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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.

Most importantly, this new generation of B2B buyers is looking for transparent and competitive purchasing models rather than one-to-one negotiations.

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.

Be discoverable

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 how easily your site can be found and how well you engage your customers online.

Deliver quality content

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. There are 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, 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.

User journeys will 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.

Perfect processes

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. Talk to one of our experts today.

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