Technology has drastically changed the buying behavior of consumers. Window shopping has been replaced with window toggling; shopping carts are increasingly virtual… this we know.
But here’s news worth sharing: B2B digital sales are expected to top $1.9 trillion by 2023, outpacing B2C growth twice over. That’s a staggering growth in the next three years. Wholesalers and manufacturers will outspend online retailers in e-commerce technology procurement by 2020.
This seismic shift to online B2B channels is driven by savvy business buyers now accustomed in the retail world to research, compare, consult and purchase with a click. While not without its challenges, the migration to B2B e-commerce is critical in order to stay relevant and competitive in today’s digital global economy.
This has become even more critical in these challenging days of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
The good news is that this march to e-commerce solutions, if done properly, promises new market generation, increased customer satisfaction, and streamlined operations (read – “increased revenues and reduced costs”). The bad news… failure to do so quickly and wisely holds a promise of losing your competitive edge, market share and revenues.
Still gun-shy about moving your wholesale distribution to online channels?
Presenting 5 compelling ways (there are more) that e-commerce will empower your wholesale business and plunge you into the B2B e-commerce game:
1. Customer Experience (CX) is the new currency.
B2C customer experience is driving business buyers to expect the same efficient, intuitive online experience from its suppliers. An Aberdeen Group survey notes that 36% of B2B e-commerce firms prioritized the need to better respond to customer requests to shop anytime and anywhere seamlessly across multiple channels. 37% reported that a top challenge is to create unique digital shopper experiences that differentiates them from competitors. Devising a customized and memorable user experience across channels increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. You can take that to the bank.
2. Omni-channel B2B customer stickiness keeps getting stickier and stickier.
Wholesale suppliers can expect to gain a competitive edge as spending increases for omni-channel customers. According to Forrester, 60% of B2B companies report that customers who channel shift from offline only to multiple channels purchase more. Top B2B mobile e-commerce solutions will streamline and differentiate omni-channel B2B sales processes for brands and wholesalers. These B2B customers are more likely to stay loyal, buy more product, and buy more frequently than single-channel offline buyers. That’s music to the ears of their wholesale distributors.
3. Go ahead – tap into new markets and grow your business.
As the distribution market continues to move to online channels, current markets become more robust, and new markets come within reach. An integrated B2B e-commerce solution can grow your business. Examples? Reach fresh customer segments that were previously not cost-effective to service. Here’s another: Remove geographic barriers with multi-lingual/multi-currency/native tax and privacy in-app support. And there are many more examples of how your competitors are expanding, as they leverage their e-commerce solutions.
4. Mobile or Bust
E-commerce is going mobile. With most adult online users also smartphone or tablet owners, it’s no surprise that B2B e-commerce is increasingly happening on mobile devices. Apps are custom-crafted to handle sales, promotions, returns, order tracking and more. Using mobile devices, retail clients link directly to their wholesalers and brands, saving them precious time and resources.
5. Make best use of your sales reps to hook retailers onto your e-commerce channels
Convincing your retailers to shift to purchase on their own from an online storefront may be challenging, though the Coranavirus outbreak demonstrates just how important this is.
We are creatures of habit, after all, and opting for self-service may not be attractive… at first. But leveraging your sales reps and their intimate client relationship means they are your ultimate change ambassadors. They can drive awerness to the benefits of online purchasing, provide basic training that apprehensive retailers may need and draw attention to compelling trade promotions you have set just on your digital storefront. Think of it as extreme customer service. And that means reps are the eyes and ears of the marketing management team, able to provide relevant real-time feedback on how well the storefront is being received, what’s working and what isn’t.
Bottom line: If you haven’t already invested in a B2B e-commerce platform, you’re likely lagging behind your competition. According to a recent survey by Accenture, 86% of US-based B2B companies with over $500M in annual revenues have already implemented a B2B e-commerce solution.
So before you lose precious time, money and market share, get on board the e-commerce bullet train.
Find a holistic commerce solution that provides a unified experience across sales channels, to better control and leverage your network of distributors and retail customers. Leaving it on your To-Do list is no longer an option.
Find out more and get a free demo today!