While business-to-customer (B2C) and direct-to-customer (D2C) eCommerce models are widely discussed, the business-to-business (B2B) subgroup often remains elusive. However, B2B eCommerce is gaining momentum, with the B2B eCommerce market in North America predicted to reach $1.3 trillion by the end of 2023, according to Statista. In this exclusive B2B eCommerce guide, we will explore the meaning, characteristics, leading types, strategies, and the future of B2B eCommerce.
Table Of Contents:
- B2B eCommerce: Meaning and Characteristics
- The Present Form of B2B eCommerce
- Leading Types of B2B eCommerce Persisting Globally
- 8 Proven Ways to Upgrade B2B eCommerce
- The Future of B2B eCommerce
B2B eCommerce: Meaning and Characteristics:
B2B eCommerce traditionally refers to the exchange of goods and transactions between two businesses. Unlike B2C models, which involve transactions with end customers, B2B focuses on business-to-business trade. For instance, a manufacturer may engage in trade with a wholesaler or retailer. While B2B initially lagged in eCommerce adoption, the paradigm has shifted since the pandemic.
The Present Form of B2B eCommerce:
Today, businesses increasingly embrace eCommerce as their primary sales channel, leaving behind cold-calling, manual transactions, and offline marketing. The influx of tech-savvy millennials in the B2B market has fueled the digital transformation. A study by McKinsey indicates that three-fourths of buyers and sellers prefer digital self-service engagement over face-to-face deals. The demand for seamless interactions on eCommerce platforms is implicit among 87% of B2B clients. Gartner research predicts that 80% of B2B transactions will occur through digital channels by 2025.
Leading Types of B2B eCommerce Persisting Globally:
- Manufacturers: Manufacturers produce goods or product parts, which they sell to wholesalers, suppliers, or retailers. With eCommerce, manufacturers can expand their reach, sell directly to customers, transcend language barriers, and build brand reputation.
- Wholesalers: Wholesalers purchase products in bulk from manufacturers and sell them to other businesses. Establishing a digital presence enables wholesalers to reach a wider audience, streamline inventory, and improve customer experience.
- Distributors: Distributors work closely with manufacturers to promote and sell their products. An online channel allows distributors to provide visibility into order processing, and shipping, and offer personalized experiences through eCommerce marketplaces.
- B2B2C: This model involves B2B businesses interacting directly with B2C companies and end consumers, providing complementary goods and services. Virtual storefronts, online applications, social commerce, and marketplaces are examples of B2B2C sales channels.
- SaaS: Software-as-a-Service companies offer their software products to other businesses on a subscription basis, aiding digital transformation and enhancing customer experience.
3 Proven Ways to Upgrade B2B eCommerce:
To enhance B2B eCommerce services, consider the following strategies:
- Emulate B2C Customer Experience: Provide faster website loading times, multiple payment methods, estimated delivery dates, expedited delivery options, low delivery charges, stock availability, and excellent product descriptions.
- Optimize B2B Order Fulfillment: Find the right logistics partners, select cost-effective shipping methods for bulkier products, optimize fulfillment speed, and consider 3PL fulfillment providers for expertise in large-volume shipping.
- Invest in EDI and ERP Technology and Automation: Leverage technologies like
1) How Does B2B eCommerce Differ from B2C eCommerce?
B2B eCommerce involves transactions between businesses, where one business sells products or services to another business. On the other hand, B2C eCommerce involves transactions between a business and individual consumers, where products or services are directly sold to the end consumer.
2) What are Some Common Misconceptions about B2B eCommerce?
Several misconceptions about B2B eCommerce have been debunked. Some of these include the belief that B2B businesses are reluctant to embrace eCommerce, that they cannot effectively engage in online communication or virtual meetings to close sales, and that they only view digital marketplaces as secondary channels rather than primary avenues for business.