For the longest time, the eCommerce world's focus was intensely concentrated on B2C and retail eCommerce. B2B eCommerce slowly started gaining traction in recent years. If you ask us, 2022 was a banner year for the B2B eCommerce market. B2B eCommerce is growing at a rapid pace, with growth rates projected to continue through 2023.
Now B2B merchants are left with two options – “Go Digital” or “Go Home!”
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What Does B2B eCommerce Signify?
B2B eCommerce is a direct business-to-business (B2B) digital commerce. It is a broad term used to describe selling goods or services online to other businesses, including direct and indirect sales through one or more intermediaries. The main objective of B2B eCommerce is to help customers find what they want quickly, have a personalized shopping experience, and make educated purchasing decisions on time.
B2B eCommerce: The Objectives
Moving a B2B business online has the following simple goals.
- Wider customer reach
- Save time
- Streamlined Process
- Enhance efficiency
- Drive revenue
B2B eCommerce: Some Statistics
Here are some B2B eCommerce statistics to give you a clear picture of its relevance.
- Global B2B market has reached a whopping $12 trillion
- It comprises 13% of total B2B sales in the United States
- B2B market is over six times bigger than the B2C market
- Buyers are spending more online during and after the pandemic
- There is an average 45% jump in order values
- Businesses are adopting a digital-first approach for broader customer reach
What does all this data indicate? Is it time to shift to the B2B eCommerce market?
Virtina Says: Hell, yeah! Pull up your socks and get going!
Learn more about the advantages of building a customized B2B eCommerce platform for your business
Working of B2B eCommerce
B2B differs drastically from B2C as a business model. B2B sells products and services to businesses, while B2C eCommerce sells products and services directly to consumers. B2B eCommerce involves more advanced techniques, such as cross-channel marketing and automation. In addition to its differences in approach, B2B vs B2C also differs in how it is done. Instead of selling directly to a customer, the transactions can happen through an online sales portal between manufacturers and wholesalers or wholesalers and retailers.
Traditional B2B eCommerce involves intense manual sales and marketing processes. The key to making daily operations easier is through eCommerce automation.
eCommerce Automation: The Keystone
The process has reduced the hassles of the manual running of B2B businesses. The sellers and buyers can meet on a single digital platform, place orders, and manage shipments – everything from the comforts of their mobile phones or computers. There is minimal chance of error, lower running costs, and improved efficacy. Moreover, there are better chances to connect with new suppliers and distributors.
Overall Advantages of eCommerce Automation
- Fully automated sales between businesses, suppliers, distributors
- Lowered infrastructure and overhead costs
- Does not need intermediaries
- Improved growth prospects
- Mass market at scale reach
- 24/7 omnichannel branded presence
- Enhanced partner relationships
- Augmented employee productivity
Different Types of B2B eCommerce
If you are in a B2B business, there are one or more categories that your company falls into. Let us have a look.
Manufacturing enterprises produce the products in bulk and then sell them to other manufacturers, suppliers, or wholesalers. Their products are brought in bulk and branded or resold directly by their buyers. If you are into manufacturing, you should equip yourself with tools to meet digital demands from buyers. Customized features in pricing, production schedule, or sizing while completing transactions act as an added advantage.
WholesalersThese traders buy goods in bulk either from manufacturers directly or from distributors. They then sell them at retail prices to their patrons. Buyer-oriented B2B marketplaces are the best options for wholesale companies to showcase their products to retailers and buyers. They can advertise their products at lower rates and efforts compared to traditional marketing tactics.
Manufacturers often partner with distributors for marketing, packaging, selling, and shipping their products. An online partnership between the two businesses facilitates eCommerce fulfillment operations cost-effectively. They will be able to find suppliers, finalize deals, streamline the supply chain process, and ensure seamless customer satisfaction in less time. With good service, they can get established businesses to outsource the fulfillment process.
In this business model, B2B enterprises procure goods from manufacturers and wholesalers and sell directly to the customers. The business model needs a digital storefront that showcases detailed product catalogs and comprehensive descriptions that appeal to buyers.
The clients that B2B businesses deal with generally fall under the following broad categories.
Different Stages of a B2B Business
Every business has its unique journey. And every industry and business size moves differently. But there are some typical overarching stages to every business. Let us take a close look at the different phases of this journey.
This is the first and most challenging stage, where you decide to embark on your business. It is a phase of ideation, testing the market for feedback, making adjustments according to the market trends, and sales start to trickle in. You learn to estimate the minimum viable product, find the total addressable market (TAM), and start creating brand awareness. Keep in mind that your business venture solves a crisis and offers solutions.
