Purchasing was once a labour-intensive, process-driven exercise with purchase orders and invoices being just a fraction of the organisational overheads involved. But things have changed…
Business to business (B2B) buyers know and understand the world of online shopping. Business to consumer (B2C) ecommerce has set the bar extremely high in terms of ease, accessibility and buyer experience.
B2B buyers want and expect a similar quality experience for their professional purchases. They are also looking for more control over the process – choosing when and if they need to speak to sales, technical and customer service staff.
The majority of today’s B2B buyers expect more than half of their business purchases to be made online in 2018. Online business purchasing is likely to be even higher in smaller companies that have more flexible purchasing rules.
Reasons buyers choose suppliers who offer B2B ecommerce include:
- ease of research
- convenience of round-the-clock purchasing
- quality of support
- speed of transactions.
It starts with a search
Almost two thirds of B2B buyers are likely to start their purchasing process with an online search. If they don’t find your brand at this stage, they are unlikely to buy from you. Once their product choice has been made, they are likely to buy from a distributor’s or manufacturer’s website. At this stage a well optimised B2B ecommerce site with great product choice, transparent pricing, useful content and ease of use are going to be key considerations.
More than half of B2B buyers use a smartphone for their research, so successful B2B ecommerce sites need to be optimised for mobile users. As the ‘baby boom’ generation retires, more ‘millennials’ are becoming B2B buyers. Their employers are increasingly favouring work from any location using mobile devices. Wherever they are working, they will expect a fast and professional buying experience.
While the buying process might begin online, buyers expect easy access to the customer service team or technical support before completing their transaction. If you deliver an exceptional experience your buyers are much more likely to return. They will, however, expect a personalised experience when they come back, based on their previous buying history.
A final thought – global opportunities
The spectacular growth of B2B ecommerce marketplaces like Alibaba means that wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers have access to potential worldwide sales.
Using the latest Cloud-based ecommerce technology like Cloudfy you can create fast, innovative and cost-effective ecommerce sites. You can deliver intuitive user experiences and personalisation in multiple languages, time zones and currencies.
Seamless integration with ordering and enterprise resource planning systems you can create efficient automated workflows that will allow you to cost-effectively participate in global markets.
Get in touch to find out how to become an ecommerce supplier of choice.