The future of B2B is bright. With the industry apt to double in value compared to B2C, reaching nearly $2 trillion, the importance of expanding to reach businesses where they are is necessary for a piece of that growing revenue pool. This means thriving platforms for B2B e-commerce.
Let’s take a look at the future of business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce.
The State of Ecommerce in 2021
Businesses are increasingly conducting business online. With the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, that shift has happened even faster today. Before the pandemic, 48.3% of companies were conducting their purchases online. Now, there is little choice for many with transitions to remote work and a pandemic economy making traditional purchasing, marketing, and supply chain management difficult.
The result is a changing landscape for B2B sales. Customers increasingly expect that online platforms have the same functionality as B2C businesses’ stores. For instance, a seamless, user-friendly experience that can be customized to their needs. Paired with the impacts of COVID-19, B2B is quickly changing in this direction.
Here’s what you should know:
B2B Growth Trends
Business is moving into an even more digital future. To prepare for this future, B2B marketers need to embrace technology and the surrounding skill set to push an increasingly online, increasingly sustainable marketplace.
B2B sales are shifting towards an e-commerce focus, one that could learn from its B2C counterpart. In fact, future E-commerce trends for B2B will be highly influenced by the increasingly digital workspace, shaped by new technology and a reliance on data.
These B2B trends include:
- Increasing presence in e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon.
- Sales occur across borders and overseas in an increasingly global marketplace.
- Focus on high-quality data integration and unified analytics for improved products and marketing strategies.
- Use of AI tools both to provide personalized product recommendations and chatbot assistance to offer a great customer experience
- Development of mobile applications to bring user-friendly, omnichannel efficiency to B2B sales.
You may notice that these growth trends are highly similar to what is and has occurred in the B2C sector. As COVID-19 has created enough problems to manage for businesses, they need simple, user-friendly platforms on which making business purchases successfully is possible. B2B marketers are shaping these platforms to enhance their marketability as the full impact of COVID-19 is felt in the industry.
The Impact of COVID-19
The pandemic created concerns for B2B companies. As many as 60% of these companies in a given sector reported disruptions in their business plans due to COVID-19. With shutdowns affecting tourism and hospitality, B2B marketers have had to pivot, altering their business models to mitigate losses.
This has meant many “nice-to-have” technologies have become “must-haves” in the pandemic landscape. These must-haves include effective analytical research, understanding exactly what businesses are doing and what they need to enhance their processes. Data is key here, and an integration platform enhances the ability of B2B companies to collect, view, and analyze real-time data of their sales channels.
As COVID-19 creates stressors for any business, one of the greatest values a B2B can bring is the ability to streamline procedures. After all, this takes study and personalization. B2B sellers need to think about the following: “What challenges are my businesses facing? What opportunities is my business missing? How can I streamline the purchasing and education experience?”
Integrating a data-driven approach to B2B e-commerce helps provide answers to these questions. In fact, these factors are especially important in the wake of the pandemic, as businesses fight a difficult economy. Consider investing in a data-driven, personalized, and usable platform to compete in the future of B2B e-commerce.
The Evolution of Business Sales
One of the most requested and highly desired components of B2B sales is an operational online store. By bringing e-commerce to a B2B business model, companies are setting themselves up for success.
Companies can get their current customers online while building a platform for sales growth by:
- Sending welcome and introduction materials, detailing the web platform.
- Creating informative customer education videos.
- Offering deals and specials.
Getting customers to stay online and continue interacting with your products and content, however, requires a more active, operational focus. While the looks of an e-commerce page are important, for sure, the site needs to maintain operational efficiency that corresponds to your overall business strategy. In general, this implies thinking of and integrating the tools and functionality you want your customers to have from the beginning.
By ensuring a highly operational e-commerce site, B2B companies can compete in the evolved landscape of business sales. Without such an approach, customers are likely to experience difficulties that will drive them away from your products. In the post-pandemic economy, that means losses no business can afford.
The Future of B2B Ecommerce
Despite the pandemic, the future of B2B e-commerce still has a bright outlook. With technologies that make user-friendly, personalized e-commerce platforms possible, B2Bs are adding value to businesses of all types. While the pandemic has required a shift in processes, B2B marketers can capitalize on that shift to offer streamlined services and maintain competitiveness in 2021.