I’ll tell you why B2B ecommerce is too big and bold to ignore. It’s because a company like Boeing is using ecommerce to retrofit its airplanes for its high profile customers. It’s because legacy stalwarts like BMW and NASA are using ecommerce to buy specially manufactured parts that aren’t available elsewhere in the world. It’s because everyone who’s anyone is realizing that exploiting the digital platform is indispensable if they intend to stay in business in the rapidly changing tech landscape.
Everyone has tasted the ease and indulgence of ecommerce and B2B buyers and sellers can no longer remain unaffected. So let’s take a look at 5 clear signs that B2B ecommerce is here to stay and companies can no longer afford to overlook it.
1. B2B Sales Are Constantly Rising
As per the 2019 UC B2B Ecommerce Market Report, B2B sales transactions in the United States alone grew by 11% to cross the $1 trillion mark in 2018. 75% of B2B manufacturers and wholesalers who don’t yet have an ecommerce strategy, plan to have one in the next two years.
The reality is that B2B companies have seen the kind of benefits ecommerce has to offer, in terms of not only cost efficiency but also saving of time, increased process transparency, better vendor consolidation, and reduced paperwork. Ecommerce allows B2B buyers better research options in terms of comparing costs, weighing features and performing their cost-benefit analysis.
Direct B2B sales made in person have for a long time relied exclusively on trust and reputation. However, with the massive inflow of new entrants in the market, it is too soon to assess the reputations and reliability. Buyers instead prioritize fast shipping, easy payments and other conveniences associated with e-commerce.
2. The Rocketing Growth of Amazon Business Has Left Little to Say
An official blog post from Amazon talking about the success of its B2B initiative Amazon Business said that it took Amazon only one year to reach $1 billion in sales. This means that Amazon Business is growing at a pace faster than its B2C retail venture, which on its own has shattered many records. At merely 4 years old, Amazon Business is already playing on the front foot to hit a $10 billion mark in sales this year. That took Amazon’s core consumer retail unit 7 years.
You can already tell just how big the B2B market is, and it’s showing very positive signs of only growing over the years. The blog post also recounted several other milestones achieved by Amazon business, stating that Amazon Business is now flourishing in 8 countries including France, Italy, and Spain. In fact, Bank of America projects that by 2021, Amazon Business will capture 10% of the US B2B market, reaching $1.4 trillion.
Needless to say that Amazon singlehandedly has redefined B2B ecommerce and nothing could stop it now. Companies that don’t follow suit will simply be obliterated by those that do.
3. Some Of the Biggest, Most Venerable Companies Are Leveraging B2B Ecommerce
Now we pop back to the very beginning of this post. Yes, Boeing, the aviation giant has entered the B2B ecommerce arena with the launch of Modification Marketplace—a bespoke airplane modification service giving customers instant access to everything they need for custom airplane modification. The process completely bypasses cumbersome paperwork and leafing through catalogs and waiting forever. The B2B ecommerce portal of Modification Marketplace allows customers to view the availability of special parts, place orders, and even adjust pricing plans and other paraphernalia. Not only that, Boeing has another subsidiary Aviall, that even uses a mobile app, to sell all aviation associated products such as tires, pares, aerospace chemicals, oils, and machinery.
When a company like Boeing adopts B2B ecommerce on such a scale, it is a sure sign of where this industry is headed. The ease of use, time savings and customer experiences offered by B2B ecommerce portals is outshining legacy B2B systems in a notable way, providing early adopters a distinctive edge over the competition. Another large company Staples, recently acquired Essendant, a top B2B ecommerce distributor of office and industrial supplies, for $996 million. This acquisition is directly aimed at helping Staples expand its reach in the B2B ecommerce segment and appeal to wider masses in newer territories.
4. Giants like NASA and BMW Are Shopping Online
In a refreshing twist, on-demand ecommerce is making a foray in B2B and might we say, nailing it. While the on-demand economy has taken the world by storm in B2C, with everything from food delivery to physics lessons now being booked on apps, on-demand in B2B is quickly gaining ground. A pioneering example is Xometry—an on-demand manufacturing company that will make anything you want it to. Just specify your requirement and design, and you got it. Within just 4 years, Xometry has captured 2,400 manufacturing enterprises and amassed close to 10,000 customers. And these customers aren’t limited to small enterprises and startups. Some of its A-list clients include BMW, GE, US Army, and NASA. In fact, Xometry has now been named BMW’s tier 1 supplier.
“Xometry provides instant pricing, lead times, DFM checks, and—most importantly—the ability to check out online as if you were shopping on Amazon”. (Source)
5. B2B Buyers Are Changing
The success of Amazon Business, Alibaba, Tmall, and other online B2B marketplaces has definitely upturned the world of conventional offline B2B transactions. Digital marketing and easier purchase journeys are fuelling the growth of this revolution.
B2B buyers of the millennial population, we must remember, are also the B2C buyers in their personal lives and aren’t immune to the charms of it. They know that kind of comfort that comes with buying online for their personal requirements. It would be hard to not expect the same level of ease and expedience in their professional lives as well. Today’s B2B buyers need faster research, wider inventories, multitudinous options, and easy checkouts, all of which are offered by B2B marketplace software such as CS-Cart Multi-Vendor.
Still need proof? B2B ecommerce will be the driving force of B2B economy, and a force to reckon with I might add. The crux of the story is that forward-looking businesses that jump on to the ecommerce bandwagon will be the only ones to survive the trailblazing changes in B2B landscape.
|Tim Ferguson is a writer and editor of Right Mix Marketing blog. He enjoys writing about SEO, content marketing, online reputation management, social media, AI and Big Data. When he is not writing and editing for Right Mix Marketing, he spends time on learning more about content marketing and getting better at it. You can follow him on Twitter at @RightMixMktg|