As the growth rates of electronic commerce between companies (B2C) gradually decrease, electronic commerce between companies (B2B) is increasing.
However, investments in B2B e-commerce platforms have not been a priority for B2B companies, but this is changing.
Today, many B2B companies have some kind of online portal, but many are lagging and market leaders begin to recognize that their competitive advantage not only comes from a fast B2B solution but also with an efficient one that caters to the growing expectations of the customers.
The B2B segment is growing fast and buyers are getting younger.
For B2B brands to achieve long-term growth, they must understand their expectations and preferences, such as the convenience of online shopping, personalization, ease of information availability, and self-service experiences.
2019 e-commerce trends suggest that it’s time to adopt e-commerce if you have not already done so.
To move toward higher sales goals, gain more customers, and deeper market penetration, e-commerce is the best way to start.
B2B buyers have always had more personalization than B2C buyers. However, personalization is so central to a B2C experience now that users hardly notice it.
Take Amazon, for example, where users get a completely different experience from the others because everything is designed exactly for that user based on previous product searches, purchases, etc.
Traditionally, B2B expects a personal sales representative to visit them occasionally and perhaps an account manager to assist with orders.
B2B companies are waiting for personalization and, although, in their infancy, there are solutions that do it quickly in the area of B2B e-commerce.
B2B buyers expect DIY Customer Service
B2B buyers expect a significant portion of the site’s interfaces to strengthen self-service experiences.
B2B buyers, especially millennials, may no longer have the patience to wait for a sales representative to arrive and help them throughout the purchase process.
The self-service experience is more than just providing a user interface to place orders.
It extends to providing experiences such as price negotiation, easy-to-find product details, delays, delivery tracking, order placement, and more.
While most buyers expect self-service interfaces, they prefer an active representative for customer service via email or live chat.
57% of the buying process is done prior to engaging with a sales team of a B2B brand. B2B websites should act as sales tools assisting the buying process.
B2B buyers spend more time and money online
The B2B landscape is changing rapidly as B2B buyers constantly switch to online shopping.
B2B buyers spend more time and money online.
According to a recent study, 93% of B2B buyers prefer to place their order online than through a sales representative, which shows that it is essential today to have a strong online presence. And that number continues to grow.
On the other hand, buyers also spend more time on websites.
These aren’t impulsed buyers and their average length of stay is therefore always longer.
60% of B2B buyers search around 2-3 e-commerce sites before deciding to buy.
If you buy personalized products, the time required to buy them goes from a few days to a few weeks.
B2B buyers are also frequent visitors. 47% of B2B buyers return to a B2B site to buy at least once a week.
B2B organizations need to focus on digital marketing strategies that appeal to this generation of B2B buyers.
The fact is that more and more millennials are taking on roles in which they are also involved in B2B purchasing decisions, so it is essential to revolutionizing traditional B2B sales channels to maintain competitiveness.
ECommerce empowers sales representatives
Just because a B2B company is in digital transition does not mean that their sales teams will no longer be useful.
Instead, e-commerce relieves them of repetitive tasks, gives them ideas and helps them focus on nurturing a better relationship.
Sales representatives can access real-time information, such as inventory status, product demonstration videos, quote placement, offline ordering, or any other information that a B2B buyer can need in just a few clicks and shifts.
Sales representatives will have more time to effectively serve customers, cross-sell and increase sales.
Your sales team would then double up as trusted advisors or consultants and guide your current and potential customers to make smart purchasing decisions.
Providing what buyers want with an omnichannel approach will be essential.
Customer participation can be done through personalized and targeted emails, videos on social networks, or webinars and podcasts.
Voice search and mobile experience will be the main differentiating factors between those who succeed and those who have problems with B2B e-commerce.
Companies that have successfully digitized their operations will see the entire organization transformed.
And this transformation will be the most effective since they will reap greater sales and profitability than their analog counterparts.