When it comes to discussing issues that have become vital in the B2B space in recent years, no conversation can pass without reference to the importance of eCommerce.
The ability to buy and sell goods via online channels has become crucial to many organizations operating in this area, with research released last year by the UN Conference on Trade and Development revealing that B2B accounted for 88 percent of the estimated $29 trillion of global eCommerce sales which took place in 2017.
Now, a new study undertaken on the other side of the Atlantic has suggested that the importance of eCommerce does not look likely to decline anytime soon.
A bright future
According to the InternetRetailing.net website, Episerver polled around 100 people involved in B2B marketing decision-making in the UK to look at what the future holds for eCommerce.
It found that 91 percent of those polled felt online sales will have a major impact on their business going forward, with 62 percent predicting that at least half of their revenue may come from online channels by 2025. In addition, the study found that eCommerce is expected to grow across all of the key B2B sectors, while every brand surveyed said it may be a clear revenue source in the next few years.
Such findings might just confirm what some B2B brands may have already predicted, but for those yet to fully commit to going online, the study may prove to be a wake-up call. In fact, the latter may well be now considering how to effectively get online and take advantage of the potential benefits it could offer.
Plenty of inspiration
Fortunately, brands that are in that boat have lots of places they can look to for inspiration – and not just necessarily within the B2B space.
A host of different organizations are now thriving online and newer brands might want to look at aspects of their approaches to assess what may work for them. Amazon, for example, has arguably shown the way when it comes to buying and selling on the web. Its most recent update no longer requires users to leave whatever app they are using to make purchases, which could previously only be made through the Amazon website. The success of the casino industry since its move online may also provide an example for other organizations. Betway is one provider that has diversified its offerings, presenting users with an array of games that range from slots which can be played quickly and on-the-go to immersive live casino experiences, in games requiring more skill and time, such as blackjack. Within each of those wider brackets, there are a number of different derivations: for example, users can play “classic” blackjack as well as Spanish or European variants of the game. This diversity, also found in Amazon’s extensive range of products, is something that allows businesses to attract a wider user base.
Another aspect is to consider is how accessible a provider makes payments for its users. Online B2C brands are offering their customers an increasing number of ways to pay: they not only embrace traditional methods like Visa but also more modern approaches like Neteller and PayPal. Meanwhile, banks have also successfully navigated the switch to online, with people now being able to perform a number of money management tasks via a range of devices and also on software programs such as mobile apps.
So with all this inspiration on offering products or services via online means directly to customers, what could be the most effective model to follow when looking to take this into the B2B world?
Subscribe to that theory
While B2B eCommerce can come in many forms, a recent article by Lori McDonald for Practical eCommerce suggested that one potential approach for merchants to consider could be the model used so effectively by the likes of Spotify or Netflix. In the piece, she argues that subscription-based services could focus on items that customers regularly look to reorder, with the move to such a model not only removing the need for repeated orders but also creating regular business for retailers and saving customers’ time.
She also suggests that, again, Amazon could be one of several key brands to follow when it comes to the issue of subscriptions. With its tiered system of business accounts offering a range of different add-on content, tools, and services that customers would otherwise not be able to access. In a similar vein, while no one wants to be a jack of all trades, developing upon an existing product range with related offerings could diversify your business enough for you to get ahead of the competition.
Plenty of work to do
B2B eCommerce has been thriving for many years, and all of the indications are that it will continue to do so across the short term.
However, this means that brands yet to embrace the online world have plenty of work to do to ensure that they benefit from its continued growth in the years ahead. Making the switch and finding the approach that works for you could have a major impact on the future success of your business.