The new potential in B2B Ecommerce part 1 - B2B Expansion
A major shift is happening in B2B commerce. Recent analysis by Forbes shows that the B2B market will account for twice the size of B2C by 2020, as ecommerce sites operated by and for manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers respond to a growing demand among buyers for the option to purchase online.
As competition is getting harder, the margins are getting smaller and it forces B2B companies to venture online in order to remain competitive while minimizing expenses. However, unlike today’s consumers who discover new ecommerce features on a daily basis, too many B2B companies still lack the technology and capabilities necessary to succeed in delivering outstanding experiences.
During 2014, 60% of B2B companies have invested in ecommerce to grow market share, but the number of companies capitalizing on its potential is far from what it should be. Complexity across pricing, products, channels, online experiences, and integration to back-end systems remain a constant challenge. B2B ecommerce is complicated, but that does not mean ecommerce is not a worthwhile investment – far from it.
Most common inquiries from B2B customers seeking advice on how to cope with three repeating challenges:
- Optimizing distribution channels
- Reducing cost of sale through efficiency
- Improving sales processes for complex products
Our objective with this blog post is to elaborate on the B2B ecommerce challenges and to demonstrate how great companies have turned them into competitive advantages that can grow and drive revenue.
The B2B ecommerce market and challenges
B2B companies are stepping up their ecommerce technology spending, and the B2B ecommerce market is currently growing at nearly four times the rate than B2C. It is an online-driven, omni-channel transformation that is changing the way the B2B brands connect with, engage and retain their customers. It is driven by a continuous market expansion indicating that the B2B ecommerce market will grow to $6.7 trillion in gross merchandise value by 2020, which will make it two times bigger than the B2C market ($3.2 trillion) within that timeframe.
With each passing year, it is becoming increasingly clear that B2B ecommerce represents significant potential for increased profitability and efficiency. However, complexity across pricing, products, channels, online experiences, and back-end systems remain a constant challenge. It simply shows that B2B ecommerce is complicated, but that does not mean ecommerce is not a worthwhile investment – far from it.
B2B ecommerce still offers an endless amount of opportunities. When you look at the advantages of adopting B2B ecommerce, it quickly becomes clear that opting out would represent a significant missed opportunity.
This blog post will focus on some of the most complex challenges within B2B ecommerce, to find out how successful businesses have managed to turn them into competitive advantages.