By: Julian Wong|
29 Mar 2023
When it comes to having an online business, having a B2B eCommerce website is a must. However, all the work does not simply stop there. In fact, it all boils down to setting up an effective platform that gets your business out there and contributes to your overall revenue. With that, how do you make sure people find your business and choose you among the rest on the internet? In this article, we will be discussing all the B2B eCommerce trends that will help your website grow and excel.
B2B eCommerce is simply the sales of goods and services between businesses over the internet. This includes any transactions between manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, as well as between small and large businesses.
Based on a study, overseas B2B markets in the media industry alone had a revenue of about 3.6 billion Singapore dollars. With that said, this industry pulled in significantly more revenue in that year than the B2C markets.
While both B2B and B2C eCommerce are transactions that take place online, there are a number of key differences between the two.
B2B eCommerce utilises online platforms to sell products or services to other businesses. B2C eCommerce targets personal consumers. A company that sells office furniture, software, or paper to other businesses would be an example of a B2B company. B2B eCommerce tends to be more complex than B2C eCommerce.
The glaring difference between B2B and B2C is the third letter in the acronym, which refers to the customers. B2B eCommerce sales happen between two businesses, while B2C eCommerce sales are businesses selling to individual consumers.
B2B transactions involve larger order sizes and longer sales cycles than B2C transactions. While B2C eCommerce may be as simple as adding an item to a shopping cart and checking out online, B2B sales are usually more complex and involve negotiations and multiple stakeholders from both businesses.
B2C customers make payments for their orders at the time of purchase. However, B2B eCommerce often involves extended credit terms that take place over a period of time, allowing businesses to manage their cash flow. These terms are often negotiable and this time period may vary for each business.
All in all, B2B and B2C eCommerce are two distinct markets that each target different audiences, which is why their purchase processes and revenue models are different.
The B2B buyer journey refers to the steps taken by a business owner, or buyer, from interest to the purchase of an item. This journey involves more decision makers, a longer sales cycle, or a more complex purchasing process, compared to B2C.
Creating an effective customer journey map is vital for B2B. This is because stages in the B2B buyer journey may not happen in the order below, with the buyer going back and forth as they consider their options. Hence, the business becomes aware of a problem or opportunity in its organisation and begins researching potential solutions.
If you are looking to scale your business, B2B eCommerce trends could do the job. In 2020, the global B2B eCommerce market was valued at US$14.9 trillion, five times that of the B2C market. This growth has been accelerated through the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses began to recognise its importance. Below, we will look at the benefits of B2B eCommerce, and understand why people have began taking their B2B business online.
When businesses sell online, B2B eCommerce businesses can automate many of the processes involved in buying and selling. These include order placement, invoicing and inventory management. Not only can this save businesses time and money, it also reduces the chance of human errors and increases efficiency for the business as a whole. This automation can help businesses scale their operations by automating the processes involved in customer relationship management and sales.
By going online, a B2B eCommerce store allows businesses to reach customers that they are typically unable to through brick-and-mortar stores. As the internet is accessible by most internationally, a B2B eCommerce store can help businesses break the international barrier. By selling worldwide, businesses increase their global presence by reaching out to customers in other territories.
By opening a B2B eCommerce store, a business can receive real-time access to product information, pricing and availability. These allow them to display such information on their site. Doing so allows customers to make more informed choices about their purchases. Additionally, it can help a business be shortlisted by the customer for evaluation.
A B2B eCommerce platform is able to provide valuable data analytics to help businesses understand the strengths and weaknesses of their offerings. As well as leverage data to identify opportunities and make more informed decisions.
A B2B eCommerce platform can elevate the user experience of your customer through a plethora of methods. These include self-service, customised experiences and interactive elements. Hence, increasing customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty are made easier.
A key benefit of a B2B eCommerce platform that can give your business an advantage is access to digital marketing. By running digital marketing campaigns such as Google Ads, you are able to improve your brand’s visibility significantly, at a budget within your control. Being able to run ads online provides an edge over your competitors that have not done so. This is because customers will view your products before theirs.
B2B eCommerce is set to continue its upward trajectory in 2023. These include worldwide digitisation and the increasing number of these platforms and marketplaces. Here are some expected B2B eCommerce trends that can help shape the B2B eCommerce landscape in 2023:
While artificial intelligence (AI) may be a relatively new concept, there are many opportunities for businesses to tap into this technology. With that, AI is one of the expected B2B eCommerce trends that will happen this year.
For example, businesses may use AI-powered chatbots to handle general customer enquiries even working hours. These help improve the shopping experience for customers and save time for employees. This is also especially crucial for worldwide business, to overcome time zone differences when handling customer enquiries.
Businesses may also leverage the machine-learning capabilities of AI to create personalised shopping experiences for customers. Instead of manually surveying customers for their preferences, AI can learn about the customer by assessing their previous purchases and the products they have clicked into. After learning about their preferences, AI can suggest personalised product recommendations for each customer, creating upselling opportunities.
Another one of the B2B eCommerce trends is that B2B marketplaces and platforms have shown to be one of the fastest growing market sectors. Hence, they are expected to continue growing in popularity as they provide businesses with a more efficient and cost-effective way to reach new customers and expand their reach. There is room for more complex markets to grow. These include commodities and logistics sector, allowing any business to begin selling to other businesses online.
