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Four reasons your B2B sales should go digital right now

By Brian Green

Online shopping is undeniably a core characteristic of today’s economic landscape. Trading online allows retailers to reach a wider audience and implement innovative technologies to refine and strengthen their sales strategy. Yet, some B2B vendors are still reluctant to fully embrace digital commerce.

The reasons for this scepticism towards ecommerce vary depending on the organisation, but they are often linked to an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality: some businesses believe the secret of their success lies in strong customer relationships and word-of-mouth references which help them grow their client portfolio – so why change something that still works?

Another factor behind B2B’s uncertainty towards ecommerce has to do with the perceived complexity of this sales channel: businesses are concerned that their team doesn’t possess the necessary skills to manage a web store and ensure a return on this investment.

However, the numbers don’t lie: 61% of B2B purchases start online, so retailers who are late to start their ecommerce journey will miss out on a large portion of the market.

We examined 5 reasons to go digital in our latest eBook, “Are you Missing Out on eCommerce?” Download the full report here.

The B2B Market is Getting Bigger

Not all B2B businesses are hesitating when it comes to selling online. B2B ecommerce is growing exponentially and its global market is set to reach $6.6 trillion – exceeding B2C sales by next year. If retailers want to not only survive but also thrive in today’s testing climate, they must be prepared to join this trend and match their competitors’ offering.

It’s not just the suppliers driving this transformation. Buyers are also propelling B2B towards a digital future, starting from the pre-purchase research process. Most buyers search the web before making half or more of their buying decisions. Even if the buyer intends to complete the purchase via another channel, the browsing experience must be as smooth and engaging as possible in order to project a positive brand image and, ultimately, lead to a sale. Moreover, B2B buyers across Europe are using sites such as Amazon Business, proving that there is a strong interest, on their part, in conducting business-related purchases online.

Businesses at the forefront of the B2B digital revolution inevitably stand out against their competitors and subsequently tend to achieve greater results.

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B2B Buyers Are Getting Younger

Across all industries and sectors, consumers are getting younger. Millennials are making up a bigger and bigger chunk of the world’s global workforce, they are gaining more buying power, and are changing the retail landscape with their shopping habits. This is every bit as relevant for B2B. Research shows that millennials represent a new wave of B2B decision makers. It’s easy to see why B2B vendors should work on finding ways to appeal to this demographic. But how can they do this?

Millennials are known as ‘digital natives’ for a reason. For them, being able to browse and shop online as consumers is not a privilege or a novelty – it’s a given. Consequently, they will expect nothing less as professional buyers. So, if B2Bs want to have a fair shot at reaching them, they must have an online store.

The Mobile Strategy

The future of ecommerce is mobile. Sales made on mobile devices are growing faster than those made on desktops and this trend is only expected to continue. The reason behind this phenomenon is that consumers want to be able to shop wherever they are. B2B buyers are no different – they are likely to browse vendor websites during meetings, while travelling, or they might want to order materials online while they are at a worksite.

B2B sellers simply can’t afford to miss mobile interactions or to allow the experience to be sub-par. On the contrary, they must make the most of them by ensuring they exceed buyer expectations.

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Buyers Who Shop Online Will Spend More

As mentioned previously, the majority of B2B purchases start on the web. This could be due to the fact that today’s customers are accustomed to conducting research independently online, rather than calling a salesperson and asking questions. This means that B2B vendors who rely on their sales representatives to make an impact during an initial face-to-face client meeting will be at a significant disadvantage. In addition, B2B businesses must strive to deliver an outstanding online experience, and offer content that can make that first brand interaction unforgettable.

More and more businesses are catching on and getting a content marketing strategy in place. However, not all B2B retailers are nailing this yet. Forward-thinking retailers with the right content strategy have a serious competitive edge.

The benefits of displaying top-quality marketing content and rich product descriptions online are clear: if the customer is satisfied with their online journey and is now equipped with all the necessary information, they will quickly proceed to buying, whether this is on the web or in the showroom.

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Want To Learn More?

Retailers looking to excel in B2B must create or improve their online presence in order to attract and satisfy today’s increasingly demanding buyers. Although the implementation of an ecommerce strategy can be a complex and costly process, the benefits will make the effort worthwhile.

To learn more about each of these topics and more, read our full report on the 5 reasons B2B businesses need to go digital right now.

ABOUT MAGENTO

Magento, an Adobe company, is a leading provider of cloud commerce innovation to merchants and brands across B2C and B2B industries and was recently named a leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce. In addition to its flagship digital commerce platform, Magento boasts a strong portfolio of cloud based omnichannel solutions that empower merchants to successfully integrate digital and physical shopping experiences. Magento is the #1 provider to the Internet Retailer Top 1000, the B2B 300, and the Top 500 Guides for Europe and Latin America.

Magento is supported by a vast global network of solution and technology partners, a highly active global developer community, and the largest eCommerce marketplace for extensions, all available for download on the Magento Marketplace.

www.magento.com

Brian Green, Director EMEA, Magento, an Adobe company

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