When we think of e-commerce, we generally think of consumer products, but one emerging trend in the world of online sales is business-to-business. Now used to purchasing gifts, booking taxis and ordering concert tickets online, buyers have come to expect the same accessibility and convenience for professional purchases too. Here is a look at the evolving B2B e-commerce trends and the reasons B2B companies need to take digital selling platforms seriously.
Increased Expectations Among Millennials
B2B customers are getting younger, with nearly 50% being millennials. This young new generation of buyers are tech-savvy and expect to be able to purchase B2B goods and services with the same ease that they make consumer purchases. In particular, they want:
- 24/7 availability
- Minimum human interaction
- Intuitive self-service interfaces
B2B businesses need to pay attention to the changing customer demographics and look to digital transformation to embrace their expectations.
The Growth of Mobile E-Commerce
According to The Changing Face of B2B Marketing, a recent study by Google, 42% of B2B customers use mobile devices in the purchasing process – and this is growing. The new generation of customers use mobile devices throughout the purchase process; they research products and services online, compare features and prices, contact merchants and complete transactions on mobile. All this is often done on the go, while viewing bank statements and booking a hotel.
A website optimised for mobile is therefore essential for any B2B e-commerce business. Designs that work well on the smaller screen and deliver the same level of usability and functionality as on the larger screen are key.
A Tailored Customer Experience
B2B buyers expect what they see on your website to be tailored to their specific requirements, for example, grouped selections of products they buy for their business, pricing in line with their budget, offers on products they buy regularly etc.
Personalisation can influence sales and this is particularly true for tailored pricing, which can boost online revenue significantly. Did you know that 40% of B2B e-commerce websites use price optimisation algorithms to dynamically tailor their pricing to individual customers, taking into account purchase frequency, volume and order value? It makes sense, of course, to give a high value, frequent purchaser a better deal than a customer who only places an order every now and again. Flexible, tailored pricing is nothing new. Businesses have traditionally always benefited from this level of personalisation in their relationship with suppliers. The algorithm is just a step forward in the digital age, creating a seamless experience for buyers across all channels. Creating a personalised customer experience is essential for B2B companies going forward.
Investment in System Infrastructure
Integrating your e-commerce system with other key business systems (such as your customer relationship management system, accounting system, stock management system) gives B2B companies the following advantages:
- An immediate holistic overview of their business
- Saves time and money that would be otherwise spent duplicating information across the different systems manually
- The data to make key business decisions
- Allows the key functions within the business to cooperate more efficiently
Investment in a solid technological infrastructure is at the heart of a modern e-commerce business. The time-saving element of fully integrated systems and the deeper insight these give you can help save money and boost profit, leaving you wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. OutserveWeb specialises in integrating systems for e-commerce businesses. For help integrating your e-commerce platform with your accounting system and stock management system, contact us here.