Now that you know the benefits and opprotunities of B2B eCommerce, how can you get started on your B2B eCommerce journey? Specifically, how to choose a B2B eCommerce platform that works best for you.
Before you begin selling online, you must choose the right tools, the right platform to build your store on. You will not be able to implement the various B2B eCommerce trends without one. Each of these platforms below have their own strengths, and are catered to different kinds of businesses.
Shopify Plus is one of the most successful content management systems (CMS) out there in the market. Boasting reputable clientele such as Adidas and Tesla, almost one million stores globally are running on Shopify Plus. However, what is it that makes Shopify Plus the platform of choice for many businesses?
Whatever platform you choose, your B2B eCommerce store needs to be able to handle high volumes of orders. Shopify Plus allows businesses to have a 99.9% uptime, with up to 10,000 smooth transactions a minute. By having smooth transactions, customers do not get stuck during the checkout process. This creates less chances for them to drop out and your business to lose a sale.
When you sign up for Shopify Plus, you get a dedicated onboarding specialist to help you familiarise yourself with the CMS. This means that you will not be blindly clicking around on the platform trying to customise your store. Additionally, migrating data over to the platform is made easier. Shopify also offers 24/7 support to ensure your business does not have any hiccups. Lastly, Shopify Plus Academy helps impart knowledge to business owners through online courses.
Earlier, we mentioned that automation and artificial intelligence are one of the key trends that B2B eCommerce stores are hopping onto for 2023. This is because customers are only free after working hours. Without automation, employees in the eCommerce industries would end up working late nights to set up discounts and promotions.
Using Shopify Plus’ Launchpad, hours of work can be completed easily. Along with this, store-wide sales, product launches and inventory restocks can be done ahead of time. This saves precious time for employees, and B2B owners do not have to spend more on their staff’s working hours.
Verz Design discusses these and other Shopify Plus benefits on our blog.
Magento is one of the most popular open-source platforms for B2B businesses with a highly advanced content management system. Developers can easily implement the core files and improve Magento’s functionality by adding plugin modules written by other developers. Let us take a look at how this open-source platform remains a highly functional platform for business owners to choose.
As Magento is an open-source platform, it means that users of the platform can study, modify or distribute its code to anyone. As the code can be edited directly, it opens up a plethora of customisation options for users. Enabling them to customise their website exactly as they wish. Distributing codes freely also helps Magento developers learn from one another and grow their individual site.
Magento’s open source nature provides numerous opportunities for business owners. It is a highly scalable platform that enables B2B eCommerce owners to expand alongside their business. All you need to do is have a good web hosting solution to handle increased web traffic!
Magento provides a better user experience for both customers and the administrator. Creating a seamless checkout experience reduces the chances of customers dropping out, ensuring that you never lose sales.
Magento also offers a better shopping experience by integrating with payment gateways such as Paypal without needing any third-party experience. With this eCommerce payment gateway, customers can easily choose their preferred method of payment, allowing them to complete their purchase.
Head on over to our blog post to learn more on why you should use Magento 2 for your eCommerce website.
Unlike Shopify and Magento, WooCommerce is not a content management system on its own. It’s a plugin that turns part or all of your WordPress site into a WooCommerce eCommerce platform. While this transforms your WordPress site into a WooCommerce site, you retain all functionalities and tools of the WordPress platform. This helps create a holistic platform for your B2B business.
As a blogging platform for many years, WordPress has adapted its platform to Google’s SEO guidelines. This resulted in easy SEO optimisation and therefore a higher ranking on Google’s Search Engine Results Page.
As WooComemrce is built on WordPress, it comes with a complete suite of content editing tools that allow you to upload any kind of content easily. These include white papers, galleries and digital products. This allows you to manage large amounts of content with minimal trouble. Thus, making it perfect for businesses looking to create a corporate site with eCommerce capabilities.
WordPress comes with many free and paid plugins that you can install in mere clicks. With that, it gives your eCommerce platform additional capabilities. There is a plugin for almost everything you need on WooCommerce. From granting your users a better shopping experience to automating the process, your life will be made much easier. With WooCommerce benefits, all you need is a good web hosting solution to ensure that these plugins do not weigh your website down.
While there are a plethora of eCommerce solutions available in the market, we have narrowed it down to the three platforms listed above. This is because these three platforms enjoy the best reputation and functionalities for users, and have been chosen by many businesses all over the world.
As each platform comes with their different strengths, choosing the right platform is dependent on which stage of your eCommerce business you are at currently. In short, the best eCommerce platform for you is one that fulfils your business’ needs and fits into your budget. However, whichever eCommerce solution you choose, an eCommerce solution is only as good as its developer, who can capture your vision and create your ideal B2B eCommerce store.
This is why at Verz Design, our consultants will first work with you to choose the best platform that suits your needs, before our competent project team takes over to construct your dream B2B eCommerce store. Consultation is free, and we will be more than happy to take you through all of the platforms, as well as apply for government grants to help you set up your store more cost efficiently.