Spending on b2b ecommerce software is accelerating at twice the speed of b2c, with manufacturing and wholesale businesses leading the way in deploying b2b platforms as an integral part of their omnichannel sales strategy. It’s a trend driven by the changing expectations of today’s b2b buyers who increasingly demand an Amazon-style online customer experience. Here are some of the key factors that are impacting the adoption of ecommerce solutions in the b2b arena.
Firstly, there are significant cost savings to be made. A recent survey by Market Dynamics reported that in over 50% of larger companies, handling the paperwork associated with the manual processing of a single sales order takes up an average of more than 51 hours. But with an ecommerce platform, there’s no need to manually enter orders, processing errors are eliminated and inefficiencies are ironed out to deliver cost savings of up to 80%.
Secondly, moving to b2b ecommerce allows you to review and refine your sales strategy. In b2b, the relationships your sales reps build with customers are crucial – even given the increasing importance of technology and automation in the sales process. With the right ecommerce platform in place, reps have more time to work on developing stronger relationships with high value customers – and they’re also able to focus their selling efforts more effectively using data captured about customer buying behaviour. For example, you can use your ecommerce platform to target specific customers with tailored cross-sell and upsell offers.
Moving your existing b2b customers to a ecommerce is not without challenges, but you can encourage adoption and smooth the process in a number of ways, including incentivising your sales team to bring in online sales, offering special deals and discounts only available online, and ensuring that your marketing and sales team goals are aligned.
It’s not just your relationships with existing customers that benefit from switching to ecommerce. You can also strengthen your approach to bringing on board new customers too. With a best-in-class online store, it’s easy to display your product catalogue to prospective customers, and you can encourage them to sample the advantages of a slick, self-service, 24/7 product browsing and buying experience.
Top performing wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers are already running ecommerce software that’s delivering a differentiated buying experience and driving sales growth. They’re realising the benefits of features such as real-time visibility into stock availability, account-specific pricing, payment-on-account, order history, and personalised offers. And they’re seeing how transitioning to an ecommerce platform that integrates with business and accounting systems can have a big impact on the customer experience – for both new and existing customers – improving satisfaction and enhancing loyalty.