This is a phase full of changes and can be cumbersome. You reimagine your processes, revisit systems, and optimize them to meet the growing market demands. You can start experimenting with marketing strategies and explore chances for possible partnerships. You will need to hire an experienced workforce and look for external funding. Build on the relationship with the suppliers to break even.
In this stage, cash flow increases enough for you to consider development and diversifying distribution. This stage calls for hiring the best in the business talent, creating a better omnichannel customer experience, and tracking growth per quarter. It is the time to invest the resources wisely, make educated budgeting decisions, and keep the marketing share afloat among the competition.
By this stage, you know where your business stands in terms of evolution. The sales sources become more apparent, and hiring new talent gets easy. It is now simpler to make business projections. You can consider diversifying your market, testing new products, investing in technology that aids your processes, and expanding marketing tactics.
By now, you are in charge. You can choose which way you want to go as a business owner. You can continue to grow in the same manner or branch out with different product offerings. You can think of innovative ways to change up your business and invest freely in technology. You can even plan to exit the business by selling at a profit, with a tidy sum squirreled away for your future.
Top B2B eCommerce Platforms in 2023
The biggest challenge in B2B eCommerce, you ask? Yup! Finding the platform that fits you best!
All eCommerce platforms are not created equal. Only some have the potential to create a wholesome B2B experience. Some platforms are designed specifically for the B2B business model, with the best-in-class customer experience and analytics capabilities. Your victory lies in selecting the one best suited for the needs and requirements of your business. Here’s the list of the top four B2B eCommerce platforms in 2023.
Magento platform has the best in-the-market credentials for enterprise-level businesses and suits all business sizes. It stands out for its powerful execution, custom pricing, dependable cloud-based performance, and efficient reporting and analytics tools. Magento offers users the ability to self-manage accounts, easy installation, minimal maintenance, and total value for money. Hire Magento expert developers for high-quality and stable B2B eCommerce websites.
Confused about finding the right platform for your B2B eCommerce business?
Business Benefits of Using a B2B eCommerce Platform
If you want to own a lucrative online business, you first need to build a customized eCommerce platform, a website based on a powerful eCommerce platform, and a responsive mobile app. Using an online platform like Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce, you can create an online store where anyone can buy anything from anywhere in the world at any time of day or night, regardless of whether they are based in New York City or Tokyo or anywhere else.
After going through all the above facts and figures, you must have your head reeling to figure out how a professionally fashioned eCommerce platform and storefront can assist you. Let us help you out a bit there.
An expert B2B eCommerce platform is a great way to connect with your customers wherever they are and helps you quickly reach more customers. It helps build relationships with customers, which can lead to more business for both parties involved in the transaction, especially you. With a professional platform, you can drive sales, fulfill large orders and execute customer service 24/7 seamlessly. It also gives you more control over everything from sales to commerce operations.
A well-crafted eCommerce store supports personalized sales and marketing experiences across sales channels and devices. A good B2B eCommerce website helps customers navigate and find products easily. It also facilitates the integration of buyer data from ERP or CRM through APIs. A well-constructed B2B eCommerce platform provides flexible payment options and easy checkout.
Popular B2B eCommerce Trends in 2023 and Beyond
B2B eCommerce will continue to be a significant force in the B2B world, and it looks like it will carry on growing. Now, let us look through some popular trends that will govern the fate of B2B eCommerce in 2023.
B2B eCommerce Becomes Mandate
It will become more and more relevant as brands use it to reach their customers and give a seamless user experience.
Since millennials are more energy and climate-conscious, going paperless will score brownie points for the company among buyers.
Contextualized Real-time Pricing
It gives business owners more control over managing and adjusting product prices in real time.
Customer Experience Analytics
Analyzing customer journeys will give users an immense advantage in deciding the way forward.
More Payment Methods and Options
Businesses that invest in more payment methods and accept different currencies will get more business in the long run.
Secure B2B Platform
Customers will be confident to shop on a platform they are sure to be safe, secure, and data sensitive.
It will give customers a seamless shopping experience by connecting backend systems to shopping platforms that buyers frequent.
The more personalized experiences a site provides, the more chances they will return for business or build a long-term relationship.
Customers are looking for a complete shopping experience that involves not just sales but a faster browsing experience, searching information, sales agreements, communications, and customer support through Chatbots.
Retaining Customer LoyaltyWith the pandemic almost at its last leg and recession looming over our heads, keeping existing customers happy and retaining dissatisfied customers has become the need of the hour.
Most Favored B2B eCommerce Marketing Strategies
Using these most popular marketing tactics will give you optimized B2B sales results.
