B2B companies have historically approached the e-commerce market with skepticism. The main reason for this being the complex nature of B2B products when compared to their B2C counterparts. B2B ecommerce trends and technology have evolved at a rapid rate over the last few years to support any product or solution, no matter the complexity. The development and availability of mature technology coupled with the growth of B2B customers’ expectations have forced B2B companies out of their comfort zone and into a realm of automation, cost reductions, and omnichannel sales. By 2021, the ecommerce business in the U.S. is expected to hit $1.2 trillion; hence, industry experts feel that it’s vital for business to business ecommerce companies to accelerate their moves toward digital transformation. Here are 5 business to business ecommerce trends that you need to know about:
Consumer-like buying experience
B2B buyers are also consumers and increasingly expect a consumer-like e-commerce buying experience, even for more complex products, digital goods, and subscription-based products. All the vital information including pricing, specifications, availability—that buyers need to make highly informed choices and decisions—are at their fingertips. They want to do most of the research on their own online and are demanding to be able to place orders or configure an order and request a quote—from any device: PC, tablet, or smartphone.
B2B customers expect products and solutions to be configured to meet precise business needs, contract pricing presented on the e-commerce experience, automated presentation of the right components and replacement parts based on previously purchased solutions. Companies are starting to use machine learning capabilities in the cloud to deliver smart B2B personalization, turning data into insights that drive the best outcomes, even for very complex situations.
Seamless online-offline integration
Purchasing in B2B ecommerce involves multiple stakeholders and sales reps who are integral in ensuring that every decision maker is on board with the purchasing decision. All the interactions, inquiries, and purchases made on the online platform need to be transferred seamlessly to the sales team, so they can continue the conversations, address objections, and offer the valuable human connection that builds loyalty and relationship.
Real-time pricing and inventory update
Imagine a situation where a customer goes through all the hoops to make a purchase, but a few days after placing the order gets informed that the product is unavailable. There is nothing that leads to more customer dissatisfaction than a situation like this. To avoid such unnecessary situations, merchants are using dynamic pricing and real-time inventory update on their ecommerce platforms to enhance customer experience.
In the increasingly competitive business to business marketplace, inbound marketing and content marketing have become highly important for attracting, converting and retaining customers. Today, video content is gaining more prominence as a B2B content marketing strategy among customers.