B2B eCommerce sales in Asia rank first in the world, followed by only North America. But is the geographical location the key to success in the online market?
We are in 2021, and the pandemic is still out there. What has contributed to the surge in eCommerce is the movement restrictions and lockdowns. Therefore, it isn’t shocking that eCommerce, including B2B eCommerce, skyrocketed in 2020. Everyone resorted to their devices for their shopping needs, be it grocery, apparel or home furnishings. As of 2020, the global Business-to-Business eCommerce market was at USD 7659.4 million. There is considerable upward potential, even after post-pandemic, and experts predict that by 2027 the market size will reach USD 13630 million. Some key players or manufacturers are Amazon, Alibaba, Rakuten, and Walmart.
Difference between B2B and B2C Selling
B2B sales happen when the primary customer is another business entity. That is, products and services are marketed to other companies. Note that B2B sales are of various types as several parties can be involved, from manufacturing businesses and distributors to wholesalers and retailers. Say you purchase computer equipment and office stationery from a computer peripherals manufacturer. You are a B2B client as you are not a retailer but rather a corporate or commercial customer. Another instance is where an automobile maker purchases a tire from a tire manufacturer. This is where one company is selling components that another company needs for manufacturing the products.
B2C selling, on the other hand, refers to selling directly to consumers. In these cases, the target audience is individuals who purchase products or services for personal use.
Factors that distinguish distributors and intermediaries from consumers
B2Cs sales aim to satisfy an immediate need wherein the purchase is based on emotions and sometimes even impulses. Purchase decisions are influenced through word-of-mouth, habits and advertising. B2B selling comprises longer sales cycles, and companies rendering products and services need to woo the key decision-makers. The parties usually go through multiple meetings and demonstrations of pitches before closing deals.
Logic and Emotions
B2C, or individual, consumers are targeted through storytelling that instils an emotional connection. As for B2B clients, they get convinced through logic. The sales personnel have to inform the client about the features of the product or service.
The price points for B2Cs are lower than B2Bs. The reason is that the payment is made once during the purchase. On the other hand, the exchange of funds for B2B products and services is recurring.
B2C selling involves one-off transactions. There is no prior ongoing relationship between consumers and the manufacturing businesses or distributors. B2B selling, however, is the other way around. B2B sales require the sales professionals to build trust and maintain a rapport with the clients.
B2B eCommerce – Few Myths & Facts
Build a multi-country selling website, and customers shall follow suit
Having a website is not sufficient for starting your online eCommerce venture. The word needs to spread, and your business needs promotion using available channels, including social media, emails, sales personnel, support services and contacts. Support services and channels can do you one better! They enable prospects – manufacturers and distributors – to get in touch in real-time.
Sales representatives are not relevant for online B2B ventures
The advent of eCommerce has transformed the industry, especially for sales representatives. The transformation has enabled the personnel to graduate beyond their traditional roles and foray into additional service renderings. Sales representatives today can be seen operating in the capacity of consultants and advisors for online buyers. They are precious for promoting your online stores. They make for excellent promotional tools for your wholesale eCommerce business by acting as brand ambassadors. A designated B2B sales team allows your company to offer valuable business advice, new products, cross- and up-selling, among others.
B2B eCommerce sites cannot handle complex pricing
B2B pricing tends to be more complex than that of B2C. The reason is that B2B pricing also accounts for pricing fluctuations, customer-specific price points, bulk and custom orders. Despite these complexities, pricing schedules can be managed using profound B2B platforms and tools. For example, pre-negotiated price points can have restricted viewing and access by hiding them from the general public. This is where customer logins come to the rescue. If a customer does need a quote, the quote engine shall do its course and generate the same at any time. Even aspects such as future reorder, customized reorders, and information about freight and volume shipping are manageable.
A B2B Online Store is not required
Yet another myth that needs to be smashed is this one. Everyone is online today, including wholesalers, retailers and resellers. Allowing these parties to transact online is good business. Also, online platforms enable you to track valuable insights such as purchasing habits of your clients. Several eCommerce websites today cater to both B2B and B2C selling. And there is no need for separate websites. You can set up personalized browsing functions for B2B clients such as manufacturers and distributors through customer login groups. These work well for your high-ticket customers too!
B2B eCommerce sites need not be mobile-friendly
B2B clients, too, engage in product research. They spend an extensive amount of time reading online reviews and comparing features and prices. With that said, having a mobile-friendly website for your B2B clients is paramount. If not, you will stand to lose business.
Strategies to launch a multi-country selling B2B eCommerce Business
1. Go local to sell globally
Although the internet has made the world virtually smaller and interconnected, people are culturally diverse and desire unique experiences. With that said, pandering to international audiences, one needs to adopt their local culture into product and service lines.
2. Scour through eCommerce platforms before getting to the final pick
There are several platforms you can consider when starting your B2B eCommerce business. Whether you opt for an online marketplace or make your company website, the interface and the web design should encapsulate the relevant features. Considering your business has multiple clients in multiple domains with unique requirements, creating a custom setup is absolutely imperative.
3. Using different types of content to promote eCommerce
Content marketing is an independent sector today. It involves penning down blogs and articles, making videos and audio, drawing out eye-catching graphics and others. With that said, an inclusive content strategy helps to create the most impact.
3. Leveraging the advent of omnichannel selling
Omnichannel selling focuses on offering a seamless sales experience, along with the most convenient using varied channels. These channels include display advertising (PPC), search engines (SEO), social media, referrals, emails and mobile marketing.
4. Focus on Personalization
Businesses invariably tend to associate personalization as a requirement only for B2Cs. Well, a B2B client is way pickier about their prospects, considering how their operations depend on them. Therefore, a little personalization goes a long way in making your eCommerce site intuitive and conversion-friendly. Personalization further helps offer seamless customer journeys as well as simple scheduling of price points.
Wrapping it up
The pandemic has condensed a decade of digital evolution into a few months. While companies are moving swiftly to engage with diverse audiences and customers, most brands are facing difficulties in adapting to the new model. Nevertheless, around 90 per cent of B2B leaders say that the digital is here to stay.
Now is the time to advance your B2B selling model. The growth trajectory depends upon how soon you can improve the overall customer experience, drive reach, and enhance brand recall. This can only be achieved if your goals rest on optimizing every touchpoint across the digital journey.
To help you with it, we at Adapty harmonise the physical and digital capabilities of different brands by placing the customer at the heart of a holistic omnichannel strategy. Backed by feature-rich platforms, the idea is to set up a cohesive and naturally progressive experience that helps in creating on-demand opportunities.
Speak to one of our Digital Commerce experts today to learn how you can expand your brand across the globe.