B2B is based on company-to-company transactions involving several entities. It will always help to create a long-standing partnership which will be a win-win for both parties involved.
Partner with fulfillment channels that deliver goods quickly and securely to customers beyond their expectations. These will convert to credits in your kitty.
Collaborating with a renowned and reliable distributor will take all the hassles of delivery off your shoulders and keep your customers beaming with satisfaction.
Employ Targeted AdsUsing targeted ads to reach more customers can boost your visibility in the earlier phases of your business. If you are a startup wanting more brand awareness, targeted ads will help you get there.
Integrate BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later)
Instead of asking your retailers to pay upfront, build a long-standing relationship with them. Enable a buy now, pay later payment mode. Also, look at providing discounts on early payment and buyer loyalty programs. You can even strategize to receive a percentage of sales as payment.
Use AI and Analytics
B2B markets often use advanced analytics tools such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to help determine which customers are likely to buy something from their site or app. Another way companies use AI involves machine learning algorithms that learn what works best based on past experiences.
Provide Omnichannel Experience
Connect with your customer and create a seamless B2B omnichannel experience through strong social media campaigns, SEO optimization, quality content, and paid ads. Offer quicker supply chains, discounted bulk purchases, or hyper-personalized buying experiences.
Easy Checkout OptionsStreamline the checkout process cascade by adding customer delight points like additional discounts, loyalty discounts, warranty deals, personalized shipping and delivery options, and better service.
Busting Common Myths and Misconceptions About B2B eCommerce
Here we are debunking some of the common myths you might have about starting a B2B eCommerce business.
Myth: B2B digital websites and marketplaces are nice add-ons but not a necessity.
Fact: A B2 B-specific website and marketplace will help wholesalers, retailers, organizations, or resellers quickly browse through the entire collection of products and make orders at their convenience.
Myth: B2B sites need not be mobile-friendly.
Fact: B2B customers also browse on their mobile phones to research and compare products, read reviews, and make purchases. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you lose out on the business.
Myth: B2B websites are not adept at handling complex pricing.
Fact: Choosing the right platform can overcome complex B2B pricing issues like bulk ordering, custom orders, pricing fluctuations, and customer-specific pricing. By restricting pricing access to customers, you can hide pre-negotiation prices from the customers.
Myth: It is hard to manage B2B customer service online.
Fact: On the contrary, having multiple channels like Chatbots, email, texting, and phone calls helps provide world-class and lightning-fast services 24/7. With the self-service culture in trend, the formula to success is a speedy response.
Myth: Online B2B purchases only favor low-ticket transactions.Fact: B2B eCommerce is the best way for businesses to reach customers who need their products and services, regardless of their size or industry. Bulk ordering and large transactions are mainstream now.
Hiring an Expert for B2B eCommerce Development
B2B eCommerce development is different from the one for B2C, and it is best to hire an expert developer or a team of developers for the job, depending on your business volume. A professional developer team can enhance your eCommerce benefits.
- They will help cut through competition with careful market research
- Creating a website with needed integrations can help stay ahead of the competition
- A professionally crafted website can boost online visibility and create brand awareness.
- The customer reach and revenue produced from a professional website will negate the primary investment in eCommerce website development and web hosting.
- The chances of risk become negligible when you hire experts to create or customize your website
- Building an online footprint for your business will encourage self-transactions, automatically bringing in more revenue and driving sales.
If you are looking to create a highly-customized B2B eCommerce site, Virtina has all the tricks in the book to get you growing
Future of B2B eCommerce
B2B eCommerce is here to stay! It has emerged as a significant sales channel in digital commerce. The change in buying patterns will continue adoption in 2023 and beyond. Forrester forecasts B2B transactions to cover 1.8 trillion dollars this year, constituting 17% of the total U.S. B2B sales.
The businesses will have millennial buyers who are used to shopping online and would choose eCommerce sites as they have more selection. So, even though emails and phone calls might still work, online transactions rule the roost. The young lot of buyers expect sellers to provide convenience, cost-effectiveness, personalization, relevance, and accessibility. They will be comfortable with the self-service model.
Mobile ordering, AR-VR store tours, self-service functionality, etc., would soon become mainstream. There will be more relevance to AI in transactions and website creation. AI and machine learning integrations would lead to more audience reach using fewer resources. B2B marketplaces will have a massive impact on the sales volume in the future. Amazon Business is the biggest name in the B2B realm and will continue to be so in 2023. Overall, things are looking bright and cheery for the B2B market this year and in the coming years.
These are the pointers Virtina wishes to give merchants gearing up for B2B eCommerce development.
