Is B2B eCommerce Worth the Investment?

I think if you asked me this question five years ago, I would have said it’s not the right time for such a large investment. However, B2B e-commerce has evolved and continues to experience rapid growth. drastically. Google explains that a major reason for this trend is millennials and their influence within the buying process. Industries, like manufacturing, continue to recognize the financial impact that allowing customers to buy online can have. According to Forbes, Spending on B2B e-commerce platform technologies, systems and services continue to outpace the B2C e-commerce market by over 200%.

B2B buyers identify the ease that comes from making their daily B2C purchases online. They are starting to expect this same experience while shopping for their business needs as well.

To further elaborate why now is the time to make the commitment and invest in B2B e-commerce take a look at some of the predictions for growth:

  • Internet Retailer predicts that by 2019 the U.S B2B e-Commerce market will be worth $1.1T compared to the B2C market at $480B.
  • Business 2 Community stated that 85% of B2B companies recognize that digital commerce is an important revenue opportunity that they are not yet fully utilizing.
  • Business 2 Community pointed out that 46% of manufacturers say e-commerce will be their primary sales channel by 2020.
  • Practical E-commerce explains that by navigating customers to an online e-commerce environment, B2B companies can substantially decrease sales costs by as much as 90 percent.
  • In a survey of B2B decision makers worldwide eMarketer found that 55% of respondents at companies considered leaders in customer experience said e-commerce was a digital investment area that was critically important for sales.

Now take a look at some stat by a study done by Heinz and SnapApp that clearly shows that millennials B2B buyers aren’t just coming –– they are here.

  • 41% of millennials are either making purchasing decisions (13%) or influencing them (28%).
  • 38% are tasked with researching purchases.
  • 82% are part of the buying committee in some capacity.

Furthermore, millennials shop differently than their generational peers. The study found:

  • Millennial buyers are far more independent than Generation X or baby boomer buyers during their path to purchase: They conduct extensive research on their own before making any purchasing decisions.
  • Millennial buyers are more likely to rely on the opinions of peers or outside experts than to trust a salesperson: They actively avoid engaging with sales early on; nearly 60 percent say they don’t engage with a salesperson until they’re in the middle of a purchasing decision.

Interestingly, these buying behaviors mimic B2C buying behaviors in which brands must educate, build trust and build community before a purchasing decision is made – or even considered. Therefore, if you want your brand to show up in those buying committees, you must have an online presence.

If these stats didn’t convince it might be time to make the leap because you still think it might be too hard, know that I thought the same. However, B2B sales are easy. If you are not familiar with this part of the ecommerce world, the advantages B2B ecommerce are easily identifiable and noticeable in their financials. It is important to acknowledge that B2B has a thirst for knowledge. Removing emotion from the equation and replacing it with statistics and information that can lead to a more informed decision is paramount in this business. B2B sellers that utilize an online store can deliver customers a streamlined buying experience to buy faster and easier. It is that simple.

As B2B has continued to grow, so has the B2B experience. The days of having to experience a second-rate, minimally functioning catalog website is fading away rapidly. B2C-like experiences are starting to be recognized as an important aspect to the B2B online shopping experience. B2B ecommerce sites now  engage customers and promote further interaction.

Choosing the right B2B e-commerce solution allows you to display relevant and specific product recommendations for your visitors. Clients can see related products, but also items with more features, unlocking powerful cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

B2B buyers want to search and find products fast. With the right eCommerce solution, buyers can see accurate and customized contract pricing, quickly reorder products and services, and see their custom quotes when they log in to your site. Leading B2B find the solutions that offer fully-personalized portals for their customers and partners.

Still on the Fence?

I get it, change is hard. I also get that it is a big investment and commitment of time, but once you get on board look at some of the B2B eCommerce technology features that could increase your revenue in ways you never imagined.

  • Customers can easily use efficient self-services, whether it’s completing orders online or setting up recurring purchases to process automatically.
  • B2C-like experience for easy ordering, checking the status of orders, and the ability to perform transactions on any device.
  • Offer a complete end-to-end solution, from digital asset management to integrated quote management.
  • Personalized portal view for customers with access to their products, warranties, manuals and related parts and inputs.

The B2B eCommerce market has so much to offer. Contact ParadoxLabs for more information on how you can start growing your B2B business today!

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