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Four B2B Ecommerce Trends to Keep An Eye On in 2016

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B2B ecommerce is having a real moment.  There’s been much in the news recently about B2B Ecommerce predicted to be four times the size of Retail with sales reaching $1.2 billion by 2020.  It’s never been a more important time for wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors to embrace ecommerce to satisfy the growing demands from their trade customers and create new business opportunities through an online channel.

We’ve observed the following key trends that are set to play out over the course of 2016 and beyond.

Mobile Commerce is becoming increasingly important to B2B. Even in our most traditional B2B customers we’ve noted increasing growth on mobile usage.  Forrester also noted that 52 percent of Trade buyers will research products from their smartphones.  We are also seeing growing appetite from trade buyers who are also more willing to place large bulk orders on mobile devices. Making the mobile experience as user-friendly as possible is helping to facilitate large transactions online via mobile.

B2B Experiences online are mirroring B2C.

Trade buyers are also consumers themselves and it makes sense for wholesalers and manufacturers to ensure their website adopts conventional ecommerce principals to make the process of buying in bulk online familiar, fast and efficient.  Other convenient features like “Repeat my last order”, quick order by product SKU, favorites and wishlists, Click and Collect, tokenized payment methods –  that are widely seen on platforms like Amazon and popular in the supermarket sector are also being adopted on B2B ecommerce websites to help make a busy trade buyers life as easy as possible.

Technology Investments from B2B Companies are on the increase.

With the B2B sleeping giant now fully awake and looking at how they can better manage their online channels, it’s natural B2B companies will start investing more in both ecommerce and technology for greater efficiency.  Forrester are predicting wholesalers and manufacturers will be outspending retailers in ecommerce technology investments in a mere three years, accounting for 30% of total spending, which is a 10 percent increase on 2013’s total spending.

Customer Service matters a lot.

With many businesses fighting on price, it’s those businesses turning their attention to superior customer service that may win the battle for loyalty amongst their trade customers. We are finding Wholesalers and Manufacturers taking their customer service to a whole new level, offering live web chat, using social media as an alternative way to communicate with their customers and enhancing their delivery model with more choice on timing options and communication of delivery through text messages and tracked services.  We are also seeing increasing use of third party reviews on site as B2B companies seek to provide greater transparency.

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