Digital transformation and eCommerce development are taking over the B2B industry at a rapid pace and are bridging the gap between the marketplace. Prior to COVID-19, 2020 was already expected to be the great year in B2B sales by the dollar value, operating at twice the size of the B2C market at USD 6.7 Trillion. As per Forrester, U.S. B2B eCommerce transactions are anticipated to reach USD 1.8 Trillion by 2023.
Why are things changing so rapidly? What are the steps to be taken to ensure that your business isn’t left out? And many such questions might be hovering in your mind. Let’s answer them in the upcoming paragraphs.
A big portion of the overall macroeconomic force is the changing demographics of B2B buyers. The B2B landscape is experiencing a paradigm shift as Millennials take hold of most buying responsibilities in B2B and distribution to B2C firms. You must know that millennials are the largest generation in the workforce. Millennials will account for 75% of the workforce worldwide by 2025. Today’s generation is of technologically dependent, digitally connected, and software-savvy workers.
So, what does this mean for B2B companies? Well, today, more than 46% of all B2B purchases are made by millennials. This is so because this customer group is inclined towards the ease and convenience of digital buying experiences. For millennials, these two factors are more important that impact their buying choice. According to statistics, 69% of millennials say that the ease of doing business is why they go for the companies they work with. To retain more customers, it is important to look after your online portal or buying experience.
How Amazon’s marketplace is affecting B2B business?
During COVID-19, the crisis has boosted eCommerce, and online sales (up 25% industry-wide since March), Amazon’s dominant market share has only grown. So how Amazon’s push into the B2B eCommerce market can hurt your business?
As the market has expanded, customers will start shopping on the Amazon Marketplace for things like materials, parts, and even industrial chemicals without worrying about brand loyalty. Customers will see your products along with your competition, where the only comparable attributes are quantity and price. Ignorant about your product knowledge and differentiation, you be will be losing a large number of sales to competitors.
For better understanding, let take the example of Honeywell. Honeywell established the Honeywell Marketplace for aerospace parts companies. No doubt, it is an industry dominated by brand loyalty and trust; hence it is almost impossible for you to get buyers to see your products if you aren’t on Honeywell’s trusted marketplace. This trend became a boon for Honeywell. They took advantage as the industry leader and even increased their revenue. However, it may hurt smaller distributors competing for sales with every one of their competitors on the marketplace.
So, what’s the solution to get ahead of your competition?
Let’s discuss below.
What can you do to beat your competitors?
B2B eCommerce sales are getting 7X faster than any other electronic channel. On the contrary, today, only 73% of B2B sellers are selling via eCommerce or online marketplace portals. It may seem fairly low. To boost your confidence, we would like to let you know that 86% of US-based B2B companies have already implemented these solutions with over USD 500 million annual revenue.
So, what can you make out of this? It suggests that there is still some room for businesses to begin their digital transformation and adopt eCommerce trends. However, many executives have already thought through these strategies and have implemented or are implementing them. If you are still holding off from adopting digital transformation projects, your competitors will start looking at you through their rear-view mirror.
McKinsey’s study pointed out that B2B’s digital leaders in eCommerce are immensely outperforming their competitors. The ones who have adopted the online buying opportunities have reported up to 8x operating profit growth, 5x revenue growth, and double their return on shareholder growth. Showing your customers the value of your products, highlighting key product attributes, and allowing them to buy your products quickly, the way they want is self-evident.
Before checking out the eCommerce trends to follow, let’s go through the important points which you must keep in mind.
Important points that you shouldn’t overlook in eCommerce development
- B2B sector is evolving
Back in the year 2015, Google found that nearly half of the B2B buyers are millennials. As the “typical” B2B buyer is changing, a business’ sales process should also change. One cannot dream of becoming a winner by following the old trends in the new market. Hence, merchants are required to decipher the modern B2B buyer’s needs without much available guidance.
- Your audience is changing
Before 2020, the B2B audience was made up of baby boomers and members of Generation X. People involved in baby boomers preferred getting information from sales literature, datasheets, and product trials, while Gen X sought information from conferences, trade shows, and print ads.
But today, the time has changed. Around 73% of millennials are indulged in the B2B buying process. This generation has perplexed many, but they hold some distinguishing characteristics that explain why and how they operate. As millennials have grown up alongside technology, around 38% agree to buy the latest gadgets.
At present, many of them have college degrees than any other prior generation. While this is impressive but has affected the way millennials have shaped their career graphs. Students loan is also one of the reasons why this generation seek transparency from brands.
- Implementation of digital marketing efforts
A decade ago, traditional marketing involved trade shows, cold calling, and collateral. Experts knew that those physical marketing efforts were outdated and digital efforts were on the rise. In today’s era, any B2B customers prefer conducting approx. twelve online searches before purchasing from a particular brand. As a result, 55% of B2B marketing budgets were directed toward digital efforts that provide a more personalized buying experience.
