For years, the focus of e-Commerce has been on the general consumer, but recent trends have shifted that focus to the shopping experience of business-to-business (B2B) customers. In fact, B2B e-Commerce is a bigger revenue generator, both globally and in the United States, than business-to-consumer (B2C) sites.
Knowing that by 2020, the B2B market will double that of B2C in trillions of dollars— $6.7 trillion vs. $3.2 trillion, to be exact – we at Humboldt Merchant Services offer a few noteworthy observations of 2016 emerging trends in B2B communications to keep you ahead of the curve.
B2B is going mobile. People who do the purchasing for businesses are also the people who visit B2C mobile sites. They are quickly expecting a similar user experience with handling business ordering. A recent report states 52% of B2B buyers are doing research on their smartphones, meaning your mobile site’s design and operation needs to be just as good — if not better— than your full e-Commerce site. When going over your strategy for your e-Commerce communications, be sure to design your website to work on all platforms and devices — including tablets.
Learn from the C. There may always be differences between B2B and B2C e-commerce sites, but there are some of things that many B2B e-commerce sites have incorporated from their consumer-facing sibling. They include:
- Personalization and customization.
- Interactive catalogs.
- Customer reviews.
- Real-time inventory availability.
Numbers don’t lie. The switch to a more focused e-commerce approach can be a profitable one. According to Forrester Research, companies can reduce their sales costs by up to 90% by funneling customers to a self-serve e-commerce solution. Grainger, North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, and a leader in the B2B space reports that 94% of its revenue growth in 2014 was from online sales.
Be concise. Be detailed. Be both. B2B shoppers are busy people and don’t have time for superfluous words, so be as detailed as possible without getting wordy. Provide specifics likes specs, merchandising guidelines and the best photography available to give your B2B customer a reason to buy from you and not your competitor.
There are three prongs to this attack. Driving customers to your e-commerce experience is not the death knell to your sales force. Far from it. B2B companies need to expertly combine technology, design and sales expertise into the best B2B experience possible. Salespeople bring a personalized level of interaction that is unmatched, and when combined with the streamlined e-Commerce approach listed above, will set any company apart from their competition.
For information on how Humboldt can help you get the most out of your e-Commerce site, call our industry knowledgeable representatives at 877.387.5642.