On average, today’s business to business (B2B) buyers are under 35 – in other words, they are Millennials who have grown up with the internet.
This could explain why the number of B2B purchases made online has increased by 25% in the last three years. By 2020 predictions for the worldwide B2B ecommerce market say that it will be worth £4.5 trillion. You will want to make sure your business is well-placed to access this opportunity.
That’s one very good reason why B2B companies are likely to spend more this year on ecommerce technology than online retailers.
Human to human
We know that the thoughts and behaviours of consumers and business buyers are very different, but there’s growing recognition that everyone wants an engaging online experience.
Just like consumers, business buyers are looking for product variety, competitive pricing and outstanding service. Increasing numbers of ecommerce sites are using algorithms and machine learning to deliver dynamic product pricing and tailored user journeys.
An easy life
Your buyers want an easy life. If there are too many barriers in the purchasing process, they will simply go somewhere else.
Clear pricing and offers tailored to your customer’s buying history will reduce the time they need to spend calling their sales contact or your customer services team to check details. Using modern ecommerce platforms to make ordering simple, using pre-populated information and easy reordering processes, your customers will have confidence that you understand their needs.
Compared with consumer purchases, business buyers are likely to spend much larger amounts. Once your buyers have done their online research and come to your site, conversion rates and order values are typically high. In the United States the average order value for a B2B transaction is around $491, compared with an average of $147 for consumers. You will be missing out on significant sales and profits if your potential customers are buying from someone else online.
Enhanced customer service
Old-style enterprise systems often require multiple, disjointed processes to complete an order, which can lead to errors and leave your customer dissatisfied.
Buyers now expect to have real-time product information, accurate pricing and convenient delivery arrangements. By integrating your ecommerce platform with back office systems, the purchasing and delivery process can become seamless.
With predictions that, by 2020, the quality of your customer’s experience will be more important than your product and pricing, your ecommerce platform will be essential to your business success.
Supporting your sales team
B2B ecommerce certainly doesn’t herald the end of the sales representative, but it will change his or her role. With many of the administrative activities now managed within an integrated ecommerce system, your sales team can focus on adding value through their expert product knowledge. With tools such as mSeller they can mediate the sales process face-to-face and online, synchronising orders, pricing, products, stock and order status in real time.
The information you can capture throughout the online buying process is very valuable to your business. A better understanding of your customers and their behaviour will help you to anticipate and meet their needs, improving your products and services and increasing sales and profits.
Access new markets
Most buyers will research their purchase online before contacting a supplier directly. If they don’t find your business, they certainly won’t contact you. About a third of them will complete the whole buying process online, without ever speaking to your sales or customer services team.
If you don’t have an ecommerce presence, you will be missing out on valuable business.
Challenge your competitors
You might feel that there’s no urgency because your market sector isn’t currently embracing ecommerce. However, you can give yourself a significant competitive advantage by creating an effective online platform that is specifically designed for the B2B market, like Cloudfy.
Take the first step with Cloudy and you could have a site up and running in just a few weeks, including integration with back office systems and easy user interfaces.
We’ll be happy to tell you more about how your B2B business can grow with ecommerce, so talk to one of our experts today.