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Is E-Commerce Right for B2B?
May 5, 2023
When done well, online shopping offers quick and painless transactions, with limited human interaction (itself a positive or a negative depending on the individual).
Over the past decade we’ve seen the high street gradually lose footfall to online buying platforms. According to the 2019 report by Womble Bond Dickenson over 53% of all purchases will be made online by 2029.
B2B sellers are following hot on the heels of this trend. We are seeing a massive shift towards e-commerce solutions for business-to-business organizations, accelerated in no small way by the COVID 19 pandemic which saw businesses embracing digital like never before.
B2B E-Commerce Stats from 2022
In their 2022 survey of dozens of US B2B e-commerce leaders, e-commerce software provider, OroCommerce, found 64% of respondents prefer digital B2B channels over a traditional shopping experience, whilst 76% of respondents signal that B2B e-commerce businesses will increase technology investments next year
McKinsey & Company found that nearly two-thirds of B2B companies are now set up for complete online transactions, and that e-commerce and in-person sales have already tied as top revenue-producing channels, as ecommerce’s rapid rise has overtaken other channels such as phone sales.
Benefits of e-commerce in a B2B setting
With businesses focused on gaining a greater understanding of the customer experience, it is clear that alternative buying options have a lasting place in the future of B2B sales.
Online shops provide businesses with the opportunity to strengthen relationships with their existing customers, by offering them a choice in how they interact with the company. Some buyers may value a discussion about the perfect product for their needs, while others know exactly what they want, and will welcome the convenience of completing a quick online transaction.
For those with a global customer base, 24 hour purchasing opportunities, mean differing time zones need not slow down the procurement process, while self-service options assist these customers to find all the answers they need online.
Importantly, robust integration with other technologies such as CRM and ERP systems, will help businesses to better understand and anticipate their customers’ needs, and to maintain that personal relationship through relevant and timely communications. Getting the integration running smoothly is likely the biggest challenge businesses will encounter in their e-commerce journey, but get it right and they can expect happier customers, improved retention and greater revenue.
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