A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Started With B2B Ecommerce in 2020

There is huge opportunity awaiting B2B businesses that are yet to get started with ecommerce, and those with basic ecommerce functionality on their website but a willingness to invest in site improvements. According to Salesforce, 69% of business buyers expect an Amazon-like buying experience. Providing user-friendly B2B ecommerce functionality can therefore help you gain new customers, improve existing customer relationships and increase revenue.

Even though the statistics are so promising, many B2B companies remain apprehensive about moving into ecommerce, as selling a large number of products calls for complicated functionality. However, with the right B2B ecommerce platform, the transition to ecommerce can be seamless.

As ecommerce solutions become popular, many B2B companies are starting to recognize that ecommerce offers a valuable opportunity and is a necessary investment.

If you’re considering such an investment, this guide will help you gain an understanding of what B2B ecommerce is, why it is important and what to look for in a B2B ecommerce platform.

What is B2B Ecommerce?

B2B ecommerce is a term often used to refer to business-to-business transactions completed using electronic commerce platforms, or websites.

Even if you don’t currently have any experience of B2B ecommerce, you may be familiar with the concept of B2C ecommerce, whereby a consumer purchases from a business, online. If you’ve ever shopped online, you have made use of the wonders and convenience of ecommerce.

Why is Improved User Experience Important for B2B?

If you are familiar with both B2B and B2C ecommerce, it is likely you have noticed a difference in user experience between these two types of ecommerce sites.

Successful B2C ecommerce sites tend to offer their users easy navigation, site search, an engaging user experience, advanced functionality and a streamlined checkout process. In contrast, B2B companies often do not offer their website visitors B2B ecommerce functionality, or use outdated B2B ecommerce platforms that cannot offer users the same kind of seamless online experience.

However, more B2B leaders are starting to recognize the importance of offering an exceptional site experience to website users. With so much potential for return on investment, it is only a matter of time before B2B ecommerce becomes commonplace, and the ability to easily purchase online becomes an expectation, just as it is for B2C ecommerce shoppers.

Amazon is already leading the way with Amazon Business. In 2015, Amazon rebranded its B2B ecommerce operations from AmazonSupply to Amazon Business. In just one year, the ecommerce giant benefited from $1 billion in sales, according to Statista.  

With the right B2B ecommerce platform, you too can offer Amazon-like experiences to your B2B customers.

Since B2B companies have a smaller customer base, customer retention is key to success. Bain & Company theorize that profits can be boosted by up to 95%, simply by increasing retention by 5%.

B2B Ecommerce Leaders

As mentioned above, Amazon is one of the leaders in the B2B ecommerce space. However, there is vast opportunity available to others that wish to enter the market. While Amazon dominates the US market, Alibaba is leading the way in China, with around 30% share in the market according to Statista.

Smaller B2B companies are also making great strides in B2B ecommerce and many are managing to take a share in the market.

B2B Ecommerce Statistics

There are plenty of relevant ecommerce statistics showcasing the importance of investing in a modern, intuitive B2B ecommerce platform. Here are just a few more reasons to get started with B2B ecommerce:

  • According to Statista, the global market value of B2B ecommerce is six times that of B2C ecommerce, at $12.2 trillion.
  • On average, B2B buyers are getting younger, and are therefore more likely to seek out ecommerce solutions. According to Google, by 2014 almost half of all B2B buyers were millennials.
  • B2B customers are beginning to expect personalized experiences, just as they might on B2C websites. In 2017, Accenture found that 73% of B2B executives believed that customers had higher expectations in terms of personalization and end-to-end solutions than they did just a few years prior.
  • There is vast potential for growth in the B2B ecommerce space. In January 2019 Forrester estimated a 10% compound annual growth rate for B2B ecommerce over the following five year period. 

What to Look for in a B2B Ecommerce Platform

Despite customer demand for similarities to B2C ecommerce in terms of website usability, there are of course many ways in which B2B ecommerce must differ from B2C ecommerce.

B2B businesses can benefit from developing stronger relationships with customers and offering them the option to customize their order or purchase in bulk. Similarly to B2C, B2B customers also expect rapid order fulfillment and personalization.

Finding the right B2B ecommerce platform for your site can make all this possible, and more. The ROC Commerce platform is built to easily accommodate the intricate needs of B2B businesses:

  • ROC has the ability to integrate with ERP systems, payment processing systems, shipping and tax software and more.
  • ROC can enable you to move gradually from your legacy systems at your own pace.
  • Gather content from all your legacy systems using ROC’s PIM.
  • ROC can offer your customers a personalized user experience.
  • ROC can streamline processes with quick reorders and buy again.

If you have any questions on how upgrading to a B2B ecommerce platform could benefit your business, do not hesitate to get in touch with ROC Commerce. Contact ROC today for a free demo.