B2B & E-Commerce - they go together like peas and carrots

09 February 2016 > General,

Can you imagine getting the experience of Business to Consumer (B2C) shopping in the Business to Business (B2B) sector? Wouldn’t that make buying and making business decisions so much easier?

Experience is everything today. No matter what the purpose of the purchase is, if the customer has a bad purchasing experience it is likely to affect future buying decisions and opinions of a company. From the first touch point, the experience needs to be smooth, right through to the post-purchase phase. According to Forrester, there is an ever-growing demand for B2C-like B2B e-commerce experiences. Consumers want for a user experience similar to the B2C model is increasing, and while B2C e-commerce gets the most attention, B2B e-commerce is actually the bigger seller with an average conversion rate of 7.3 percent, compared to just 3 percent for B2C e-commerce sites.

Online buying will continue to increase in the B2B market as many software vendors make mobile versions of their products available, to appeal to the increasing number of employees of the purchasing companies who use smartphones and tablets to buy goods anywhere and anytime. There is also the added benefit for B2B companies to substantially decrease sales costs (up to 90 percent) by guiding customers to an online self-service e-commerce environment.

While there are still plenty of differences that exist between B2B and B2C e-commerce sites, like fluctuating customer-specific pricing, volume-based discounts, and of course, there is no such thing as an impulse buy in B2B, however characteristics of B2C e-commerce have most certainly made their way to B2B websites. These include:

  • Personalisation and customisation;
  • Interactive catalogues;
  • Customer reviews;
  • Real-time inventory availability.

B2B buyers now prefer to both research products and buy online, showcasing how much e-commerce and B2B are growing alongside one another and strong growth is predicted to continue over the next five years, especially purchases via mobile devices.

An innovative digital marketing and e-commerce platform allows both B2B and B2C companies to:

  • Sell more at a lower cost
  • Lower customer acquisition cost
  • Increase average sale and add lifetime value
  • Manage and handle transactions for less than traditional ordering systems
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Improve customer loyalty for customers who initially buy offline
  • Increase opportunities to build loyalty through multiple channels
  • Transform sales efficiency
  • Keep the sales force focused on high-value sales
  • Cut the expense of supporting and servicing already-acquired customers

With the many similarities of B2B and B2C, should these even need to be separated any longer? Or should we now call it P2P. After all that is really all it is in today’s market. People selling to people.


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