There’s no doubt that B2B ecommerce is continuing to expand rapidly, creating both opportunities and disruption in the US market.
Established manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors will face competition from new, fast-moving business in niches and across their whole market sector. Buyer behaviour is changing, influenced by their online experiences as consumers. Businesses that don’t respond could find their sales and profitability falling.
Here are just some things the B2B businesses in the US need to be ready for.
80% of B2B orders in the US are now placed via websites and the favourite payment method is the credit card. Businesses that aren’t ready to accept online card payments will soon find themselves out-paced by those that can.
Modern buyers use apps in all aspects of their life, including the workplace. Many B2B companies can make life simpler for their registered trade customers who need to place repeat orders on the go by providing an ordering app.
Buyers are looking for fast and secure online ordering and payment solutions that can be tailored to their buying process. In many cases this will involve multi-level authorisation that can automate their internal workflow to complete their purchase.
The ability to allow your buyers to ‘punchout’ of their own procurement system to access your product catalogue and then return their choices for internal approval is another basic purchasing requirement.
Configure, price, quote
Quickly providing prices across a rapidly changing range of buyer requirements is becoming an essential a tool in the B2B market. Configure, price, quote (CPQ) technology, integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can be the solution. Quotes can be automated according to pre-set rules to provide error-free pricing that takes into account variables such as quantities, discounts, customisation, and optional features.
Combining CPQ with voice technology that we are now so familiar with in Siri, Alexa and Google Home could soon transform B2B relationships.
We have become familiar with around the clock customer support delivered by automated chatbots. In many cases they can help buyers find what they want without the need for a telephone call. They can even help with re-orders when the buyer visits again and can up-sell and cross-sell products. Because this is such a cost-effective solution it is quickly becoming another must-have option for your ecommerce platform.
Augmented reality (AR) can now show what products will look like in the real world and can show users how to configure or repair them. Virtual reality (VR) can provide immersive demonstrations of how to configure, use or troubleshoot your products, even if they haven’t been delivered.
Buying on the move
We all immediately turn to Google to search for anything we need. Most buyers will now conduct online research before making their purchasing decision. Research by Google says that 42% of this online research is now done using mobile devices, so it’s essential for B2B ecommerce sites to be responsive for smart phones and tablets.
The rapid growth of B2B ecommerce and new technologies evolving from the business to consumer (B2C) market are changing the face of B2B sales. A software as a service (SaaS) B2B ecommerce solution like Cloudfy is the easy and fast way to bring your business right up to date.
Designed specifically for B2B from the beginning, all of these innovations and many more are already included in the standard Cloudfy package, and regular updates are deployed in the Cloud, so you don’t need to worry about keeping pace with change.
Get in touch today to find out how to meet the B2B challenge in the US with Cloudfy.