B2B eCommerce Trends for Years to Come
Updated on Apr 20th, 2021
Relentless technological innovations have changed the B2B eCommerce landscape for good. With new tools flooding in the market from all sides and equally enthusiastic buyers lining up to buy them, B2B service and product vendors are looking to earn big bucks. According to Frost and Sullivan, global B2B eCommerce sales are expected to reach $6.6 trillion by the end of 2020 with the U.S. market alone contributing $1.9 trillion to that figure.
But while money is there to be made, it’s not all smooth sailing for the providers. There has been a shift in the type of consumers. Millennials are now the driving force behind the B2B eCommerce spectrum and they tend to be picky with their purchases and have high expectations when they land on a product page. So to convince them to make that purchase, one has to jump through a lot of hoops, including, but not limited to, keeping-up with the latest trends. And given below are some B2B eCommerce trends that will not go out of fashion for years to come.
What is B2B eCommerce?
B2B eCommerce is an online business model that focuses on selling, purchasing, and promoting products and services to other companies through an online sales portal. In simple words, a company sells products and services to another company, its customer on the ground of the digital business platform.
An excellent example to explain the B2B market is automobile engineering. For a motorcycle, the tires, hoses, batteries, and electronics essential to the final product – the vehicle – are often manufactured by separate companies. And all these different parts are sold to a company that assembles the parts.
1. Going Mobile
The use of mobile devices is becoming a prominent tool for B2B eCommerce success. With the increasing might of mobile devices, users are finding them more and more apt every day to browse, purchase and do other stuff that they had to do on desktops up until a couple of years ago. Mobile phones now work as extensions of their users; from countless apps to the ease of connectivity, mobile phones have a lot to offer. For B2B businesses, it is essential that they make use of this new tool to advertise, facilitate, and sell their services and products.
2. Automation and Rapid Order Fulfillment
In a post-Amazon world, where Millennials are the driving force of the market, there is an almost dire need for speedy order fulfillment. It is expected out of a B2B company to ship and deliver the order as soon as possible, some even expecting the same day delivery. All of this puts an enormous amount of load on the warehouse workers and delivery agents. And as the orders start to pile-up, a scope for errors opens since under pressure, the best of us are bound to make mistakes every once in a while. The answer to this problem is automation. By automating warehouse operations, a vendor can slash the operational cost significantly. On top of that, human-errors are no longer a threat. Businesses like Shopify and Kroger have transformed their order fulfillment skeleton with the help of automation and Alibaba was able to replace 70% of its human labor with robots, which brought down the operational costs.
3. Personalized Customer Experience
Millennials give a lot of value to the experience and connection with the vendor. It is all about creating lasting business bonds with your customers without being too sale-oriented. People don’t like it nowadays, that is if they ever did, when all you do is send them pamphlets and marketing emails; they don’t like it when you see them as a walking wallet. They want something more, something human. And that is why, it is essential that you nurture every B2B lead with great care and make your prospective customer believe that you are capable of providing a great product, services and once the sale has been made, great support as well.
Data Analytics can be a game changer for your B2B eCommerce business. It is associated with trends that will be on the rise in the near future. Using customer data, you can monitor market trends, see which products are doing well, which pages on your website are getting the most traffic, etc. All of this can help you in making your marketing plans. It can also tell you which age groups are most attracted towards your product and how you can reach out to them more using different channels.
5. Omni Channels
Omni channel selling means providing a consistent shopping experience throughout various platforms. This type of business model provides both digital and physical, brick and mortar stores as shopping points for the users without a dip in the quality of the shopping experience. B2B buyers are rapidly moving from physical shopping to digital shopping. Furthermore, according to a research, an average B2B customer uses 6 different channels in the purchasing process. This means that businesses need to come up with seamless and innovative ways in which they can provide as many as possible channels using which a customer can buy their products. Furthermore, it should also be kept in mind that experience is everything. So you should be able to provide a consistent quality of experience across all your channels.
6. Flexible Payment Option
B2B business is all about customer comfort and flexibility. You have to know how you can make his shopping experience as easy as possible or else, the sale is lost. And one of the biggest reasons why this happens, one of the greatest pain points for most businesses is their checkout process. It happens all too often that because the checkout process is so incredibly tedious, a customer abandons the purchase all together. You should never ask too many trivial questions from a customer, only what is essential for the delivery and your bookkeeping. Also, you should provide more than one way to pay for your product. You should not restrict your users by providing only debit/credit card payments or only paypal payments. You should provide them both and many others. This will increase your chances of getting a sale drastically and it will also leave a good impression on the customer.
7. Loyalty Programs and Referrals
For B2B, customer retention is everything. Most B2B live off of repeat purchases from a small pool of customers. This means long-lasting customer relationships that generate higher and higher profits without requiring a tremendous boost in customer acquisition. Don’t get us wrong; you absolutely must try to get in more customers. But the B2B eCommerce arena puts a lot of focus on customer retention as well. In the State of CX 2020 survey by Usersnap, 57% of B2B companies reported retention as the ultimate goal for improving CX, and 40% said it’s referral. And a great way to make that happen is by rewarding your customers for sticking with you. Based on the needs of your customers, you need to come up with loyalty programs that make your products more valuable to them.
At the same time, having referral rewards in place means your customers get rewarded everything they bring in new customers. This helps you because you now have a new customer and this helps your customer because he gets to choose the referral reward he wants. Whether he wants a discount on his next purchase or something along the lines of that.
8. Artificial Intelligence
A personally-tailored experience is something every customer wants. And giving them recommendations based on their previous purchases. Or doing a deep dive in their business and telling them that they have a gap that one of your products can fill, can help you in generating more profits. Also you can give them additional information that can help them in providing better services to their customers.
B2B E-Commerce trends can help companies enhance customer experience by offering personalized content with rich and interactive product displays and dynamic pricing. This can help with customer acquisition and retention as well as cultivating brand loyalty.
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