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Why B2B eCommerce Should Be on Your Radar

Buying online is becoming increasingly common in the B2B world. For many brands and wholesalers, B2B eCommerce has become a crucial, if not the sole, source of revenue.

In this guest blog, the team at Pepperi have some insight into the benefits of B2B eCommerce that can help your business soar in 2022.

Buying online is becoming increasingly common in the B2B world. For many brands and wholesalers, B2B eCommerce has become a crucial, if not the sole, source of revenue.

In fact, Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers & buyers will occur through digital channels by 2025! So if you’re a brand or wholesaler without an eCommerce solution, you’re likely to get left behind.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why it’s time to put B2B eCommerce on your business radar, and incorporate it into your loyalty strategy.

B2B eCommerce means orders can be placed at any time, from anywhere

The beauty of online shopping is that it’s 24/7 - meaning your B2B customers are free to shop whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them, even in the middle of the night!

It gives your buyers the freedom to place orders when it’s most convenient for them, which is probably after hours when they don’t have to deal with a shop full of customers. They also don’t have to wait for a sales rep to call. It’s especially true when they are using a native mobile B2B eCommerce app that lets B2B buyers easily replenish orders and access products and account information and their order history on the go. 

These apps optimize the entire buyer experience from product discovery to delivery and make the whole ordering process simpler and more efficient, no matter which device your buyer chooses to use.

Your B2B buyer is more likely to be a millennial

Shifts in how B2B buyers prefer to make purchases have led to several changes in B2B retail. Millennials and Gen Z are continuing to enter the workforce, bringing with them different expectations that don’t necessarily align with traditional B2B sales practices. Indeed, according to Gartner, 44% of millennial B2B buyers (who make up 60% of all B2B customers) want a full digital experience with no direct engagement with a sales agent. 

This is an important statistic, as this new generation of B2B buyers have never known a world without the internet or email. Search engines have always been part of their daily life. Millennials are digital natives – and as a result, they automatically expect online ease of purchasing. 

It’s important to understand their way of thinking. 73% of these millennials report that they work more than 40 hours per week, but only 29% of them report that they feel ‘engaged’ in their work. They expect to do their B2B buying via a 24/7, intuitive, self-service platform and if you don’t have one, it’s easy for them to go elsewhere. 

Technology has improved to meet the unique requirements of B2B buyers 

One of the reasons brands and wholesalers have been wary of B2B eCommerce until now is because B2B customers are so different from their B2C counterparts. They typically have different retail buyers each with their own needs and different buying processes, including individual price lists per customer based on their own negotiated terms, personalized catalogs, shipping to multiple addresses, and many people are involved in the buying approval process. They have also always had personal attention and guidance from sales reps.

They have high expectations. But technology has improved so much that all these requirements can now be efficiently incorporated into your B2B eCommerce solution, providing them with an even better buyer experience than they had before.

Lots of B2B customers means lots of data

As brands or wholesalers, you’re dealing with many customers, managing all their data, keeping track of their purchase history, and more. You have a large amount of SKU’s, serve many different sectors, and may often deliver to different countries.

That is a lot of data to manage manually and, as we all know, manual entry often leads to mistakes.

But improvements in technological developments mean all this data can now be automated. It enables you to incorporate this data into your B2B eCommerce platform, presenting your range of products in an attractive, flexible e-catalog with search functionality to help customers find what they want quickly and easily.

A B2B eCommerce site is part of your Omnichannel experience

An omnichannel experience will be something your B2B customer expects from you. If they begin their order on mobile but finish it on their laptop at home, the information they find on both must be identical. They expect the option to complete their order by self-service, full service, or anywhere in between, and you need to provide the platform to enable that.

Another example of why B2B eCommerce must be on your radar is provided in recent research from McKinsey. Their report shows that eight out of ten B2B decision-makers believe omnichannel sales are as effective as or more effective than traditional methods. B2B leaders showed growing confidence in omnichannel, with 83% finding it a more successful way to find and secure new business than the traditional, ‘face-to-face only’ sales approach.

In addition, a B2B eCommerce site allows you to replace expensive human support functions with automation, substantially reducing the costs involved in supporting offline-only customers.

Integration is a must for your B2B eCommerce site

To ensure your B2B eCommerce site completely meets all your customer's expectations, it must be integrated with all your existing core platforms such as your back-office, ERP, and CRM solutions.

This will provide them, and you, with a completely holistic overview of the wholesales process.

Can you think of a reason why you wouldn’t have B2B eCommerce on your radar?

Written by Pepperi on Monday January 10, 2022

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