Op-Ed: The advantages of B2B e-commerce
Digitization is not only changing the way companies sell their products and services to customers, but also how companies sell to other companies.
So, we face a new panorama in the world of business-to-business or B2B. Today, like all of us, commercial buyers need to only do a search on Amazon, to easily find all kinds of products, of all qualities and all costs, from unknown suppliers with whom they don’t need to interact. This, of course, poses a threat to their traditional sales channels, but can also be a great opportunity.
The annual global growth of electronic commerce is proof that buying habits will continue along the “online” path and there’s no turning back. A recent study by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan confirms that growth and foresees global e-commerce sales to reach $9.8 trillion in 2020.
Given this scenario, companies are finally understanding the great advantages of e-commerce, and above all, they cannot ignore this phenomenon if they want to stay alive. In recent years they have seen that the use of e-commerce can significantly improve customer satisfaction, increase sales by having a new channel to use, and that way improve profitability. Now we have to educate people about the advantages of B2B business models, who are still somewhat doubtful about its implementation.
One of the great advantages is that when B2B e-commerce is done successfully, it allows companies to access new markets and attract new customers. In fact, the same study by Frost & Sullivan says that in 2020, the volume of e-commerce between businesses will be 50% higher than that of businesses and consumers.
This scenario implies that companies must add a B2B e-commerce platform to its strategy and adapt to the demands of their customers online as soon as possible. Today’s buyers, whether commercial or individual, expect a consistent and personalized experience in each phase of the buying process.
One of the keys is to use an e-commerce platform that has updated features, but that is also fast enough to adapt to ongoing business changes. The truth is that the traditional B2B software is no longer performing or satisfying all needs.
My recommendation for B2B companies looking to implement an e-commerce platform is to make sure that it offers the following:
- An advanced, accurate and fast search engine.
- Include a private area where customers can download and access their order history and invoices.
- Show reviews from other buyers.
- Making personalized offers to each customer is important, so a good tactic is to create different strategies for each client, such as prices, payments, terms, etc.
- Promotions and special prices tailored to customer needs.
- Optimization of the experience for mobile devices.
Technology has become a crucial element to digitize any B2B business. Those players who do not bet on online platforms may lose their place in the market, for not being able to seize business opportunities, simplicity and efficiency offered by online communication.