Digital commerce is snowballing, and it is now available via various channels, devices, industries, and markets. When we think about B2B eCommerce, though, we tend to think of transactions between businesses and consumers (B2C). Organizations that sell to the general public or customers are classified as retail businesses. However, when it comes to B2B eCommerce, it is concerned with transactions between organizations and must take the interests and requirements of business customers into account.
In case you’ve ever been curious about the meaning of B2B eCommerce as well as the trends, types, and tools that go along with the word, you’ve arrived at the right place!
What Precisely Is B2B eCommerce, and How Does It Work?
B2B eCommerce (B2B eCommerce) may be described as an online transaction in which both parties engaged are businesses, which is the most straightforward definition. Alternatively, B2B transactions (B2B transactions) are transactions in which one company sells products or services to another company (i.e., its customer) while the other company is the seller. They exist in various shapes, sizes, and levels of complexity.
B2B businesses are no different from any other kind of organization. In addition, a wide variety of company types and sectors may be represented, including accounting, legal and digital services, and tangible products such as machinery, equipment, consumer goods, and other objects.
Many of us, as consumers, are unaware that the worldwide B2B digital commerce sector is worth more than six times as much as the global business-to-consumer digital commerce market, according to estimates. As more local and worldwide business clients migrate to the Internet to pursue speed, convenience, and simple purchasing experiences, these figures are likely to increase. Consequently, previously offline B2B businesses would be forced to create an eCommerce website, boosting the need for B2B eCommerce platforms in the process.
What Are Some of the Most Current Trends in B2B eCommerce?
The growth of online sales has compelled companies to streamline internal processes while simultaneously improving the customer experience, comfort, and ease of use. As technology continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, it will play an increasingly significant role in the conduct of B2B exchanges. According to predictions, exciting changes in the eCommerce sector are expected to take place during the next five to 10 years. Let’s take a look at the trends we are predicting below:
Regardless of their size or industry, consumers – even corporate clients – have needs, desires, and ambitions, and one of them is a demand for customized services or goods. B2B buyers, on the other hand, have more extensive requirements. Further, there are many stakeholders in these companies, they have longer sales cycles, and they need more sophisticated customization in general – and this isn’t going away anytime soon.
The likelihood of a customer engaging with a tailored message outweighs the possibility of a non-personalized message, and 69 percent of B2B buyers would be prepared to pay more for a personalized experience. Personalization of products and pricing, promotions, checkout experiences, and marketing messages are examples of this kind of marketing.
We want businesses to offer us the same quality of service at every step of the process, whether we use mobile apps, mobile websites, or visit in person. The same is true for B2B customers, who have grown to expect flawless omnichannel experiences across their long buying journeys.
Market domination is being fought for by all major players, including digital behemoths such as Amazon, traditional shops, and direct-to-consumer businesses such as Walmart. The majority of consumers (more than 77 percent) use their mobile devices to compare prices in stores, and they believe that their cell phones make their in-store shopping experience more enjoyable. Clients, particularly B2B customers, will continue to seek out new and creative ways to purchase due to this trend.
Every five years, mobile web traffic more than doubles, and B2B traffic is not an exception to this rule. According to projections, as mobile-dependent millennials move into management positions, the usage of mobile devices by B2B customers is anticipated to increase soon, particularly among B2C buyers. B2B sellers who are looking to gather high-value leads and engage with prospects may find this helpful.
Also, mobile traffic accounts for more than 65 percent of all eCommerce traffic, yet only slightly more than half of all revenues are generated by mobile traffic. Invariably, the huge mobile user base does not make purchases as often as it might, suggesting considerable room for expansion and growth in high-value B2B eCommerce industries.
Increasing Data Analysis
Shopping experiences, loyalty programs, and payment systems of the future will all be influenced by data and analytics in some way or another. As consumer demands change, marketing will increasingly depend on demographics, geographic location, and consumers’ situational data. Marketers will also increasingly rely on this data to make the best marketing decisions possible.
Undoubtedly, technologies associated with cloud computing and storage, network optimization, and predictive analytics are quickly shifting from the position of the desired feature to the status of a top-of-mind priority in the business community. Moreover, the use of ground-breaking technologies is hastening the pace of digital change. This necessitates the development of new processes and skills on the part of industry managers and executives.
Speech Recognition in eCommerce
Given that in 2021, more individuals in the United States will own speech-activated devices than did in 2020, the use of voice to search for and make orders and reorder goods remains unexplored primarily terrain. This breakthrough presents an opportunity for newcomers – previously offline merchants – and existing vendors to improve the customer experience by allowing them to place several orders at once.
VR AND AR (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality)
VR (virtual reality experiences) and AR (augmented reality) in B2B eCommerce marketing is becoming increasingly prevalent. This is especially true in cases where immersive experiences are required. Some B2B suppliers will be required to provide clients with the ability to digitally test and verify complex products, such as replacement components or customized designs, before delivering them.
The IoT and AI
B2B eCommerce is being affected by artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). A more accurate forecast of their desired outcomes and recommendations on the best course of action may help the whole process, including suppliers, managers, marketers, and sales representatives.
Instead of mobile apps developed for Android or Apple, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web-based applications accessed directly via a web browser. This trend is gaining momentum in the realm of online services and the broader realm of eCommerce. Customers are more likely to purchase from storefronts equipped with PWA technology since they are more accessible and straightforward.
