Traditionally, the B2B businesses involved labor-intensive, manual sales and marketing processes.
These businesses relied on faxes, phone calls, and Excel sheets to sell to B2B customers.
Since the trend of digital commerce has gained momentum and change has come in the customers’ purchasing behavior, the model of B2B e-commerce has increased, thanks to speed, convenience, and easy purchasing experiences.
The fast-changing trends of the online marketplaces have fully reshaped the B2B eCommerce situation in the world. Given this rising demand, B2B businesses now look for a more straightforward approach to operate their businesses.
Are you running a well-doing business but wondering how to expand its sales globally?
Are you afraid of breaking into e-commerce due to security reasons, or lack of understanding?
Are you planning to shift and set up your business online so you can go worldwide?
If yes, this article will tell you what e-commerce is for B2B business, what its types are, how beneficial it is to go e-commerce for B2B business, how B2B eCommerce works, what major B2B eCommerce platforms are, how to begin with e-commerce for B2B business, what features you need to include in your eCommerce platform.
What does B2B e-commerce mean?
B2B eCommerce means an online transaction where two parties involved are called businesses.
Simply put, a company selling services or products to another organization – viz., its customer – can participate in a B2B transaction. Similar to other businesses, B2B businesses are also available in varied sizes, shapes, and levels of complexity.
The process includes marketing and selling products between two businesses online.
The goal is to grow customer reach, cut cost-to-serve to drive more revenue for a business.
Whether you are running or planning to run a supplier-oriented, buyer-oriented, intermediary-oriented business, the B2B eCommerce model is fit for three types of businesses.
They can span many different types of business models and sectors, starting from services such as legal, digital, to physical products such as equipment, machinery, consumer goods, and so on.
What are the key types of B2B eCommerce?
Primarily, the B2B eCommerce comes in the following three different categories such as
Intermediary-oriented – This marketplace includes a third party that matches buyers and sellers.
Supplier-oriented – This model is for B2B retailers where there are many buyers and few suppliers.
Buyer-oriented – This B2B eCommerce model involves several buyers and fewer sellers.
How does e-commerce benefit B2B-based businesses?
While tackling existing challenges is tough, with a well-placed and experienced technology integrator, businesses can enjoy the benefits of eCommerce solutions such as:
Enhanced customer experience: It helps in giving enhanced customer experience by empowering them with simple, self-service purchasing and lets brands personalize B2B interactions in the same manner as is done with B2C.
Cost-efficiency: It helps save on the time and effort needed to complete a purchase, cut the selling cost, and delegates resources on other growth opportunities.
Increased sales: It benefits from many different cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Scalability: By strengthening an organization, it can help it grow and scale faster.
Extended reach: It helps in expanding the business offering to new geographies or customer groups.
Improved brand awareness: It helps make a brand more visible and discoverable through advanced SEO.
A holistic view of the consumer: It helps with a 360-degree view of customer activity across sales, service, and commerce.
Increased customer loyalty: It helps in building customer loyalty quicker and ensuring repeat business.
How does e-commerce work for B2B businesses?
As a business model, B2B stands a lot apart from the B2C model. Under the B2B eCommerce business model, two businesses directly sell their products and services to one another, a wholesaler and manufacturer or a wholesaler and manufacturer can do transactions between themselves, through an online sales website.
On the other hand, the B2C business model allows businesses to directly sell their products/services to consumers.
So, on the fronts of ease, speed and convenience, B2B is one of the fastest-growing and most-adopted sales models by businesses all around the world, with over 12 trillion global market value, thus, taking up 13% of total B2B sales in the U.S.
This way, the B2B model, by creating a digital home for buyers and sellers, functions as a bridge and lets them place and manage orders from their mobile phones and generate new opportunities for businesses by connecting them with distributors and suppliers.
Which are the best B2B e-commerce platforms in 2021?
- BigCommerce – Overall, the best platform to do online business today.
- Square Online – This platform helps you with affordable options.
- Magento – This platform is perfectly designed for large businesses.
- GoDaddy – Ease of use is the USP of this well-known platform.
- Smoolis – This platform works great for international sales.
- Squarespace – If you are a startup, go with this platform.
- Weebly – This works great for brick and mortar.
- Wix – This platform is good for small businesses.
- 3dcart – This is designed to work online only.
- Shopify – This is perfect for dropshipping.
What demanding features to include in your B2B e-commerce platform?
Fully managed website and mobile app
Develop a personalized, fully functional website and mobile app for your online Store.
Remember, only an overwhelming experience with your product can let customers stay loyal to your brand because a number of shopping options are available for them today.
So integrating the omnichannel strategies into your B2B model will be of much value at this time.
Unlimited ERP/Third-party APIs Integrations
Better to integrate multiple technologies such as ERP, payment gateways, Tax APIs, and if you want to build a successful store for B2B eCommerce in 2021.
Multiple payment options
For your B2B e-commerce platform, better to integrate the following payment methods:
- Traditional Trade Credit
- Cash on Delivery
- Purchase Order
- Mobile Wallets
- Instant Credits
- Paper Checks
- Credit Card
To redefine your strong online presence and drive potential clients to your business, it would be better if you choose to implement the following marketing methods:
- Account-Based Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Loyalty Programs
- Email Marketing
Meaningful data & analytics
Include data analytics in your business strategy if you are looking to offer a simple and more personalized shopping experience to your customers. You can get it
You can get it through the insights from accumulated user data in your data libraries.
While choosing a B2B ecommerce platform, make sure it has an intuitive admin panel to let you analyze the data so you can send target product recommendations or remarketing to the customers considering their past shopping and other consumer behavior.
Customizable & scalable platform
While creating your B2B e-commerce platform, make sure it is customizable and scalable so that you can customize your app’s interface, based on specific customer demands.
Besides, to ascertain the smooth functioning of your B2B ecommerce store, build a flexible infrastructure, which is competent enough to deal with any issue at later stages.
What do B2B customers prefer?
Customers are smarter today. They are not only up-to-date but technologies-savvy, as well.
This is why there is a dramatic and noteworthy change in their purchasing behavior.
Moreover, customers today don’t want to confine their choice of gadgets and payment options to complete their purchase. They want a full-featured eCommerce experience.
- 83% of B2B buyers are ready to spend more with suppliers that provide robust eCommerce experiences.
- 93% like to buy online instead of a sales representative when they’ve decided to purchase.
- 89% of procurement officers prefer purchasing more online today than last year.
- 91% of B2B buyers prefer performing an online search on their mobile devices.
B2B buyers know what a superb customer experience is like because they keep facing it in their everyday life while doing their personal shopping with B2C brands.
Hence, they are always on the lookout for the same quality of customer experience when making their purchases with B2B portals as they do with B2C stores.
After reading the article about why B2B e-commerce, we hope that you want to know which company can best guide you about setting up an e-commerce platform for your B2B business, and which the best e-commerce platforms are.
If you have any questions about B2B e-commerce covered in this article or need some experts’ advice, we would be happy to answer them in the comment section below.