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B2B e-commerce - a sector not to be underestimated

By 7 April 2022No Comments
B2B e-commerce - cover

In the articles we have published in the last few weeks we have mainly dealt with commercial strategies related to B2C e-commerce. Today, however, we are talking about a very often underestimated commercial sector:B2B e-commerce

Several studies have highlighted the potential of this rapidly expanding sector, also thanks to the increasing integration between physical and virtual stores. In fact, more and more companies are using this tool to simplify purchases.

 So let's find out what it is, starting with the meaning of B2B e-commerce

B2B / B2C e-commerce - the differences

With the term B2C the sales relations between a company and a consumer are indicated, that is what normally happens inside a shop, be it physical or virtual. B2C is in fact the acronym for Business (company) to Consumer (consumer). B2B instead it is the acronym of Business to Business and identifies all the commercial interactions that take place between two companies. 

As happens in the B2C sector, also in the B2B the demand for e-commerce platforms where a company can make its purchases is growing enormously. However, given the different nature of the final customer to which they are addressed, these two types of e-commerce they differ from each other in several respects. 

Payment method

The payment methods that are usually allowed in a B2C are credit card, paypal, cash on delivery, etc. 

In a B2B e-commerce, on the other hand, payment methods are available such as RiBa, RID, bank transfers 30/60/90 and credit lines. 

Navigation between products

Browsing in a B2C is free and allows visitors to browse the catalog and all the products available, without limitations. 

On the contrary, to be able to navigate within a site B2B e-commerce it is often necessary to register or otherwise request authorization from the seller. 

Furthermore, the products in the catalog may present very detailed descriptions and technical information, intended for an audience of experts. 

Assistance

To request assistance on modern B2C e-commerce, we rely on services such as chat, dedicated forms and e-mails. 

A B2B e-commerce on the other hand, it provides for a personalized methodology according to each customer. 

Place orders

If a B2C only allows one type of (standard) order, a B2B allows you to make 3 different types of orders: fast, reorders and pre-orders. 

Why invest in B2B e-commerce?

Although it is not very well known outside the insiders, the trade B2B, especially the electronic one, affects a large number of companies. 

According to estimates, theB2B e-commerce will reach 16.4% in Italy by 2026, driven, like the retail trade, by the effects of the pandemic. The cancellation of face-to-face events, disruption of supply chains and videoconferencing have actually accelerated the digitization process. 

Analysts predict that many of the future assets B2B they will be managed remotely thanks to digital technology, despite the return of trade fairs and face-to-face sales. A future is therefore looming in which these two modalities will coexist. 

On the one hand, many companies, especially the smaller ones, benefit from face-to-face meetings such as trade fairs and conventions, which are useful for forging new partnerships and agreements. On the other a B2B e-commerce allows better management of transactions and internal logistics of the company and will become a key aspect for any business.

Future trends

The expansion of the market B2B e-commerce it is a direct consequence of the pandemic, but also of other factors. Such as the fact that more and more business executives belong to the millennial generation, that is, those born between the 80s and 90s. These individuals are more accustomed to using modern technology, the internet and digital tools in general to run their businesses. 

For this reason, to ensure the success of your B2B e-commerce in the near future it will be necessary to adopt a series of precautions:

  • create an online platform similar to a B2C;
  • implement B2B from mobile; 
  •  study an omnichannel strategy; 
  • speed up the order fulfillment process. 

Create a B2B similar to a B2C

As mentioned, many companies are run by people with a far greater degree of knowledge of technology than in the past. This also affects the ways in which modern businesses manage purchases and sales. 

Before making a purchase, for example, they carry out a lot of searches on the web, to compare offers, prices and services, just like it happens for large B2C e-commerce like Amazon. With this in mind, create a B2B with characteristics similar to a B2C is certainly a good way to attract the attention of interested companies. 

B2B from mobile

More and more people (not just business executives) use their mobile phone as their main navigation method, even for making purchases. 

To make sure your B2B e-commerce offers a complete and satisfying experience, it becomes essential to make your site accessible even from mobile phones. In this sense, the options are different and the same discourse we set out in previous articles applies. The site must be responsive, but you can also think about taking advantage of the new technology called PWA, Progressive Web App

Omnichannel strategy

Also in this case it is a topic already treated previously (in this article). Implementing an omnichannel strategy is certainly a fundamental aspect to obtain excellent results, but the requirements of a B2B they are more difficult to satisfy than a B2C and not all platforms are suitable for the purpose. 

In general, to be found by potential customers through different channels, B2B sellers can rely on:

  •  a dedicated network such as Linkedin;
  • advertising campaigns on business portals;
  • Google ADS;
  • B2B contact database;

Needless to say, for a perfect omnichannel strategy it would be appropriate to implement all these methods.

Quick order fulfillment

Amazon has accustomed us badly, since the American e-commerce giant is able to guarantee deliveries in very short times and people expect fast delivery from any supplier, even in the B2B field.

Mind you, a B2B e-commerce it will not be able to process orders as quickly as a "retail" e-commerce. However, this does not mean that order fulfillment times and, consequently, delivery times cannot be accelerated. 

The ideal solution in this regard is to implement a CRM, a management program capable of accelerating all internal company processes, including the management of orders and their fulfillment. 

Conclusions

We have thus pitted the strategies and trends that will allow you to create a channel B2B e-commerce successfull. Even for companies with advanced technological knowledge, however, this is not such a predictable process. 

For a targeted strategy suited to the needs of your business, it is important to rely on a team of industry experts, always updated on the latest technologies and market trends such as Digife. Contact us without obligation, we will be happy to answer all your doubts. 

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