B2B eCommerce trends brands must focus on to flourish in 2021 and beyond
B2B eCommerce is changing rapidly in 2021. Over the last few years, and especially in the last year, the industry has seen exceptional growth. As we look into the future, several B2B eCommerce trends of 2021 focus on sustained growth in global B2B sales. Companies are willing to adopt the latest technologies, offer personalized user experiences to clients and enhance their supply chain efficiencies.
How B2B enterprises can leverage eCommerce for growth
B2B eCommerce directly contributes to the growth of businesses. Orders processed digitally enhances buying efficiency for manufacturers, wholesalers, sellers, and distributors. Some advantages businesses get by using B2B eCommerce platforms are:
1. Reach new customers
Once a business goes online, it has a very powerful reach and a great way to attract new customers and potential buyers. A B2B eCommerce website can be leveraged to attract new customers, invite repeat purchases, match the customer expectations and increase the business reach.
2. Better Management of Suppliers and Distributors
Going digital means better utilization of business management software and effective management of suppliers and customers. You can capture real-time data about what and how your customers shop online. You can leverage this data to create personalized shopping experiences for customers creating a win-win business model.
3. Retain existing customers
Through eCommerce, B2B businesses can easily retain existing customers. Through the implementation of up-selling and cross-selling strategies, you sell more to your existing customers, help find them exactly what they are looking for and offer them a personalized experience.
4. Enhanced Data Analytics
ECommerce in the B2B spectrum offers a perfect opportunity for a business to adopt a comprehensive data analytics strategy that can drive better business decisions. ECommerce facilitates in-depth analysis of sales efficacy and generation of elaborate reports to study the progress of marketing strategies. Analytics can help organizations find what is working and what is not working in boosting customer engagement.
B2B ECommerce Trends predicted for 2021
Let us also explore the biggest B2B eCommerce trends predicted by experts for 2021 and beyond
1. Explosion of B2B marketplaces
The role of online marketplaces has become quite significant in B2B commerce in the last one year. According to research conducted by WBR Insights, over 87% of buyers across all ages are buying products on online marketplaces. Amazon established itself as a forerunner in online shopping for many years and now other B2B marketplaces are following suit. B2B marketplaces help shoppers save time on research and comparison while shopping safely. Amazon Business is expected to reach $52 billion in sales by 2023 according to RBC Capital Markets Some other examples of thriving B2B marketplaces are Alibaba.com, Global Sources, IndiaMart, ThomsNet, eWorldtrade and Wholesale Central.
2. Progressive Web Apps
B2B eCommerce brands are expected to invest heavily in progressive web applications (PWAs) to communicate external data to their mobile platforms. Businesses can use PWAs in many ways like supporting their remote sales teams or giving their customers instant access to resources online. They can integrate with smartphones and the camera can scan barcodes on products to provide more information or allow customers to reorder.
3. Demand for Self-Service
Research by OroCommerce states that over 85% of consumers prefer using self-service tools to buy, reorder, and check statuses without the support of sales representatives. B2B buyers are already performing 60% of the purchase process before engaging with a live representative and this will only increase by 2021. The B2B customer will look for intuitive commands and responsive interfaces while ordering or buying online. They will expect to track/view past orders, without contacting the customer service representative.
4. Increased Cloud Adoption
The spread of cloud-based eCommerce is growing unabated. Cloud eCommerce services enable businesses to explore new technologies, leverage data analytics, and security systems to offer engaging user experiences. As per the prediction of IDC’s FutureScape report of 2021, over 80% of companies will shift to cloud-based applications and infrastructure. Brands will significantly begin relying on cloud technology to future-proof and streamline their processes through 2021 and beyond.
5. Increased Personalization
As 2021 marches ahead, B2B eCommerce buyers will be as comfortable in interacting with online interfaces as their B2B counterparts. They will expect well-designed websites offering personalized workflows, checkouts and recommendations. They will want customer journeys to be tailored to their specific needs and requirements. In fact, according to a report published by Smarter HQ, around 69% of B2B eCommerce buyers are willing to pay more for personalized online experiences.
B2B eCommerce trends beyond 2021
1. AI and Chatbots
Research by Gartner predicts that 75% of companies will implement AI by 2024. AI along with machine learning algorithms promise to offer immense value to most businesses. AI algorithms can offer targeted buyers customized recommendations. On the other hand, B2B digital brands that have installed chatbots on their websites have seen an extraordinary increase in engagement rates that translates to sales.
2. Focus on resourceful order fulfilment process
B2B commerce companies will focus more on offering more sustainable options to the online store customers after 2021. They are adopting techniques to optimize their delivery cycle and other business processes and keeping a check and reporting on emissions and environmental impact. For instance, some online stores choose narrow delivery time slots rather than broad time slots to reduce CO2 impact.
Weigh your options
Not every B2B eCommerce trend may be worth adopting. Some may add huge value to your business while some may not be relevant to your audience or too expensive to implement. The smart move for any company will be to keep abreast with the latest B2B trends, evaluate them and make the right decision for your business at the right time. If you are a B2B brand looking to take your eCommerce Strategy to the next level, reach out to PennyWise today.