eCommerce has been witnessing tremendous growth in the last couple of years and COVID has sharply accelerated the adoption rate. Conditions being what they are, organizations big and small have now ventured into the eCommerce space to provide easy and quick access to a world of products and help consumers make the right purchasing decisions.
Although the buzz has long been on how the B2C eCommerce landscape has been reaching new heights with every passing year, the B2B eCommerce market too has been witnessing tremendous growth. In 2019 alone, the global B2B eCommerce market was at $12.2 trillion, over 6 times that of the B2C market.
What’s causing this continuing surge of eCommerce in B2B? Here are 5 reasons accelerating eCommerce adoption in the B2B space:
- Rising mobile and Internet usage: One of the biggest reasons why eCommerce adoption is reaching new heights in the B2B landscape is rising mobile and Internet usage. The 5 billion smartphone users across the world have a great role to play in boosting the B2B eCommerce industry.
Despite the complex B2B purchasing cycle, an increasing number of buyers today are using mobile phones to research the products they need and make a purchase. Modern smartphone capabilities, fast loading speed, quick and easy navigation, and uncomplicated checkouts are causing the B2B eCommerce market to surge.
Today, several B2B marketing leaders are leveraging mobile to personalize experiences through enriched product content and better engage customers. Such efforts are not only helping them reach out to a larger audience, but it is also aiding in reducing purchasing time and improving customer loyalty. Since mobile accelerates the time to purchase, especially in more complex transactions, it is setting the stage for a positive and long-lasting B2B eCommerce.
- Access to a larger customer base: As competition in the B2B space gets intense, organizations struggle to capture a large share of the market. Internet and mobile penetration have completely transformed the way people shop: from electronics to jewelry, clothes to home improvement products – today every business is running an online division to cater to the modern, tech-savvy customer.
Due to events like the COVID-induced “shelter at home” orders, many B2B customers have now moved online. These customers expect the same kind of experience from B2B organizations as they receive from their B2C counterparts. This suggests that eCommerce is a great way to drive sales. By gaining this access to a large, potentially new, customer base, B2B organizations can showcase the entire portfolio of products and services – in an attractive, intuitive, and seamless manner.
Also, as a majority of B2B customers conduct research online before making a purchase, brands can maximize impact by delivering the content needed to facilitate the decision-making process. By embracing the eCommerce model, organizations can easily optimize and scale their business as their customer base expands and grows.
- The chance to offer flexible payment options: Traditionally, B2B customers have always paid for products and services through cash, check, or a credit card. Although such a model has worked wonderfully for several decades, today’s customers expect far more flexibility in how they can make payments for the products they purchase; in fact, they expect the same kind of flexibility in B2B payments as they enjoy in B2C payments.
B2B organizations, through eCommerce adoption, get the chance to offer a range of flexible payment options: from credit cards and bank transfers to PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Wallet, and other digital wallets. Such flexibility not only helps meet customer expectations; it also lowers potential barriers for inexperienced B2B players looking to establish themselves in the competitive market.
Also, payment solutions can turn to modern approaches like blockchain technology to decentralize the payment model. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can handle the changing markets while adding an additional layer of innovation for online payments.
- The ability to personalize experiences: Most B2B customers today want an enhanced shopping experience. They expect brands to be able to proactively understand their needs and suggest and recommend products and services that fulfill those needs. eCommerce provides B2B organizations with the opportunity to personalize experiences and meet the needs of modern customers with greater ease and efficiency.
eCommerce platforms allow B2B organizations to deliver as much information as possible about the products that modern customers desire while offering an attractive virtual storefront that is easy to use and navigate. By gathering and analyzing data about customer needs, their buying behavior, and purchasing trends, organizations can personalize marketing and promotional efforts more accurately.
Also, based on customer needs, organizations can suggest and recommend additional products that fit those needs and boost upselling and cross-selling opportunities. They can also segment and personalize experiences based on specific locations, spending habits, surfing history, or cart abandonment rates.
- The opportunity to showcase a larger product portfolio: In contrast to B2C establishments, B2B organizations deal with a massive product portfolio; showcasing each and every product from the portfolio through a brick-and-mortar store is time-consuming and may also be hard to pull off. More often than not, B2B companies limit their portfolio to a bare minimum to save costs and the complexity of managing impossibly large and varied inventory.
eCommerce sites provide B2B brands with the opportunity to showcase their entire product portfolio on a single platform. By using an online shopping site, companies can expand into new geographies and cater to new audiences – without being bound by location.
They can deliver all the information customers seek on all their products and services while allowing them to evaluate features, carry out comparisons, and also receive accurate recommendations and suggestions on what product best meets their needs.
The B2B customer already has, has your B2B organization adopted eCommerce yet?