Many companies are even looking at AI to gain a competitive advantage through search marketing and chatbots. Augmented reality is also becoming a part of the picture. It is expected that by 2022, 25% of enterprises will launch AR, and another 70% will experiment with it.
- New payment methods are under the limelight
Stats say 23% of B2B retailers with an eCommerce channel still accept fax orders, which is much lower as compared to the three most popular payment methods:
- Phone: 72%
- Email: 77%
- Website: 80%
With the rise of various mobile apps and marketplace like Amazon, it is clear that B2B retailers are on their toes to adopt full omnichannel sales approaches.
Credit cards still win the race with 94%. At the same time, other means of payments like terms, checks, and purchase orders remain vital for B2B buyers, with 53%, 51%, and 50%, respectively. Most retailers (around 78%) have been selling online for at least 2-5 years or longer. Brands that aren’t selling through any dedicated websites are planning to do it in the next one year.
B2B eCommerce statistics
Now let’s check out some B2B eCommerce statistics that require your attention below:
- Around 50% of B2B companies prefer blogging as a marketing strategy.
- 40% of companies look forward to creating social media content and sending email newsletters.
- More than 30% of content demand comes from IT audiences, followed by executives, HR, marketing, and education.
- As per Isoline’s survey conducted in 2019, 53% of B2B decision-makers said videos were the most useful form of content, followed closely by case studies.
B2B buyers expect various digital efforts from vendors:
- 38% seek AR options.
- 33% want video chat options.
- 45% want personalized portal content.
- 44% are looking for an easy-to-use ROI calculator.
Now let’s discuss the top 7 eCommerce trends to stay competitive in the shifting B2B landscape.
Top 7 eCommerce strategies to beat your competitors
- Build a mobile responsive website
A recent survey conducted by Google predicted several aspects of the B2B industry. They found that more than 53.67% of the B2B eCommerce market is mobile responsive. Stats say 90% of customers who have experienced a great mobile experience with an eCommerce website are more likely to purchase from the same vendor. This indicates that any website with a low or poor mobile responsive experience will lose both the sales and leads in the market.
Therefore, an optimized mobile experience is very crucial for a B2B business. It enhances a website’s ranking on Google’s search engine as its algorithm uses mobile-friendliness also as a ranking method.
- Having a Mobile App
One of the best eCommerce strategies to adopt where customers can purchase and track products is an eCommerce mobile app. It improves conversion ratios and reduces friction by streamlining the purchasing experience. A well-designed mobile app will help the marketers in making a name in the world of B2B eCommerce. While designing a mobile app, include push notifications and introduce products with a fast and amazing user experience.
- Importance of product reviews and ratings
By adding product reviews, ratings, and recommendations to your eCommerce website, you can leverage one of the top B2B eCommerce strategies. It eases a website’s conversion ratio by 270%, which increases your customer pool by 73%.
Regularly ask your customers to leave their valuable feedback and ratings. The presence of product reviews helps in building trust and rapport for your eCommerce site. Other customers or the new customers will consider this as social proof and trust your products. Indirectly, it will act as personal recommendations, and it boosts the conversion ratio of any website.
- Customer-friendly eCommerce functions
The key to success for B2B online strategy is providing an engaging customer experience. You may find many sites with features that improve customers’ experience and multiply their sales and revenues.
One such feature allows users to save items in their cart so that they can switch over to browse from where they left. Adding multiple products in the cart simultaneously eases the purchasing process increasing the average order value.
- Updating your website regularly
Updating your eCommerce website is also one of the key aspects to consider while developing any eCommerce company. Keep updating your product lists, add new items every now and then, check what part of your site a customer enjoys the most. Implementing some of the few factors can be one of the best ways of retaining your loyal customer.
Therefore, keep an eye on ongoing trends in the market and make your website available to your customers.
- Rewarding your loyal customers can be a great approach
With so many online market spaces available for buyers to choose from, you need to stand out. As your only concern is to convert a visitor into a customer, you must provide them the extra benefits. But on the way to attract new customers, do not forget about your old customers.
So, what can you do to keep the existing as well as the new customers adhere to your eCommerce website? The answer is simple, reward them. Rewarding your website’s loyal customers enhances their trust and convince them to skip the idea of searching on your competitors’ online store. This will make your customers feel connected to your brand and encourage them to the long-term association.
- Competitive pricing is important
What type of purchasing experience your customers are looking for? Search the answer to this question, and you are halfway there.
First purchase discounts and competitive pricing are some ways to bring any online business on track. So, if your competitors are selling the same product at a better price, your product might not attract potential buyers.
We suggest doing thorough research before adding the price tag to your products.
If you are willing to start your eCommerce business, then the above trends will help you in staying competitive in the shifting B2B landscape.
If you wish to take experts’ help in developing one of the best eCommerce websites, then do not hesitate to reach out to Best1Tech. We are a leading name in the industry and boast of having 2200+ happy clients and have successfully developed 1400+ website designs.
We can help you in creating one of the best eCommerce websites.