Over the past decade, B2B eCommerce has significantly grown in popularity, currently, its global gross merchandise volume exceeds $31.19 billion.
This is due to the rise in the COVID-19 pandemic-induced restrictions which pushed the trading of goods or services exclusively online.
This comprehensive article explores the state of B2B eCommerce in 2022, focusing on how it differentiates itself from B2C, its benefits, and the valuable B2B tools to grow your business.
What is B2B eCommerce?
B2B is an acronym for Business-to-business eCommerce.
In short, it refers to online transactions between two businesses involving goods or services.
In the past, B2B eCommerce was known to mainly involve the trade of goods between wholesalers and bulk buyers, where the wholesalers are primarily manufacturers, brands, and suppliers.
While this is still true, the B2B landscape has significantly changed over the years.
Today, business-to-business electronic commerce is a billion-dollar industry six times larger than the more common B2C model where businesses sell goods and services directly to consumers.
How Does B2B Differentiate from B2C?
Most B2C sellers like Target and McDonald’s simply replicate their in-store buying experience for their online customers.
However, B2B customers vary with each sale and cannot be offered a product or service the same way.
As a result, B2B sellers have to model every transaction to fit the preferences of prospective brands and industries.
Another significant difference between B2B and B2C is the nature of the buyer-seller relationship.
B2B is more formal since it is between businesses, creating relationships that leave room to forge long-term partnerships.
Furthermore, unlike B2C, where customers shop immediately, B2B purchases are more complex as companies target potential clients looking to continue transactions in the long run.
When it comes to pricing methodology, B2C sellers usually offer the same price to their buyers. On the other hand, B2B sellers offer personalized pricing.
The order quantity, buyer preferences, and location are some of the things that influence B2B quotes.
Let’s not forget the multiple vetting processes B2B buyers have to go through before purchasing.
Sometimes they need approval from relevant stakeholders to approve any purchase. B2C buyers, on the other hand, can make sole decisions on purchases.
What Benefit Does B2B eCommerce Hold?
B2B eCommerce helps businesses expand and diversify to new markets while personalizing offers for the target market.
With B2B eCommerce in place, you’re sure of faster handling of daily operations coupled with a reduced cost of production.
Since a critical aspect of eCommerce is automation, there’s a better focus on targeting important leads and selling to them.
Moreover, there’s consistency and accuracy with pricing, discounts, and checkout process with digitalization.
With B2B eCommerce, you can incorporate resources into various aspects of your business to improve efficiency.
For instance, a bulk order form will allow buyers to add goods using only the Part number, simplifying the ordering process.
How B2B eCommerce Helps Businesses
Fashion, healthcare, hospitality, agriculture, and many more industries can leverage B2B eCommerce platforms to improve efficiency in business processes.
Some sellers that can take advantage of eCommerce include:
Manufacturers: Due to the nature of their job, manufacturers are usually caught between dealing with major stakeholders and suppliers. This can take a lot of time.
However, B2B eCommerce saves them time to focus on those areas through automation.
They can also build client portals and reduce time spent on each transaction while increasing profits.
Wholesalers: Wholesalers sell to distributors, retailers, and others in the manufacturing chain.
Therefore, B2B eCommerce will allow them to seamlessly keep in touch with many clients and integrate data from different ERP systems to offer a personalized experience to their customers.
Distributors: Distributors can use the B2B eCommerce software to scale their business so that buyers can negotiate prices and make payments online.
Who is B2B eCommerce Relevant to?
Some of the critical stakeholders that can consider leveraging the benefits of eCommerce platforms today include:
Taking advantage of B2B eCommerce will help improve KPIs, track data management, and enhance reporting.
These will help leaders leverage new opportunities and grow their businesses.
CMOs and Marketing Executives
B2B eCommerce makes lead generation smooth.
With a centre for content management, pricing, promotions, and product catalogue, B2B eCommerce platforms position marketing executives on a path to increased sales and eventually business success.
VP Sales and Sales Executives
The sales team gains access to customer-specific data that a B2B eCommerce platform inputs into the company’s CRM to improve customer engagement further.
Also, B2B eCommerce helps reduce manual data entry and redundant sales activity, which helps in the proper management of leads and optimization of the sales funnel.
Do You Need B2B eCommerce Software?
Identifying what you need in the online space can be tedious. So, how do you know when you need B2B eCommerce?
Here are some critical indicators for the need for B2B eCommerce in a business:
- First, you don’t have a solid online presence.
- Second, you’re preoccupied with manual work such as order data, filing, and updating.
- Third, you’re using one storefront as your major outlet across various regions, markets, languages.
- Fourth, you have a complex:
- Target audience, (one that includes, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors across different countries, cultures and time zones)
- Checkout process,
- Product data, and
- Fifth, poor customer experience and personalization.
- Sixth, mobile compatibility issues.
- Finally, you cannot scale and publish your full catalog of products online, because of website performance issues.
B2B eCommerce is here to stay.
Having an eCommerce platform for your business will boost conversions and minimize the time spent on the manual processes while documenting all your data, for instance, keeping track of personalized pricing per B2B customer or personalized catalogs per customer.
Additionally, it will help you reach your target audience faster, solve their problems, and integrate any automation with the click of a button.
Now that you know all there is to know about B2B eCommerce, the next step is finding the right B2B eCommerce platform.
Be sure to do your due diligence so that you find the perfect B2B eCommerce platform for your business.