08 June, 2022

7 Reasons why B2B businesses should use ecommerce

As a consumer who shops online, you are aware of the benefits that an ecommerce platform provides, including convenience, discounts, wider variety, and more. As a business owner, leveraging ecommerce can bring a plethora of benefits.

Yet despite the documented success of ecommerce, many business-to-business (B2B) owners still use antiquated methodology to sell their products. They still lean on exchanging business cards and using account managers and sales representatives to make the sale.

The trend of ecommerce for B2B transactions is on the rise, and it has a bright future. A study from Forrester Research shows that online B2B sales will reach $1.8 trillion by 2023.

If you are considering implementing a B2B eCommerce platform for your business, examine the nature of the benefits that your business can avail by going digital!

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What is B2B ecommerce?

The origin of ecommerce can be traced back to the 1970s, and it was predominantly for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. However, ecommerce adoption in B2B is gaining traction.

B2B ecommerce influences the digital platform to perform commercial transactions. While B2B ecommerce focuses on facilitating the transfer of goods and services amongst manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and distributors, B2C emphasizes directly transferring it to the consumers.

Unlike B2C businesses, B2B businesses have not leveraged much of ecommerce since their operations rely upon networking with other companies, building rapport, and then providing their offerings.

The lockdown related to the pandemic forced many businesses to shun their physical stores, acting as a catalyst to progress toward online transactions. The trend of B2B ecommerce is on the rise, and businesses cannot afford to not adapt to this shift.

 

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Benefits of B2B ecommerce

Let’s explore seven benefits that B2B businesses can avail themselves through ecommerce.

#1 Flexible payment

Offering multiple payment options to customers enables them to select one that best suits their budgets. While multiple payment options ease the payment process for the customers, it can be challenging for the B2B vendor to keep tabs on all the payments and orders.

In such a scenario, having a B2B ecommerce platform can be the best option for your business as it more efficiently manages your accounts receivable and reduce the administrative burden. Moreover, payment flexibility can be far more in B2B than in B2C. Apart from conventional card payments, there can be credit lines, installments, deposits, and mixed payments.

Altogether, having an ecommerce platform allows you more flexibility in managing multiple payment options.

#2 Eases cross-border transactions

To increase your profits, you need to either lower costs or increase the number of customers. There is a threshold to the amount of cost reduction, but when it comes to acquiring new customers, the sky’s the limit!

Businesses strive to reach as many customers as possible, but they face severe limitations such as competition, geographical boundaries, and limited working hours. Thanks to technological advancements, increasing customer reach is possible (in fact, it is easier than ever).

With the help of B2B ecommerce, you can enter new markets filled with opportunities without needing to incur the hefty investment of setting up a brick-and-mortar store. ecommerce is a fantastic way to attract new customers, educate through product descriptions, and learn more about your company through an ecommerce website.

By utilizing SEO (search engine optimization), you can organically grow the presence of your B2B business and generate inbound purchases. As a result, the ecommerce platform will empower you to build your brand locally and globally.

With the help of a B2B ecommerce platform, you can not only perform cross-border transactions easily, but it can also solve plenty of international logistical issues. Local law compliance becomes easier, and customs and taxation are streamlined (since the buyers are required to pay purchase-related customs only at the time of receiving the product).

Unlike stores, an ecommerce website does not shut down, and customers can make purchases anytime and anywhere. Having a B2B ecommerce platform can do wonders and handle payments, take care of logistics, and sell while you sleep!

#3 Omnichannel customer preference

Gone are the days when people would hesitate to make an online purchase. Today, many consumers prefer the convenience and ease of shopping online.

There is a great likelihood that your close competitors are already using B2B ecommerce to sell online. If you fail to adapt, you will end up losing to the competition. In such a time, building an ecommerce platform for your B2B business brings you one step closer to making your future-proofing your business.

“Customer is the king” is a popular business saying, referring to how companies need to meet a customer’s preferences to become successful. Today’s customer comes from a new generation.

A survey conducted by Merit showed that 73% of millennials are now involved in making purchase decisions for the organization. As millennials prefer using digital channels for purchasing, having an online presence is necessary. B2B buyers have turned tech-savvy, where the demand for a B2C-like shopping experience exists in B2B ecommerce.

As buyers now prefer to use different channels to shop online, it is essential to use an omnichannel strategy for B2B eCommerce. Your platform should be easy to use on mobile and desktop.’

Omnichannel presence includes unifying data and breaking silos. It integrates different channels like websites, social media, email, chatbots, and even brick and mortar stores. It is all about offering a holistic buying experience to the customer.

Customers today do not frequently shop in a linear fashion. Instead, they move across multiple devices and platforms. This makes it crucial for you to use an omnichannel strategy.

Helpful hint: An example of a company excelling in this approach is Amazon which allows its customers to shop on the website, mobile app, tables, and even voice assistant Alexa.

