We can all admit that B2B eCommerce is an emerging field and seems to be the future of eCommerce. As a marketman or vendor, you should understand the importance of B2B and how to drive leads successfully. Adopting the B2B eCommerce trends in 2021 will help you improve in this dynamic environment.
Still, B2B eCommerce has its essential elements, and the buyers have higher expectations. Building strong business relationships is the key for all B2B players. Yet, you should prove yourself in front of the buyer.
Are you interested in B2B eCommerce? It is now or never. The B2B sector is expanding with skyrocket temps, and it involves more sellers. The graph below shows how B2B eCommerce sales have been increasing in the US until 2018.
Forecast by Forrester expects that US B2B space will reach $1.8 trillion and account for 17% of all B2B sales in the US by 2023. Yet the figure is impressive, and the trend won’t stop soon.
Going through many factors such as COVID-19 and the development of technology affect the B2B eCommerce. Globe Newswire came up with an exciting forecast in which the whole market of B2B will hit $20.9 trillion by 2027. This multi-trillion field represents an opportunity for all marketers and vendors to empower their business relationships, increase revenue, and cut additional expenses.
COVID-19 had a massive impact on both eCommerce and B2B space and increased the percentage of digitalization. Since then, the interaction and the negotiation became digital.
COVID-driven B2B Ecommerce Trends
With COVID-19 and the lockdowns, many marketers had to find alternative ways to interact with their customers digitally. For this reason, the first two trends are COVID-driven. These trends have been gaining popularity among the sellers because of their vast efficiency.
1-How Valuable are Webinars?
Many marketers had difficulties finding new ways to market themselves in the face of COVID-19. Creative, long-term marketers need webinars to ensure that the sales continue and new leads are generated.
The webinar’s popularity has already grown during the current pandemic, and it is a powerful tool. Think of it as a marketing tool for your company’s marketing strategy. A web seminar can fill the gaps by demonstrating your technology and services while highlighting essential industry practices. Webinars help you integrate your existing pipeline with other marketing tools such as email, social media, and others.
Benefits of Webinars:
- Interact with a larger audience
- Dialogue with interested participants
- Drive new leads
- Establish Industry Authority.
2-Keep Implementing Digital Technologies After COVID-19
With COVID-19, most customers have changed their preferences. They prefer shopping online from the comfort of their home without safety measures. Some marketers adapted fast to this trend by implementing 24/7 customer support, live video chat, and unique FAQ pages.
This represents the automation of the shopping process. With this trend, a customer can order products effortlessly. Another outstanding example is to simplify the ordering process to make things smooth. However, some customers may need more information before placing an order. And the solution is 24/7 customer support.
Customer support is vital for B2B sellers. An unpleasant experience is pushing customers back, especially in B2B. How can they do business with you if you are not there for them? One in three customers says that they will walk away from a brand after just one bad experience. This is a 32% bounce rate!
3-Personalized Shopping Experience
Nowadays, all customers expect more from marketers. As the eCommerce ecosystem evolves, the tactics you implement to your business must follow the leading trends. Personalizing the shopping experience is one of the trends that focus on the customers, whether they are businesses or individuals.
The personalized shopping experience has been around for the past years and will continue to have a massive impact on buyers in the next few years. The process of personalization will continue until marketers achieve the goal to provide a fully-personalized experience for their clients.
As a B2B player, you may wonder how to provide a unique and engaging shopping experience to your business partners. The solution comes in the face of recommendation engines or also known as eCommerce tools.
Adopting recommendation engines and AI can help you predict what your users want from you. Especially in B2B, the clients are repetitively buying on a weekly or monthly basis. With the help of recommendation engines, you can build patterns for each customer and predict their next step.
4-The Rise of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive Web Apps represent websites that offer a mobile app experience without the need to install an application. PWAs speed up mobile pages to ensure a fast and seamless experience across devices. The buyers and sellers prefer these apps because of their three key features:
- Reliability – PWAs load instantly, and network availability is not a factor.
- Speed – PWAs load quicker than the native apps and minimize the bounce rate.
- User engagement – PWAs provide an exclusive customer experience and engage with the buyer like never before.
PWAs do not require hosting in an App Store, which means they are implemented faster and cost-effectively. Besides this, PWAs have more benefits for which you can see in the picture below.
Businesses should no longer rely on sending out papers. B2B companies should shift their focus from sending a physical list with products to their customers. This old-fashioned method has proved inefficient and expensive. The solution is digital custom catalogs!
Whether you sell digital or physical goods, there is content attached to the product, which positively influences purchasing. Each product has its specifications, and the tags make the product findable in the search engine.
Back in the days, tagging products was painful. But today, there are automated deep tagging tools that extract the essential tags from the product’s picture. With a tool like this, you can optimize catalog management, save money, time, and improve overall SEO.
Also, digital catalogs are data mines, and B2B eCommerce depends on data. Having adopted the eCommerce strategies and tools to your B2B business will allow you to track your customers. Investigating how much time a buyer has spent on a product or service can speak of his intention.
6- Self Service Portals
Typically a self-service portal is a website where the user can find supporting materials. For example:
- Starter guides
- User manuals
- Ticketing Service (In case there is missing information)
With such a self-service portal, the expenses for customer support will decrease. But don’t get it wrong. Traditional customer support is always necessary! The self-service portal is just a bonus for the customers and a part of your customer service strategy.
Benefits of Self-Service Portal:
- Lower your customer support costs
- Fast service at any time and place
- Increase customer’s experience
AR has become an irreplaceable part of eCommerce. Lately, there has been a lot of hype around this technology, although it is nothing new. Most marketers took the example of brands like Ikea and Rolex, which introduced us to their virtual try-on apps.
Why do they do it? Because it is innovative and engaging in the same way. Let’s get Ikea, for example. They are one of the biggest brand names for furniture worldwide. With the AR platform, each of their users can open their mobile phone or tablet, open the camera, and virtually input the product into their living room. Just to see how it fits.
In the B2B space, the buyer and the seller could be five hundred kilometers away. They can arrange a meeting and negotiate, but they can’t see and test the product or the service. With AR, the seller can point out its product’s key features while the buyer can see it in a virtual environment.
B2B eCommerce will continue to expand, and the possibilities for brand owners are endless. E-commerce between companies offers customers the opportunity to buy products online and establish long-term business relationships with other businesses.
With the speed of technology development, the trends are becoming digital and more innovative. How to track these trends? Business analytics tools will help you see the bigger picture of your business model.
Also, such eCommerce tools will help you delight your customers, boosting the customer experience. Keeping up with the newest and most efficient trends of 2021 will help you build brand authority and drive leads. As a B2B marketer, you must understand customer behavior and strive for maximal personalization.