The concept of B2B ecommerce has been gradually gaining attention from business leaders for some time now. However, since the pandemic fundamentally changed the way we live and work, it seems we’ve reached an inflection point in the evolution of B2B sales.
Ecommerce, in general, has been a disruptive force since the dawn of digital selling, and our B2C shopping experiences have gradually shaped the expectations of B2B buyers too. Consumers from all walks of life have become more accustomed to seamless, convenient shopping experiences in their personal lives, and they’re beginning to expect the same simplicity in the business world. According to a study from Forrester in 2018, 70% of B2B buyers already preferred shopping for solutions on a website to interacting with a sales representative before the pandemic.
When the events of 2020 forced companies to reduce their number of face-to-face interactions, digital sales channels exploded. McKinsey found that the effects of the pandemic have triggered a digital transformation in the B2B market set to be permanent. Around 80% of B2B buyers surveyed said they don’t plan on going back to in-person sales experiences after the pandemic is no longer an issue.
So, what does this mean for B2B business owners? In simple terms, if you don’t go digital with your sales soon, you could end up losing your customers.
The Rising Value of B2B eCommerce Sales
B2B ecommerce solutions utilize online platforms for the management of transactions between companies. Although ecommerce has long been a popular tool for B2C brands, many B2B sellers have lagged behind, relying on old-fashioned face-to-face sales and demonstrations to drive profits. Unfortunately, this will no longer be an option in the years ahead.
According to Forrester reports, around 73% of today’s sellers have begun to use ecommerce and online sales portals to appeal to customers, and around 27% of all revenues come from these channels. 83% of businesses agree they’re planning on increasing their ecommerce sales in the years ahead.
As new generations continue to enter the workforce, and the business landscape shifts into the hands of more digitally-savvy buyers, B2B companies are searching for the same experiences they get in B2C interactions when shopping for B2B solutions. Remember, around 73% of millennials are responsible for purchasing products and services for their companies.
This new generation buyers use more online resources when researching products, use peers for recommendations to determine where to buy from and even interact with vendors on social media. Rapidly, creating an online presence for your business in environments where your customers already spend their time is becoming more essential.
The Benefits of B2B Ecommerce: Omnichannel Sales
A digital ecommerce strategy paves the way for constant innovation and evolution in today’s B2B environments. With the right digital experience platform, you can scale and adapt your go-to-market strategy to suit customer needs, opening new channels for sales and reaching new markets on a consistent basis. Indeed, many B2B sellers are using the ecommerce landscape to create more omnichannel strategies for sales.
Rather than simply selling at trade events or during face-to-face interactions with sales leaders, you can use your digital presence to sell through:
- Online marketplaces: Companies are becoming increasingly interested in using marketplace environments where they can shop for multiple useful products at once at the same time.
- Ecommerce websites: Your ecommerce website gives your customers a quick and easy way to purchase products, set up subscriptions, and find information about the items you offer.
- Trending sales channels: With a thriving online website, you can even explore additional opportunities for sales in the form of social media selling, or you might consider building your own app which integrates with your ecommerce product list.
According to Forrester, a third of B2B sellers are already implementing omnichannel strategies, and many remaining businesses are beginning to take steps in the same direction, hoping to future-proof their organizations in the process.
B2B Ecommerce Unlocks New Opportunities
Aside from giving you an omnichannel environment for increasing sales opportunities, the B2B ecommerce landscape also offers a host of additional benefits. For instance, the right ecommerce technology can improve efficiency and productivity by integrating with your ERP technology and CRM solutions to help you track the customer journey, and more effectively serve clients.
Ecommerce can also give you a way to reach new B2B customers you wouldn’t otherwise find at in-person events or connect with through cold calling practices. Studies show that B2B ecommerce market size is expected to increase by more than 70% by 2027. Investing in the right technology now ensures you can get ahead of the competition and start building brand awareness as quickly as possible.
Your future B2B buyers will be looking for the same convenient digital experiences from B2B sales as they get from B2C interactions. The faster you start investing in B2B ecommerce technology, the quicker you can grow and maintain the loyalty of your target audience. You might even find your B2B technology makes your business more profitable, as it provides you with useful insights into your customer base in the form of analytics and reporting tools.
Act Fast to Leverage the B2B Ecommerce Revolution
As more B2B buyers continue to turn to online shopping and marketplace environments for access to the tools and materials they need, companies without a digital presence will rapidly lose out on vital opportunities. Though the demand for B2B ecommerce opportunities has been increasing for some time, research shows digital channels have become a must-have since COVID hit.
Though many companies are still struggling with things like complex supply chains and changes in buying trends, now is the perfect time to get ahead of the curve and invest in a new avenue for sales if you want to get ahead for 2022. Investing in your ecommerce strategy now will ensure you have more opportunities to sell in the years to come.
The demand for B2B ecommerce will only grow in the years ahead. Make sure you have the right online presence set up with help from Souqbox. Our state-of-the-art solution will help you build the ultimate omnichannel sales environment for the future of sales.