#4 Cost mitigation

If you have ever shopped online, you know that there is a seemingly unlimited number of promotional offers that can lead to savings and offer the product at a rate cheaper than retail outlets. So how can ecommerce help B2B sellers to mitigate their costs?

For starters, it can help minimize the costs to acquire new customers. With the help of SEO and social media, you can organically find new customers (which is predominantly done in B2C). Even for existing customers, it is relatively easy to provide services and support through chatbots and automation.

If your B2B business relies on intermediaries, having an ecommerce platform would help cut costs by reducing their role. Intermediaries act as a bottleneck, as they eat away a chunk of your profit. It is little wonder, then, why brands are now adapting D2C (direct-to-consumer).

With ecommerce, your buyers can visit your website and make the purchase without ever interacting with an intermediary. However, it may not be feasible for all businesses to eliminate their distributors.

But even in that case, integrating your ecommerce platform with an inventory management system can offer a centralized hub to track your sales funnel, offer you much-needed visibility in your inventory transmission, and help you identify the inefficiencies in the processes that increase your cost.

#5 Retaining recurring buyers

If you are into B2B, your success depends upon fostering better relationships with your clients and offering timely delivery of the products. As you provide better services, your clients are more likely to make you their preferred supplier.

Being a preferred supplier brings the privilege of repeat purchases, resulting in an increase in your income. To further entice sales, you can make it easier for your clients to make a purchase from you. Research by McKinsey shows that just 15% of the B2B buyers wish to speak to the salesperson while reordering the same item.

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Rather than mandating them to contact your salesperson, your business can provide an ongoing subscription service. With the help of a B2B ecommerce platform, you can allow your customers to speedily purchase/repurchase your offering without even contacting a salesperson.

Artificial intelligence can also be used on your ecommerce platform to upsell or cross-sell your other offerings to repeat buyers. An ecommerce website generates useful data that can be used to segment your customers to offer specific discounts, memberships, or create loyalty programs.

 

#6 Faster fulfillment

B2B businesses can leverage the ecommerce platform to speed up their order fulfillment process. As the ecommerce store would be using a cloud-based solution to keep track of the inventory and order processing, it can streamline the fulfillment process.

Integrating your B2B ecommerce platform with an order management system can help you connect with the suppliers and makes it a smooth process to transfer the inventory from your end to the customer.

Considering order management software is also cloud-based, it can minimize the technical errors in the process of order placement and tracking. Another advantage of using a cloud-based system is that your software provider can automatically update it, and you do not need to have a dedicated technical team for it.

Altogether, integrating the order management software with your B2B ecommerce platform will allow you to monitor the received orders and inventory in hand and offer transparency to show the exact delivery time to the B2B users.

Helpful hint: You can even automate the reordering process to ensure that you do not run out of inventory.

#7 Better customer experience

In today’s competitive marketplace, having a good product is simply not enough. You also need to create a good buying experience for your customers. For example, if you had to purchase shoes online, would you prefer to buy them from a speedy website that looks easy to use or from a site that tests your level of patience with long loading times?

A study by Unbounce shows that nearly 70% of the consumers admitted that webpage loading speed affects their buying decision.

Failing to improve the user experience can seriously hinder your business by causing existing customers to switch to your competitors who offer a better web-based experience. Today’s consumer researches products prior to purchasing, and technology has made it easier to look up information instantly.

You should provide all the necessary product-related information in an easy-to find-location on your ecommerce website. Using ecommerce turn your website into a self-service portal, where your customers can easily track their order history, product availability, shipping conditions, and reviews from other fellow buyers.

Helpful hint: It is also forecasted that 72% of the B2B customers expect brands to understand and predict their needs. Even this can be made possible by using AI and machine learning to enhance personalization.

 

In summary

Using third-party marketplaces to sell your products digitally may appear to be a lucrative low-cost option, but it comes at the cost of losing margins to the marketplace, and most importantly, you do not get the data of your customers.

You can gain complete control over scaling your B2B business’ online presence by creating an ecommerce platform. You can use its data to understand your customers’ buying behavior better and adjust your products accordingly.

The eCommerce platform will boost your efficiency by automating several manual processes that are prone to human error. Considering the size of B2Borders, such mistakes can cost you dearly.

Now is the perfect time to upgrade your B2B business through ecommerce. Avoiding this can cost you several potential customers and stunt the growth of your business. If you keep relying on the traditional approaches to selling your products, you will lose your competitive advantage to the new entrants that use modern technology for B2B sales. If you are looking for a modern product to optimize your B2B business, try Cin7!

With Cin7, you can easily create a B2B website to showcase your product catalog. It syncs your sales and inventory in real-time, giving you a bird-eye view of B2B operations. You can also generate invoices and collect payments from customers.

Cin7 has over 700 integrations that will cater to all the requirements for successfully operating your B2B business – be it accounting, shipping, or fulfillment.Cin7 is loved by more than 8000 product sellers.

Book a call with our experts to learn more about using Cin7 for your B2B business.

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