Once upon a time, when in place of mobiles there were telephones and computers were the size of a Television, B2B eCommerce was a literally non-existent term. Even eCommerce itself was in its nascent stages.
Fast forward 5 years and things have twisted a total 360-degree. According to Forrester Research, in nearer future, the B2B eCommerce will be bustling industry of worth $1 Trillion.
This write-up is one such expert opinion. Or perhaps, it is more of a round-up of expert opinions from all over the globe. This is a compilation of thoughts and expert opinions about where the future of B2B eCommerce is headed.
This is the list of B2B eCommerce trends for 2017 that you must know if vocation is that of a wholesaler or retail distributor.
Let’s begin with B2B Ecommerce Trends:
Mobile Ecommerce Is Mainstream
OuterBox Design estimates that during 2015’s holiday shopping season, at least one-third of the online purchases came from mobile shoppers. Also, at least 62% customers are estimated to have made a purchase from their smartphones during the past 6 months.
That makes Mobile eCommerce or m-commerce as it is fondly referred to as a mainstream B2B phenomenon. Right from researching for a product to watching its demo videos, B2B customers are relying on mobile devices than ever before. Add to that functionalities like QR scanner, store locator and similar digital retail technologies, you have an explosive mix that makes mobile eCommerce the future of B2B eCommerce.
Omni Channel Experience Will Become Commonplace
B2B customers want to research a product online, see it in a physical shop and have it delivered at their doorstep, free of cost! Yes, the much awaited Omni channel experience has become commonplace and is steadily growing at multiple rates.
Innovative logistic technologies, drop shipping, decentralized manufacturing hubs all help B2B businesses weave an Omni channel experience that expands far beyond digital screens and shop floors.
To assert this fact, Forrester did a study and found that “Omni channel B2B buyers generate more incremental revenue and cost less to serve than single-channel customers.” a steady supply of information and mobile app accessibility has turned customers into Omni channel shoppers.
There Will Be More Flexibility in Digital Payments
Unlike its B2C counterpart, B2B payment processing is a tough maze to unravel. There are plenty of accounting and transactional complications like purchase order processing, invoicing, credit and debit notes all of which make things difficult for small-scale B2B retailers.
However, things are changing. Solutions like QuickBooks, PayPal integrations, e-checks, Bitcoin, etc. makes it easy for B2B retailers to pay and receive business collections seamlessly. There are also open-source B2B commerce platforms that allow integrating additional options for complete B2B business management under one roof.
A More Authentic In-store Experience Will Come into Play
In-store experience refers to the feel and ambience that a customer gets while shopping or interacting with an eCommerce website. In B2B ecommerce, this translates into the web design, functionalities, UI controls, and so on. The present challenge is to replicate an in-store experience online as seen and felt through a digital screen.
For instance, interactive displays and multi-angle image of products help give a close feel about the product that facilitates decision-making. Similarly, product demo videos also help B2B buyers know if the product they are looking at is worth buying in large quantities. All these experiences will make customers feel as if they are looking and inspecting the product up close in near vicinity in the store itself. Such an in-store experience will drive retail success in years to come.
Customer Journey & UX Is the Key to Retail Success
User experience is the mantra of all tech companies. From smartphone manufacturers to banking companies, no enterprise is spared from the spell of UX. In fact, UX can be rightly called the currency of the web. Retailers who can render an impressive UX online will be able to champion B2B selling.
This is proven with the visible activity of B2B companies who increasingly spend resources into perfecting their UX. Even smaller aspects like security, website design, the process required to complete a transaction are now looked through a microscope. B2B customers are also becoming increasingly vigil while transacting online. They know how to recognize safe website by seeing some signs like green padlock, green bar comes with Comodo EV SSL certificate, from the unsafe ones that still run on outdated HTTP. They also know Businesses can no longer ignore the need to secure their B2B business websites with SSL certificate.
Personalization Will Foster Retail Growth
Today’s customers, including the B2B segment want highly customized offerings. The customization is expected to happen at a granular level that takes into consideration their past preferences and online behaviour. From choice of products to their custom attributes, the customer expects everything to be delivered on a platter in a personalized manner. The only effort that they intend to make is a wishful choice from a narrow-down list of alternatives.
Thanks to Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics and related technologies for this granular level of personalization is possible. These technologies facilitate retargeting and remarketing lost leads with tailor-made offerings that help bring more business volumes.
Like said in the beginning, B2B eCommerce was a relatively non-existing phenomenon some years ago. But, today it is a massive industry that is growing in a steadfast manner.
This industrial growth is significantly contributed with the increase in smartphone penetration, Omni channel distribution facilities, Omni channel selling experiences and so on. Personalization will become more targeted and accurate making B2B selling more profitable.