- Choose the right platform
- Customize your eCommerce platform
- Add the right integrations
- Display detailed catalogs right
- Make alluring product descriptions
- Create a high-functioning mobile app
- Build a responsive website
- Offer seamless user experience
- Maximize results from data analytics
- Optimize the total cost of ownership value
B2B eCommerce Customer Service KPIs to Measure Success
At virtina, we provide comprehensive 360-degree services to B2B eCommerce brands customized to meet their unique needs. More importantly, we ensure that you can see the growth in your business by observing relevant B2B eCommerce customer service KPIs. Following are some of the B2B eCommerce customer service KPIs that we use to measure the success of our projects.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Our experts can help you measure customer satisfaction on your B2B website with various strategies, including post-interaction surveys. The data obtained through the study and other means help you understand how well your website meets user expectations.
Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
The Customer Retention Rate is another KPI that can reveal how well your online B2B business is doing with sound data. Our clients find it helpful to separately measure the CRR of your online store as it is a different sales channel and let you compare how it performs against other sales channels.
Repeat purchases or returning customers are at the heart of B2B business. If your online store can generate more return purchases, it is on the right path to success. Determining the return rate is an excellent way to ensure your business meets customer needs.
Online Order Frequency
It is a KPI that lets you understand how big your online sales portal plays in boosting your company’s sales efficiency. You can measure the success of your online business by focusing on the percentage of orders you receive on your B2B website.
Average Conversion Rate
You can determine the average conversion rate of your B2B eCommerce store by finding the percentage of users completing the purchase cycle. The general formula to determine the average conversion rate of your site is to divide the total number of site visitors by the number of conversions.
Adoption rate refers to the rate at which your customers exclusively use your B2B eCommerce store to get industry-related information and place orders. It is an excellent way to determine how your online B2B store performs as a sales channel and its impact on your organization.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score, or CES, is another one of the metrics we use to measure the success of our B2B clients. It is an experience metric that shows the effort the customer or user makes to resolve an issue.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Perimeter Score (NPS) is the KPI that lets you identify the chances of customers recommending your B2B eCommerce brand to others. A high NPS means building trustworthy and brand-loyal customers for your B2B eCommerce brand.
Customer Churn Rate
It is the percentage rate of customers who navigate away from your B2B eCommerce store over a specific time. We prepare our B2B clients for such eventualities by identifying friction elements and rectifying them for a smoother purchase journey.
First Response Time
Another potential KPI to consider for measuring the success of your B2B eCommerce customer service is the first response time. It involves measuring the time it takes for your B2B business to respond to customer inquiries and send timely quotes.
Why Hire Virtina for your B2B eCommerce Needs?
We can support your business in more ways than one. Let us see how.
Virtina follows an agile business process with clever marketing strategies that can build your business from scratch and keep it running. We create a complete blueprint before launching a project.
We build B2B eCommerce platforms from the ground up or upgrade existing ones, sticking to a perceptive action plan with strict timelines. It helps us to deliver completed projects before or within the stipulated deadline.
We give our customers value for their money. Our services are affordable at best with the choicest outcome.
We have been in this business for over a decade. Our seasoned team is thus adept at handling almost any challenge that you throw our way.
Multi-platform Multi-industry Expertise
We are experts at all popular B2B eCommerce platforms across different industries. Building a customized platform, migrating to a new one, or upgrading the present one – we do it all!
Customer satisfaction is our primary priority. We design our action plan to include periodic updates and regular meetings with our client representatives.
Here are some things you need to know about B2B eCommerce.
- Growth of B2B eCommerce is not restricted to the pandemic era
- The B2B growth trend is projected to progress through the coming years
- B2B business owners need to move to digital channels to stay relevant
- Invest in futuristic technology that stimulates your business and keeps track of growth
- Building and sustaining partnerships can be favorable for business growth
- An omnichannel business model that concentrates on customer experience saves the day
Still apprehensive about starting an online B2B business?
Final NoteB2B eCommerce is a powerful tool that can help you grow your business and make more money. It is widely used by companies of all sizes and has become a popular way of conducting digital business transactions. It is not just a pandemic trend and will continue its journey through the next decade. It thus becomes imperative for business owners to understand how it works, so you know what you need to do to succeed on this platform.
B2B eCommerce is a way to find new customers, connect with them, and increase your sales. Whether you want to build an exemplary digital storefront, enhance your inventory management process, streamline your business process, or reach out to more customer strata, a B2B ecommerce platform can help you get there.
It will help you quite a bit if you take guidance from an experienced eCommerce Development Services company like Virtina to push your way forward through tough competition.