B2B e-commerce is a big challenge with huge potential
B2C e-commerce has evolved and created strong habits and practices with it that makes it quite simple. Business-to-business e-commerce is more complex and demanding. Nevertheless, the fact that B2B e-commerce is growing faster than online sales shows to the consumers that it has enormous potential. Success in B2B online sales is not easy but very rewarding.
The strength of B2B e-commerce websites
Online shopping has become commonplace. E-commerce offers a large shopping mall that can be accessed directly from your sofa. The reasoning behind this is quite easy to understand. From the customer’s point of view, the range of products available is almost unlimited. Competition has lowered the prices of the products on offer. Businesses, on the other hand, save on costs by reducing delivery chains. The need for staff decreases as they access global markets. The value of online purchases in B2B commerce has surpassed B2C trade worldwide and its importance will grow further. The benefits sought in B2B e-commerce are like those of selling to consumers but, the logic of the customer relationship is more complicated.
B2C e-commerce is generally simple. Prices are fixed, quantities delivered are low. Well-established tax, control, and other regulatory practices make sales profitable and attractive from the customer’s perspective. Consumers are generally aware of the products that are sold and it’s easy to display and market them online. Online consumer sales are booming and have been a goldmine for countless companies around the world.
This does not directly show that, in fact, B2B e-commerce is generally more important than consumer sales. By 2022, it should have grown fast enough to be worth more than the double value of B2C online sales – nearly seven trillion dollars.
This, of course, makes sense specifying that companies make more important purchases than consumers. Therefore, there are also larger-scale challenges in B2B e-commerce. As customers, businesses are more demanding than consumers. Companies seek offers from suppliers and demand personalized products, service solutions, and individual prices. Companies also require more specific product information before ordering. Marketing to these companies requires more effort. Large quantities of orders complicate deliveries. Logistics must be planned separately for each order and taxation and regulations are stricter than in sales to consumers.
B2B e-commerce is considerably more complex and more difficult than sales to consumers. It is therefore particularly important to carry it out. There is huge potential in B2B e-commerce.
How can we take advantage of this development?
Keep in mind that the purchasing staff in the companies is made up of people similar to those of the consumer audience. It is easy to sell products online to consumers when the online store site is easy to use, attractive and simple while providing all the necessary information about the product. Many successful B2B e-commerce websites have tried to simplify their online stores such as B2C online stores. This seems to be the trend also for the near future.
Because B2B customers are more demanding in terms of product information, individual service, and prices, it makes sense to use the online shop profile created by the customer. Re-purchases, product recommendations based on previous purchases, and custom prices can be offered to the customer after the connection. In this way, it is possible to offer the customer exceptional personalized service at a low cost and to engage customers to return to the webshop.
The full use of technology is important to meet the needs of demanding customers and ensure a high-quality service experience.
Linked to the rapid growth of the industrial internet, the use of smart technology will pay a key role in measuring B2B e-commerce potential. The fundamental benefits of e-commerce are to get rid of unnecessary intermediaries and work phases. Integrating the company’s ERP and CRM systems info, the company’s online store, and other electronic shopping operations can free up huge amounts of resources for more valuable uses.
As recent history has taught, the market and technology are growing rapidly – the best B2B e-commerce website will hardly be the best on the market after two years if its future development stagnates. The best technology is technology, capable of transforming and adapting to changing market demands. Thus, it is possible to invest in the re-development of existing technology instead of acquiring and implementing a whole new system.