B2B E-Commerce is fast becoming a ‘must’ for manufacturers and wholesalers. According to recent forecasts, B2B e-commerce will reach $1.1 trillion and account for 12.1% of all B2B sales in the U.S by 2020.
So before we discuss the benefits of e-commerce for B2B, let’s first understand what is B2B E-commerce.
B2B e-commerce is any transaction between one business to another on the Internet through a sales platform that processes the transactions. All sales exchanges are consolidated in the same place (website, service platform, or even through integration to the enterprise resource planning — ERP). Unlike B2C, B2B e-commerce involves longer conversion funnels and larger transactions, which means dealing with a greater cash flow and larger quantities of merchandise. As the Internet community is expanding, B2B sales are expected to experience skyrocketing growth.
Manufacturers have a lot to gain in the process, as do the wholesalers. Let’s see why.
Mobility and easy access
B2B Customers make the purchases themselves and can place an order on any mobile device anywhere, anytime, on their own schedule. The process is not only convenient, but also helps increase sales and revenues for wholesalers and manufacturers when the site or app is just a click away. Buyers can track and manage their own orders, review payment history and plan ahead. Wholesalers are freed from the tiresome task of order-taking and have more time to devote to creating and sustaining strong, lasting relationships with their customers.
A B2C customer experience for the B2B buyer
B2B buyers know what a great B2C buying experience looks like and expect the same from their B2B buying experience. An attractive yet functional e-catalog will sell. Manufacturers can create high-resolution, interactive e-catalogs to display products along with product specs, multiple viewing options for each product, and the ability to zoom in on product features (color, texture, material, etc). Retailers easily find the product they need with different and specific sorting options such as price range, color, size, material and more, so they don’t become lost in the search process.
An e-commerce platform automates the order-taking process, effectively cutting both the workload and human error inherent with manual order processing saving time and money for wholesalers and manufacturers.
Special offers and promotions
Wholesalers have more opportunities to upsell and cross-sell products and offer special promotions when it will be most effective at the time of ordering. Offers can be tailored to individual retailers. B2B customers, enjoy different discounts and special deals while being able to place an order that maximizes their savings.
Gain business insight
An e-commerce vehicle monitors sales performance and enables wholesalers to set goals. Wholesalers get real-time, data-based insight into best and worst selling items, set goals to improve product sales per client, per catalog, or per product line. They’re able to check trending products for each client, better estimate revenues with product sales predictions. and see actual vs. planned sales using detailed reports.
Improved customer experience
While B2B e-commerce is not new it’s now taking on a life of its own. In a B2B world of omni-channel strategy it’s an essential piece of the puzzle. By offering a B2B e-commerce experience that is on a level with B2C, buyers benefit 2-fold, purchasing becomes a breeze and their sales reps have time to devote to more valuable sales activities during calls – discussing new products, merchandising, business insights, getting to know the customer etc.
With the right B2B e-commerce solution, complex and costly deals become quick and easy, creating a hassle-free experience for both sides, so it’s easy to see how B2B e-commerce is the bright future for wholesalers and manufacturers.