytime, anywhere. Buyers get the products they want, when they want them and your team can focus on being a strategic advisor to clients. Learn how in our 2020 B2B Buyer Report: Turning B2B Salespeople Into Strategic Advisors.
“Personalization” has become a buzzword in the digital marketing world. And while personalized shopping experiences do exist offline, the ability to personalize at scale through eCommerce saves time and money. It also provides a more detailed view of your buyers’ preferences which can help inform future business decisions. In fact, our client JLL saw a 75% increase in online orders after implementing personalization features.
Having an eCommerce portal gives your B2B business the ability to scale quickly to respond to rising market demand and increased sales. Setting a commerce portal up now will set your business up for sustained success in the future. Learn how our partners at Adobe enable scalable B2B eCommerce growth with Adobe Commerce in our white paper.
Do you ever wonder what your buyer is thinking? With comprehensive analytics, you don’t have to! Having your buyers purchase through an online portal gives your company the data and insights you need to understand their buying behaviors, preferences, and obstacles to purchase. Rather than guessing what went wrong or right, you have the answer at your fingertips.
What Are The Disadvantages of B2B ECommerce?
While there really are no “disadvantages” to having a B2B eCommerce portal, there are a few challenges that clients frequently ask about as they’re getting started.
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 up and running. Our solution? Launch quickly with the capabilities you know your buyers 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.
Another reluctance some companies have is the maintenance involved in keeping an eCommerce portal up and running. While minor technical issues may occur, 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, such as Avionos Operate.
If you’re worried about starting an implementation, maybe it’s time to consider working with a partner with proven expertise. Our team of experts can anticipate issues before they arise and mitigate any risks before going live.
What Kind of Industries May Benefit from B2B ECommerce?
All B2B companies can use B2B commerce! While B2B companies are thought to be farther behind in their digital transformation stages than B2C companies, 2020 has drastically narrowed the gap. And we’ve seen B2B buyer expectations rise as a result. Fifty four percent of our survey respondents said making more eCommerce purchases made them more aware of problems.
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. Companies who have a portal are constantly working on optimizing their digital experience. Others are focused on building custom, personalized features to make every buyer’s purchase journey smooth and satisfactory.
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.
Whether you need help with your commerce, marketing or general digital transformation needs, we’re here to help! Contact our team to get in touch.