How B2B and ecommerce can go hand in hand
According to a study by the CEFRIO in 2014, only 29% of online purchases came from B2B companies. Although online buying has become standard with B2C companies and consumers, online B2B sales still have a long way to go in Canada. Unfortunately, too many manufacturers believe that their products are too complex to be sold online. But this isn’t true! The web provides manufacturers with a tremendous untapped opportunity.
One of the main advantages for companies that have an online store is real-time inventory management. Integrated systems between companies allow greater visibility into the entire production chain and purchase the items they need on a regular basis based on stock levels. In fact, B2B ecommerce is particularly adapted to just-in-time inventory management. By automating their ordering process, companies can save time, reduce errors and provide value-added services to clients.
Create a portal
Creating an extranet can be a great way for B2B companies to sell online. Clients benefit from a customized experience because they can access their account, which includes the products and pricing they are accustomed to, and carry out their online purchases.
An extranet is indeed an investment; however, it can enable a company to attract more clients thanks to the ease and simplicity of online ordering. In fact, even if you allow your clients to purchase online, this does not mean that they must pay online. You can always remain with your current billing process.
A high-quality experience
Remember: B2B clients are also B2C customers. They are used to browsing websites, such as Amazon, to purchase products or services for their personal use. Buyers are therefore expecting to experience a similar buying process on B2B shopping platforms. Make sure you add pictures of your products, detailed descriptions, lists of features and recommendations. You can even write articles on how clients should use and maintain your products. This type of information is not only relevant for clients but also an important means to incite trust in your products and increase brand awareness.
There are many advantages to businesses making the shift to digital. In the United States, B2B ecommerce is growing at a phenomenal rate. For companies in Canada that export to the US, note that a recent 2016 Forrester Research study showed that 56% of Americans plan to make a B2B purchase online. Ecommerce is therefore a compelling business strategy. And it’s never too late to start!
Columbus, Louis. Predicting the Future of B2B E-Commerce. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/09/12/predicting-the-future-of-b2b-e-commerce/#57b59f691eb9. 12 septembre 2016.
Banque Nationale. Le Canada en retard dans le commerce en ligne B2B. Les affaires. http://www.lesaffaires.com/strategie-d-entreprise/pme/le-canada-en-retard-dans-le-commerce-electronique-b2b/586713. 3 mai 2016.
allace, Tracey. 17 B2B E-Commerce Companies Examples. Big Commerce. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/b2b-ecommerce/.
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