The B2B eCommerce industry has grown at an exponential rate. In just a few years, the worldwide B2B eCommerce market has exceeded over $14.9 trillion dollars.
Gartner has even forecasted that 80% of worldwide B2B transactions will shift to digital channels by 2025.
The best part is that it is just as easy to start a B2B eCommerce business as it is to start a B2C one. All you have to do is familiarize yourself with the B2B eCommerce model.
This guide will walk you through everything about B2B eCommerce, starting with the overview, why you should invest in B2B eCommerce, and some proven tips to succeed in the B2B eCommerce marketplace.
With that said, let’s jump right in!
What is B2B eCommerce?
B2B eCommerce is short for business-to-business eCommerce. It’s an online transaction process between two businesses.
B2B transactions normally occur between manufacturers & wholesalers, manufacturers & dealers, distributors & retailers, and B2B sellers & buyers via an eCommerce store.
The B2B eCommerce model has revolutionized the sale of goods/services between businesses for the better. Since B2B eCommerce orders are placed through an online store, the buying efficiency & effectiveness has improved a lot for manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.
If you’re still having doubts if B2B eCommerce is worth investing in, it definitely is.
Let’s discuss this more in detail.
Why Invest in B2B eCommerce?
There are several reasons to invest in a B2B eCommerce business.
For starters, B2B eCommerce is the fastest growing sector in the eCommerce industry. This is partly because B2B eCommerce simplifies the online shopping experience for B2B sellers to a great extent.
Instead of placing orders through traditional mediums such as email or phone during pre-determined business hours, B2B buyers can now place their orders online 24/7.
A Forrester report even revealed that 74% of B2B buyers have admitted that buying from a B2B eCommerce site is more convenient compared to placing orders through a sales representative.
Furthermore, by the time a B2B buyer decides to place an order online, they’ve already conducted in-depth research independently. And once they know what they want, 93% of B2B buyers prefer making their purchases online through an online store, as per the same Forrester report.
Besides this, B2B eCommerce can significantly reduce the overhead costs for sellers as they no longer need to employ sales representatives to receive orders. Instead, all you need is a user-friendly eCommerce site that allows your buyers to browse the product catalog, place orders, and track shipments online.
That said, if you decide to embark on your B2B eCommerce journey and are wondering how to succeed at it, check out the below tips.
Best B2B eCommerce Tips to Succeed
Keep the following tips in mind as you build your B2B eCommerce website, market to potential buyers, and engage with your customers.
Make your eCommerce Site Mobile & User-Friendly
If you want to turn potential buyers into paying customers, you must make your eCommerce site easy to access and use. Remember, a negative user experience will immediately turn potential customers away.
So, invest well in the UX of your eCommerce website and experiment regularly with the latest trends to improve user experience.
More importantly, make sure your eCommerce site is mobile-friendly. Research by Google and Boston Consulting Group discovered that mobile visitors drive over 40% of revenue for B2B businesses.
So, test your site on different smartphones and look at how it displays and how easy it is to navigate on them. If you find any issues, solve them as soon as you can to convert as many mobile visitors as possible.
Provide a Comprehensive Product Catalog
B2B buyers generally place large & recurring orders. But before they do, they need to learn everything about a product they’re planning to order.
For this, you might employ customer service representatives to answer any questions potential buyers may have about your products. But it is equally important to provide all information regarding your products on your eCommerce site.
There are numerous ways to do this. For starters, you can create a searchable product database, and include specification sheets and installation guides on product pages.
The point is that making all information easily accessible not only helps buyers determine the right product but also instills trust among them.
Monitor Customers’ Purchasing Behavior for Remarketing
Next, pay close attention to your existing customers’ purchasing behaviors. Doing so will help you to judge the best time for remarketing.
For instance, let’s say that one of your top B2B customers makes repeat order purchases every two months. In this case, you should begin sending email reminders to this customer before one month, providing an entire month to restock.
To encourage them to increase their order value, you can consider incentivizing with an exclusive discount or offering express shipping via air freight or same-day delivery if you can. Such type of remarketing tactics will most certainly increase your overall revenue as well as customer loyalty & satisfaction.
Offer Bulk Ordering & Subscription Options
As we just mentioned earlier, B2B buyers usually order large volumes of products. So it makes sense to provide an option to place bulk orders.
Additionally, you can even consider providing subscription options in which the buyers get an extra discount for subscribing to a particular product or setting up a recurring shipment.