Around 12% ($1.134 trillion) of the total $9 B2B sales in the US of will be through ecommerce in 2020. Forrester expects this to increase to 17% by 2023. The opportunities for businesses ready to meet online demand are huge and the risks for those that fall behind are significant.
Forrester also predicts that by 2020 almost half of adults (46%) will be Millennials. They have very different attitudes and priorities for their B2B purchases which will place new demands and expectations on ecommerce businesses.
The B2B buyer that you may have been familiar with in the past decades is changing. Younger B2B buyers will inevitably mean digital-first B2B commerce in the years ahead. These millennials are predicted to occupy more and more decision-making roles in companies in the coming years, and their native reliance and preference for digital channels and solutions is something the world of B2B must adapt to.
Most importantly, this new generation of B2B buyers is looking for transparent and competitive purchasing models rather than one-to-one negotiations.
It is predicted that this growth in B2B ecommerce in the US is not only mirroring digitalisation as a whole, but also ‘signals the systematic digital restructuring of the B2B market worldwide’. In this blog, we take a look at some of the key B2B ecommerce trends emerging in the US in 2020 and beyond and how you can ensure you are prepared for them.
Have a road map
Understanding your ecommerce opportunities and how to make the most of them will be important in the coming year. Offering clear benefits will help your traditional customers make the move to online self-service. This could include personalised landing pages, easy reordering and workflows that fit with their own purchasing processes.
A personalised shopping experience is already a preference for most B2B customers. Serving customers with customised product catalogs and customised navigational experience to meet their individual needs will be in high demand. Cloudfy’s Punchout solution is the ideal way to connect suppliers with buyers through seamless integration and deliver a completely personalised experience.
As more and more ‘digital natives’ become B2B buyers, the expectation that all the information they need is available online will increase. It’s a tough environment and your success will depend on how easily your site can be found and how well you engage your customers online.
With Cloudfy, you can rest assured that your website has the ability to maximise its visibility using the rich suite of marketing functionality available. You can ensure you are more discoverable using Cloudy’s in-built features such as ‘Email a Friend’ which allows your customers to email product pages to a contact and share information about a product, or our very own Newsletter System.
You can easily start blogging to boost your SEO efforts and benefit from the regular updates offered by Cloudfy to unlock more features as and when they become available. Find out more about some of our most recent features here.
Deliver quality content
As mentioned, content is important, but not only for your SEO efforts. When they arrive, your buyers are not only looking for product information in multiple formats, they also want to know what you’re like to work with.
They are more interested in information than sales, so you will automatically gain an advantage by providing information that is easy to understand and evaluate.
Your online content will quickly and efficiently establish your credibility and authority in your market. Providing technical information and expert advice will give your buyers confidence.
Build customer relationships
Account management is important, but it can be time-consuming. As touched on above, there is a range of personalisation options available with a platform designed for B2B ecommerce, like Cloudfy.
By integrating with your key business systems, you can deliver a full self-service online portal and give your buyers the option to call your customer services and sales teams for help.
Your employees and customers can view products and partially completed orders in real time. Your customers can then hand over the order for your professionals to complete or save and complete the order online themselves.
Make access easy
More than half of your buyers are using mobile devices for research and to place orders. In 2020 and the coming years, ecommerce sites that fail to offer high-quality experiences on mobile devices to match or even exceed their desktop equivalents will lose out to their competitors.
The responsive design on Cloudfy means sites are just as compatible and easy to use regardless of which device they are being used on. However, the personal touch still remains as you have full capability to change colour, font, style and manage all content to reflect your brand. Cloudfy B2B AppCommerce takes this one step further to ensure all the needs of millennial buyers are met on mobile.
User journeys will also need to be fast and efficient, so effective search and recommendations based on artificial intelligence and machine learning are pushing the boundaries. Chatbots, for example, can automatically deal with many common enquiries, leaving your customer services team free to handle more complicated queries and to facilitate sales.
You won’t want to fail at the last stage, with abandoned purchases, so everything you can do to streamline the checkout process will help to maintain and improve your conversion rates.
Many B2B companies have created a single streamlined end-to-end ecommerce solution that unifies the whole sales process from quoting and pricing through to purchase and delivery.
Get ready for 2020 and beyond and ensure you are ready for the future of B2B ecommerce in the US. Talk to one of our experts today.