Technology is revolutionizing how we consume information and purchase products. There was a time when customers purchased products from brick-and-motor stores and used catalogs with limited research and word of mouth reviews. While those practices are still relevant, customers today shop online using their mobile devices after extensive research about the product, reading reviews and comparing prices online. This change is not limited to retailers and their customer alone but also extends to wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers (businesses in B2B domain) and their customers. Online shopping is the new trend today and businesses are slowly moving from offline to online channels.
- US merchant wholesalers reported total eCommerce sales of $1.6 trillion in 2011, up 10.2% from $1.4 trillion in 2010 (US Census Bureau)
- In another research the adoption of eCommerce by B2B distribution companies in US is expected to be at nearly 25% of total sales. (US Census Bureau)
Wholesalers, Distributors and Manufacturers need B2B eCommerce to remain competitive and successful in today’s digital economy. Lack of a robust eCommerce strategy in place is likely to make some players irrelevant in the coming years as their technology ends up restricting their competitiveness. Not convinced? Here are few reasons why you must have a B2B eCommerce strategy in place.
- Changing Customer Base: Your customers are no longer who they used to be. The new decision makers have grown with technology and make decisions, of all sizes, using their laptops, mobile and tablet devices. They prefer buying online – for both business and personal purchases, and without a comprehensive e-commerce strategy in place you are bound to lose them to your competition.
- Meet Expectations set by the B2C eCommerce Portals: You might expect B2B and B2C eCommerce portals to be very different. But, the same people who have been spoilt with features of B2C eCommerce portals shop on these B2B portals as well. They expect the B2B eCommerce portals to provide the same compelling online customer experience, quality of service, personalization and ease of doing business. And hence it is important for businesses to retool their B2B eCommerce portal which can deliver the B2C like experience.
- Amazon Supply: Your competition is changing; your competition is no longer restricted to businesses like yours (who you earlier considered your competition) but because of technology you now have to deal with new and more organized players with deep pockets, like Amazon. Amazon Supply is one of the leading B2B suppliers in today's competitive eCommerce market. They offer more than 750,000 industrial and business products to their customers. Smaller distributors see a serious threat from Amazon Supply and any delay in adopting eCommerce will make it impossible for them to compete and win market share away from this industry giant.
There are more reasons that we can give you, but the bottom line is: times are changing and you have to change your business strategy soon to meet the new challenges. The generation which grew up with the advent of internet is on the job today. They prefer using online channels which provide them with great user experience. Every moment, more and more people are connecting to the internet to make digital transactions. Hence all successful companies in the future will be those who take eCommerce seriously and invest time and resources into its development. So it’s time to sow the eCommerce seed to enjoy its fruits in the future.
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