The B2B marketplace is changing dramatically and rapidly. Over the next few weeks we'll be exploring what it will take to compete and succeed in a digital environment. Let's start by understanding B2B buyer behavior and technology and integration trends and then we'll dive into key e-commerce platform requirements, how to choose the right platform, tips for writing an RFP, and implementation/migration guidelines.
B2B Buyer Behavior Trends
- 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the product or service research process
- 71% of B2B buyers start their research with a generic search (they don't start their research with a branded search)
- On average B2B researchers do 12 searches and are 57% of the way to their final decision before they engage with your website or sales team
- 56% of people who buy from a B2B e-commerce site often use mobile devices to view the site
- Amazon is influencing B2B commerce expectations in a big way - 30% of consumers start their online purchase research with Amazon
- B2B buyers who migrate to an online channel become repeat buyers and spend more
- 81% of non-C level positions have an influence on purchase decisions
- Millennials account for almost 50% of the B2B researcher demographic
- 93% of B2B buyers prefer buying online rather than from a sales person once they've made a purchase decision
There are many parallels between the B2C and B2B e-commerce marketplace, but there are also some notable differences (i.e. B2C could be seen as much simpler, generally speaking prices are fixed, shipping is easy, there’s little to no tax complexity, most consumer products aren’t heavily regulated. Contrasted with B2B, prices are highly variable, fulfillment and distribution is more complicated, plus many concerns about sales tax and regulatory restrictions.)
This presents some unique challenges for B2B companies when it comes to delivering a B2C like customer experience that also addresses the requirements for a successful B2B transaction and ongoing business relationship.
B2B Technology and Integration Trends
- 40% of B2B buyers identified integration with order management systems (OMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and finance/accounting systems as important features for suppliers to have
- Improved site search, product ratings, personalized product/service recommendations and access to a suppliers e-commerce site via a mobile app are at the top of the wish-list for B2B online buyers
- Full integration with shipping partners and a full service payment gateway are key to increasing conversions
- SaaS is lowering barriers to entry and are allowing businesses to implement their own "Direct" wholesale portals with relative ease
- B2B commerce is trending toward a marketplace-influenced world; be prepared to explore market-place opportunities, such as Amazon
How does your business plan to respond to the changes in the B2B digital landscape? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
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