The itch to buy things with a few clicks has spread from the business to customers (B2C) to the business to business (B2B) section. Folks are showing an increasing interest in placing orders online, which welcomes e-commerce platforms into the picture.
In a sense, these are not new. Online stores have been around for quite some time now. However, in addition to serving directly to customers, these are now expanding to the B2B sector.
In the US alone, e-commerce accounts for 10% of the retail sales. These are anticipated to grow by roughly 15% annually. Besides meeting the need of other businesses, such platforms pose numerous benefits.
Hence, without further ado, let’s dive into the advantages of investing in a B2B E-commerce platform in 2019:
1. The growth of B2B e-commerce is in the cards
Spending in the B2B e-commerce has swelled drastically. To meet these needs, investment in the business to business platforms has spiked. In fact, it has increased at a pace that is over two times the spending on the B2C e-commerce market.
Predictions related to its continued growth are also positive. By 2019, the B2C digital commerce sector is expected to grow to a market value of $1.1 trillion. In contrast, the B2B market is anticipated to be worth $480 billion in the coming year.
A survey also reveals that 85% of the B2B companies realize that e-commerce is a crucial revenue stream that they haven’t fully tapped into. According to Shopify, “Today’s B2B buyer has evolved. Instead of turning to traditional sources like sales reps and vendors, they now turn online.”
Therefore, it makes sense to invest in digital commerce platforms.
2. It boasts significant order values
Digital ecommerce platforms showcase high conversion rates and order values. Orders placed on such platforms tend to be bulky by nature. This is one of the main reasons why the B2B digital market has grown more than the B2C market.
Moreover, B2B buyers tend to be quicker in purchasing orders. The average order value of such a transaction is approximately $491. In comparison, the B2C average order value sits at $147.
Top these buying patterns with high conversion rates and you have another reason to set up an e-commerce platform next year. Websites serving the needs of other ventures outline the average conversion rates at 10%.
3. It meets the needs of the changing buyers’ persona
The business buyers’ portfolio is significantly changing. Millennials are increasingly entering into the B2B sector. Consequently, such buyers exhibit a preference for online shopping.
In 2015, Google noted this change in the buyers.
It highlighted that roughly half of the B2B buyers are millennials. Findings from the Heinz and SnapApp study provide further insight. It reveals that unlike baby boomers or Generation X, millennial buyers tend to make independent purchasing decisions.
They research on the spot and trust their peers more than salespersons. What’s more, they expect the same personalized experiences via digital channels as Gen X buyers expect from a sales representative.
4. An e-commerce store enhances your customer service
In a typical scene from the commerce industry, a customer service representative (CSR) looks up a product’s availability on the ERP system, places an order as well as helps with other customer services via the system.
Unfortunately, an ERP system does not offer a user-friendly interface. However, with an e-commerce platform, the CSRs can provide efficient services with an easy-to-use platform as an alternative.
Not to forget, a happy CSR extends better customer experience, which is meant to become the lead business differentiator by 2020, ranking higher than the product as well as pricing.
5. It makes matters easy for sales representatives
A digital commerce platform also assists in improving the efficiency of sales representatives. As mentioned, such platforms are easy to use.
Consequently, sales representatives can simply pull up the store on their phones or tablet to answer consumer questions, check the inventory of products, and suggest products among other things.
Such a platform, therefore, bids farewell to huge paper catalogs for checking product availability and so on. As the digital stores make matters convenient, more attention can be paid to consolidating customer services.
6. The analytics from the store give valuable insights
The chief focus of ventures, serving whether customers or other businesses directly, is on understanding their clients better. In doing so, ventures strive to improve their products and services, therefore, ante up sales and profit.
An e-commerce store is helpful to this end as well. It provides valuable insight into what buyers search for and what they purchase. You also get an understanding of whether the customers use the search box or reach you via click-throughs.
Thus, by tracking such metrics and data, product managers can make products more accessible to find, plan offers, create promotions, and so on.
7. Gives you the opportunity of reaching more customers
An extensive number of people shop online, which means that a substantial market can be reached in the online sphere. Consequently, it is critical to invest in a B2B e-commerce platform.
Statistics support this claim.
89% of the B2B researchers use the internet when conducting their research work. Plus, Forrester also reveals that 30% of the buyers make either half or more of their purchases online.
On top of that, 56% of the B2B buyers expect to make the same amount of their purchase in three years. Hence, it only makes sense to meet your industry’s requirements online.
8. Allows you to stay ahead of the competition
Since B2B online commerce is still in its infancy, jumping into it by 2019 places you a step ahead of your competition. It’s best to be armed with digital services as your buyers shop online.
The 2018 B2B commerce report by Big Commerce describes the need for investment aptly. It points out, “E-commerce is no longer nebulous for B2B but a driving force. Merchants need to take advantage of that growth opportunity or risk being left behind.”
As the B2B e-commerce industry expands, it is becoming vital to invest in it. Running these stores is no rocket science if that’s an obstacle that is holding your back.
This is because millennial B2B buyers similarly make purchasing decisions to making B2B purchases.
Hence, it is about time that you harness the potential of a digital commerce platform.