Simple forms had been used not that long ago, and now we have complex digital platforms. The B2B area in e-commerce is developing rapidly. Global sales of B2B had increased in 2020 by approximately 10 %. Undeniably, it has a great potential. The issue that we should raise is not "is it worth using it", but "what solutions to choose".
The future of B2B e-commerce is considered as bright, it is confirmed by, among others, the document 'The Ultimate B2B E-commerce Guide: Tradition is out. Digital is in' prepared by DHL Express. Its authors predict that by 2025 most (80 %) of interactions between businesses will occur online.
There are many factors that make more and more companies decide to digitize in the B2B. Global trends that boost the market and sales cause the fact that digitization gains pace and is present all over the world. The second important issues are the increasing needs of customers, contractors, and business partners, who expect convenient communication and modern sales solutions. And last but not least aspect - all the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have irreversibly changed the nature of B2B sales...
Who is your customer?
Currently, over 73% of purchasing decisions are made by the millennials (people born in the 80s and 90s) who are also called the digital generation. For them technologies, resulting facilities, and fast transactions are just standards.
B2B customers, when asked about the most important criteria they pay attention to when choosing a new business partner, have marked:
- quick and convenient contact with sales representative (52 %),
- traceability of the order (39 %)
- placing orders online through sales platform (38 %).
In the consumer sales (B2C) recipients are pampered, and as a result, they expect similar treatment in the B2B model. Their purchasing decisions are influenced by the same factors and functionalities that attract individual customers. Think about all the values that business-to-consumer sales offer: quickness, convenience, flexibility, customer experience. Business clients expect all of them too. Just like in B2C, there is also a human on the other side.
Customer experience and customer service are the central points of each of the B2C sales. Consequently, in B2B should not be different. The digital transformation also covers areas which aim is to improve the user experience by offering the best and most convenient solutions. Today, 64 % of buyers consider the experience as more important than price. As many as 86 % of customers are willing to pay more for a better shopping experience.
Webrooming, also called ROPO effect (Research Online, Purchase Offline), is another interesting consumer behaviour, which is characterized by searching for information about a product on the Internet, and then buying it in a stationary store. More and more business customers are becoming aware of this. Newer touchpoints of consumer needs arise, therefore the actions undertaken by the entrepreneurs should be consistent and include omnichannel solutions. The product/service offer, price levels, individual discounts, and all updates or information have to be the same for a given customer in each of the sales channels - both online and offline.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has a huge impact on the dynamic growth of the B2B e-commerce. Because of it we have brought a significant part of our lives to the Internet overnight, including the business area. DHL Express predicts that the pandemic and its consequences will lead to the growth of the global B2B e-commerce that will reach $ 20.9 trillion by 2027.
2020 brought challenges that had to be faced by sellers. They had to quickly adapt to the new reality. More and more entrepreneurs who have so far worked in a traditional manner started to sell online. In the times of crisis, they were forced to introduce it to save their businesses, or they simply see development opportunities in this area.
'The Covid-19 crisis has divided entrepreneurs into two groups. Those who made previous investments in e-commerce and those who have not and now need to make up quickly. Some of those who don't make it may not survive.' sums up Marcin Wojtoń, Commercial Director, Ideo.
Customer needs accelerate the growth of e-commerce
In the everyday work, we observe a growing interest of B2B platforms. Year by year, the number of requests for digital solutions in business increase, not to mention the last, pandemic, year. Due to the lockdown and restrictions, sellers had to find alternatives for communicating and distributing their products/services. Many companies have been looking for tools and systems that would meet diverse requirements and needs of both sellers and contractors.
Dedicated B2B sales platforms, because of their flexibility and scalability, enable you to create solutions that are best suited to the nature and branch of industry of a given company.
'Perhaps for many sellers, B2B sales are still associated with boring and inconvenient forms, but nothing could be further from the truth. As experts who work in this branch of industry for many years, we notice that the world of technology and business is changing dramatically and needs modern solutions and tools for work. The B2B sales platforms that we implement for our clients are more than just work tools. Those are very often "places" for entrepreneurs to meet with their business partners, on them depends the effectiveness of sales. There is no time for half-measures, so we focus on professionalism and effectiveness.'- says Anna Wolanin, e-commerce Project Manager.
It is not only the number of inquiries that grow year by year but, most importantly, the needs of the business clients. Projects that we implement are more and more often complex e-commerce systems with individually selected functionalities that facilitate sales, communication and business processes. Trends, needs, and expectations are changing, and the tools we use need to be changing too. A traditional B2B platform containing only an order form may often not be enough.
The benefits of digitizing B2B sales
Companies decide to use digital solutions primarily because they need them, but along with implementation, there come additional, numerous benefits for the entire enterprise. Sales platforms automate many processes, which can facilitate the performance of daily tasks also for people not directly related to sales.
In addition to automation and optimization of actions, digitization also reduces costs related to the organization of meetings, the sales process, distribution, and warehouse policy. A correctly designed and implemented B2B platform supports not only all stages of order fulfilment, logistics and communication, but also finances and reporting. It is a comprehensive client- and contractor-oriented tool that supports sales and business activities.
The significant feature of the platform is its high flexibility and personalization, which means that it can be adapted to any branch of industry. Dedicated functions ensure professional sales and customer service also abroad.
Here are some examples of functions that a B2B system may contain:
- advanced search engines,
- support for use of multiple shopping cards,
- contractor verification tools,
- individual price lists and discounts,
- product catalogue,
- possibility of integration with external systems,
- ... and many more.
Along with the development of e-commerce, particularly in B2B sales, modern and digital solutions are becoming a key element influencing the success of sales-related companies.
We will analyze your needs together and advise you on how to implement the B2B Platform in the best way for your business. Make an appointment for a free consultation.
The B2B tools and systems offered on the market are so advanced and flexible that can meet the expectations of customers and partners, as well as improve the company's functionality and support its rapid development.
The best B2B strategy you can choose is to testing, optimizing, retesting, and improving. Your clients are constantly changing and developing - and you must not only keep pace with them, but also predict their future needs.