To What Extent Are B2B and B2C Marketing Distinctly Different?
When determining what sets B2B eCommerce apart from B2C eCommerce, we must first consider whom we’re selling to and why they’re purchasing from us. B2C retailers (such as Nordstrom, Walmart, and others) appeal to the general public. Therefore their online experiences are intended to be as close to their in-store equivalents as feasible.
B2B suppliers, on the other hand, do not adhere to the exact timetable. This is because B2B customers may originate from various industries and verticals, each with its own set of needs and buying processes. A single medical supply distributor may sell to labs, private clinics, and government-funded hospitals, among other places of business. Manufacturers of forklift components may sell to B2C merchants and distributors, who may sell to equipment rental businesses.
Buyers of B2C and B2B products and services have many characteristics, such as a need for customization, ease, and mobility across many channels. Trends in fulfillment, shipping, payments, and other technology advancements are affecting both kinds of customers in a way that is reshaping their experiences.
More Formal Relationships
Business transactions between companies are more than simply one-time transactions: they are long-term relationships that last for a lengthy period. While consumers are usually looking for goods to meet their immediate needs, companies are focused on assisting other firms in their endeavors. Furthermore, since companies are linked and reliant on one another, they can help one another in increasing income.
Consider the situation of a fulfillment facility that is seeking to buy uniforms for its warehouse employees. They are aware that the useful life of a piece of clothes is about two years. They need to negotiate a favorable price with their supplier now since they want to continue to purchase from that source for the next five years.
Lengthier Purchasing Cycles
B2B (B2B) transactions are more complex and time-consuming than B2C (consumer-to-consumer) eCommerce purchases, made on the spur of the moment. Businesses have fewer leads and more contracts, bids, and purchase orders. Therefore, salespeople who work with them have more contracts, proposals, and purchase orders. Additionally, to maintain continuity and make buying more straightforward for their customers, businesses look for reliable suppliers.
Consider the scenario of a factory that has to maintain its assembly line equipment operating. Because the component’s maker recommends replacing it after 500 hours of usage, a purchase agreement is made with a supplier to buy a specific number of pieces each year. Unquestionably, buyers profit from these contracts because they provide them an extra sense of security.
Products and Pricing that Are Tailored to the Individual B2B Buyer
While offering customization is lovely in B2C and B2B contexts, it is essential in B2B operations to guarantee effective operation. Business buyers depend on tailored product catalogs and price lists, customized quote and contract negotiation processes and the availability of suitable payment and delivery options. It is also anticipated that their company would get specific product discounts.
Unlike B2C sellers, some B2B suppliers must set prices based on external factors. Let’s say a distributor has to start with a price set by the manufacturer. Then, based on variables like location, volume, and other pre-negotiated characteristics, they may dynamically alter the price they set for distributors, wholesalers, and retailers.
What Types of Organizations Can Profit from B2B eCommerce?
By far, the most important and fastest-growing sector of the total eCommerce market is B2B eCommerce. Distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers from a variety of sectors and verticals are represented. Some of the industries that fall under this category are agriculture, automotive, construction, consumer packaged goods, energy, fashion, food and beverage, healthcare, and manufacturing. Thus, if you’re in the business of selling goods and services to other companies, you may profit from a variety of B2B eCommerce solutions, including the following listed below:
- B2M Brands are those who provide services to businesses.
- D2C Brands are those that cater to consumers directly.
- Brands with a multi-channel strategy
What Kinds of Companies Need B2B eCommerce Services?
An eCommerce website is just one component of an online selling strategy. It can provide many advantages and provide unique value to a variety of stakeholders in medium to big B2B companies. The following are some examples of workflow and productivity gains that different members of a typical company might expect to witness:
- Leadership in the executive sphere
- CMOs and marketing professionals are in high demand.
- Vice presidents of sales and sales executives
- CTOs and information technology
What Are the Different Forms of B2B eCommerce?
In the same way that there are many distinct kinds of companies and organizations, there are also numerous different eCommerce models. The best business model for you may be determined by the type of company you have, the products or services you offer, your development goals, and, finally, your geographic location.
In addition, you may be restricted to a specific geographic area if you provide architectural goods compliant with the local building code, for instance. If you sell goods to the hotel industry, you may find yourself servicing national chains. On the other hand, if you offer industrial goods, your clients may come from all over the world.
Even seemingly basic B2B commerce models may contain additional, lesser-known models that are essential to remember. To illustrate, consider the list below:
- B2B2B (B2B) (business to business to business)
- B2B-to-consumer model (business to business to customer)
- D2C is a direct-to-consumer model (direct to customer)
- B2B (B2B) (business to many)
- B2E stands for Business to Entrepreneurship (business to employee)
- B2G (Business to Government) (business to government)
While these platforms may reduce time-consuming workarounds and hard-coded solutions for your website, OroCommerce is an example of a B2B eCommerce platform that does away with those obstacles altogether.
OroCommerce is pre-loaded with all the features needed for every B2B scenario, including B2B2C, D2C, and B2E. Finally, its open-source flexibility, rich API, and developer community offer long-term dependability and independence from a single vendor or platform.