What are trends in B2B ecommerce?
Fast-growing B2B ecommerce opportunity
B2B ecommerce sales are expected to significantly grow in the next five years, and it is strategically important for all kinds of businesses to have an effective B2B web store and ecommerce platform that can handle sales volume, order complexity and scale to handle expected growth. By 2020, the global B2B ecommerce market will be about twice as large as the B2C market and worth a staggering $6.7 trillion, according to analysts Frost & Sullivan. In the U.S. where B2B ecommerce is already twice as large as B2C, Forrester predicts that B2B ecommerce will comprise 12% of all B2B sales in the U.S. by 2020. Wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors, from small and medium-sized right up to the largest, are experiencing a shift to the Internet in terms of procurement, as more businesses trade online.
Companies are looking seriously at their digital marketing and ecommerce strategies in order to capitalize on this opportunity to reach a new group of business buyers online, drive additional B2B ecommerce revenue, and reduce sales operations costs. Amazon has done much to shape the online consumer buying experience with one-click ordering, consumer reviews, account and order history, product preferences, real-time inventory and fast shipping and payment options. These online consumer expectations certainly influence B2B buyers’s expectations with regard to ecommerce.
Seamless B2B shopping experience
Digital advancements have not only changed the way B2B buyers search and buy items, their expectations regarding the buying experience are higher as well. With the growing popularity of ecommerce, consumers are now bringing those same expectations of a seamless shopping experience to the world of B2B ecommerce.
In this respect, B2B web stores are starting to adopt the best practices from consumer websites to optimize the business buyer’s online experience - a trend which we expect to see more often in the future. A B2B web store is required to function as an online sales portal, online information portal and customer service portal, all at the same time. This is where usability plays a vital role in the success of a web store. A user-friendly web store provides a positive experience for business customers and improves the rate of sales conversions and repeat visits. Usability is one of the main factors to consider when developing a professional and well-designed web store.
This is especially the case for B2B web stores, where buyers are busy, and require fast and efficient servic and relevant product information before ordering. The long-term nature of B2B commerce relationships leads to expectations of personalized service, customized prices and product lists that are tailored to different roles within the organization.