Despite being slow to adopt eCommerce, B2B brands are increasingly looking to digital means to boost sales – a move driven by the success of platforms such as Amazon Business and the changing B2B buyer demographic. In this article, we will explore some key trends in B2B eCommerce, and provide tips on how you can tweak your business model to accommodate these eCommerce trends.
In 2015, Google found that close to half of B2B buyers are millennials, nearly double the number from 2012. More and more millennials are buying from B2B companies, which means that B2B owners need to consider what it is that millennials want.
While millennials certainly still want the personalised handheld experience that a sales rep can provide, they are increasingly demanding the B2B purchasing process be a digitised experience. The millennial customer base wants to shop through streamlined, digital channels, and B2B owners need to take this into account.
To accommodate these buyers’ needs, B2B owners need to ensure the shopping experience is as easy and efficient as possible. This means ensuring your company website is easy to find and navigate, product photos and specs are clear and informative, and the purchasing process is simple and transparent.
According to Google’s report, The Changing Face of B2B Marketing, 42% of B2B customers use mobile devices during their purchasing process. From researching products, comparing prices, to contacting merchants and completing transactions, business buyers depend on mobile devices along the entire purchase path.
So, what does this mean for B2B owners? It means that not only do B2B owners have to ensure they have a website and ideally, multiple channels, but that these digital channels are also mobile friendly. Businesses that want to succeed in eCommerce increasingly need to optimise for these users. They need to create website designs that work for smaller screens. And, more fundamentally, they need to choose eCommerce platforms that are mobile-optimised from the beginning to deliver a comprehensive mobile commerce experience.
While word of mouth and referrals are still particularly important to the B2B segment when acquiring new buyers, B2B companies are increasingly using a variety of acquisition channels.
In fact, social media has become a key way in which B2B companies are gaining attention and ultimately, buyers. The millennial customer base spends an increasing amount of time researching products online, and by having multiple social media business pages B2B companies are easier to access.
Existing B2B companies need to accommodate the customer demand for multichannel shopping, and create social media business pages to market, advertise and sell their products. Social media is also a great way to direct buyers back to your website and increase traffic.
Lastly, we are seeing a real trend in buyers’ demand for personalised shopping experiences. Business clients are increasingly demanding the red carpet treatment. The last thing a wine or beer distributor wants to see on your website is offers for distilled spirits she never purchases.
Ensure that you tailor catalogues, pricing and product selection for each customer purchase and organise them according to their specific needs. By doing so, you are more likely to make the sale and retain their interest.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.