Technology has become a very important part of our lives. At the same time, the e-commerce segment is growing, simultaneously with the integration of technology in daily activities. One challenge facing distributors and manufacturers is to transform a classic B2B business into a B2B e-commerce business. This is necessary if we want to expand the client portfolio so that the business remains competitive.
Statistics show that 89% of B2B people use the internet when researching the market. This means that it is necessary to move to the online domain in order for the business to perform and rise to the current expectations of customers.
The B2C shopping experience has changed expectations for B2B as well. Customers have become accustomed to the user-friendly purchasing process accompanied by an attractive site design and relevant product recommendations. This has led to a shift in the way we place orders in the B2B environment, especially for those who work with products such as distributors and manufacturers. If for a long time this process took place through a sales agent, now over 70% of B2B customers prefer to order from a website.
How does a B2B e-commerce business work?
In B2B e-commerce, transactions take place online. The products and services remain the same as in the case of a traditional B2B, but the sales process takes place online. The impact is the same as when B2C transactions go online: their number and value increase. Usually, the volume of B2B sales is higher than in the case of B2C, but this does not mean that the maximum growth limit has been reached.
It is a well-known fact that in the B2B field the relationship between seller and customer is closer, because the customer base is smaller, and the sales agent, one of the main pawns of this process, makes considerable efforts to improve this relationship. Also, during the sales process, the prices are negotiated according to the ordered quantities, which does not happen in B2C.
This makes B2B users have different needs when using an e-commerce platform. An example of this is the use of ERP systems and the need to integrate them into a platform.
What are the benefits of using a B2B e-commerce platform?
We have selected 5 of the most important benefits for distributors and manufacturers:
1. Increased efficiency
The integration of the ERP system with an e-commerce platform helps to increase the efficiency of the business. Customers can order online, and sales agents can focus on developing relationships with existing customers and finding new customers. In addition, by using this electronic system, human data entry errors are greatly reduced, which improves the entire sales process and leads to increased efficiency, productivity, and efficiency.
2. Better management of suppliers and customers
Most distributors use an ERP system to centralize the data collected. A B2B e-commerce platform integrates this system and creates for your customers a customized portal where they can see, in addition to information from ERP, data about suppliers, orders, customers, personal details, reports, and other important elements in managing a business.
3. More sales
A B2B platform brings more customers. This happens in two ways:
- Directly through the platform. This allows accessing new customers through better visibility of the company and eliminating geographical barriers. Also, the value of orders will increase thanks to the product recommendation engines, which allow customers to discover new products in the offer;
- Through sales agents. Although at first glance it would seem that the role of the sales agent is diminished, the reality is different. Thanks to the fact that the platform takes orders directly from the customer, the sales agent has more time to expand the customer portfolio and improve relationships with existing customers. A study conducted among B2B companies shows that the platform, in addition to bringing a significant increase in business and number of customers, also led to an increase in the number of agents in the sales team.
4. Cost reduction
It may seem difficult to increase your income while reducing your costs, but this is as real as it gets and is a benefit of B2B e-commerce.
Modern technology allows you to carry out online almost all activities related to business management: order processing, providing information for customers, customer service. By automating and streamlining these processes, the company significantly reduces the costs associated with manual processing of these operations.
5. Differentiation from competitors
Even though B2B e-commerce is growing, at the moment it is still at a low level compared to the market potential. If you choose to take this step for your business now, you have the chance to be one step ahead of your competitors who have not yet understood the advantages that online presence brings. Currently, not all companies can recognize the benefits of investing in e-commerce. Also, some choose not to take this step as they consider themselves overwhelmed by the demands of online shoppers.
Whether you are ready or not, e-commerce is becoming an important part of the B2B industry, especially for manufacturers and distributors. Take advantage of this opportunity, as time goes on, things will change.
For a company, the implementation of a B2B e-commerce platform is a step in the direction of modernization and alignment with modern standards imposed by the rapid evolution of society and consumer habits.
We are here for you to help you choose a modern, fast platform, which saves you from worrying about order processing, and which can be customized so as to perfectly meet the specific needs of your business.
Eva B2B is our solution and offers the necessary tools for you to benefit from all the advantages mentioned above.