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Digitalisation is rapidly changing the face of consumer retailing. It’s a transformation that’s also taking place across the business-to-business sector, as the customer experience expectations of a new kind of buyer and a smarter way of doing business continue to shape the online trading landscape for manufacturers and distributors.

This new breed of buyer includes tech-savvy millennials who’ve grown up with self-service consumer websites and expect the same kind of speed, simplicity and service when they’re buying for their job. They’re not interested in wading through printed product catalogues, placing orders on the phone, or meeting with sales reps. They want a seamless, hassle-free online purchasing process that’s as easy to access on their smart phone as it is from their desktop. As well as increasing sales, business-to-business sellers who can provide such an experience will quickly earn the loyalty of these buyers.

What’s more, according to Forrester, 44% of companies that receive orders online benefit from higher average order values. These companies use eCommerce platforms that are built from the ground up to tackle the complexities of business-to-business transactions. They use platforms that make it easy for buyers to place bulk orders and re-orders, that provide for credit application, account-specific payment terms, discounts structures, and purchase order processing.

Today’s best performing B2B eCommerce companies use technology platforms that tightly integrate with business and accounting systems such as Sage and Pegasus to streamline procedures, accelerate customer interactions and eliminate processing errors. Solutions that don’t integrate aren’t really solutions at all – it’s worth bearing that in mind when you’re selecting your eCommerce platform. By automating services, these eCommerce platforms help to free-up time for sales and customer services teams so they can focus on building stronger customer relationships and the sale of more complex or higher ticket items.

The audience reach, targeting capabilities and cost efficiency benefits of digital marketing support B2B eCommerce perfectly, making it easier to break into new markets and attract new customers. And if you’re a manufacturer, there’s no reason why selling direct should upset your existing distributors. You can provide them with special deals, exclusive offers, and unique products – and if you ensure that you target your own marketing approach to new markets you’ll be able to increase your audience reach without encroaching on your distributors activities.

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