The state of B2B e-commerce in Canada and U.S. right now

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In the United States, the B2B e-commerce industry will reach an estimated $1.1 trillion in sales by 2020, up from $780 billion in 2015, says a new report authored by Forrester Research.

B2B E-Commerce Big in North America

The report entitled “U.S. B2B E-Commerce Forecast: 2015 to 2020” notes that e-commerce will account for 12 percent of all B2B sales in the U.S. in the next five years. This is up from 9.3 percent in 2015.

And why not? Forrester discovered that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of B2B customers research about half of their business purchases online, while close to one-third (30 percent) perform roughly half of their business purchases online. The latter will reach 56 percent by 2020.

Ostensibly, petroleum and pharmaceutical are industries leading B2B e-commerce sales.

Just what is driving this immense B2B e-commerce growth in the U.S.? Study authors say that B2B buyers acquiring a greater number of products and services online and enhanced e-commerce technology are some of the main drivers of this growth.

With the global B2B industry expected to be worth $6.7 trillion within the next few years, Canada’s B2B e-commerce niche could grab a considerable percentage from that pot. Since B2B ecommerce sales were stronger than B2C e-commerce sales in the Great White North last year, it’s a logical conclusion.

Essentially, B2B e-commerce sales are transcending borders and becoming a major boom in North America.

Going Mobile: a Tale of B2B E-Commerce Sales

One of the reasons why B2B e-commerce sales are continually growing is because the industry is adapting to technological changes and going mobile.

With mobile outranking desktop when it comes to e-commerce traffic, B2B firms made the wise choice to adopt mobile commerce. As more and more businesses and consumers make purchases on smartphones and tablets, mobile e-commerce has become essential for the survival and growth of B2B companies.

It should also be noted that the office landscape has transformed from just a few years ago. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have infiltrated workplaces across the world. Moreover, enterprises everywhere are adopting mobile apps and then using these apps to make digital purchases. BYOD is a reflection of the B2B industry’s substantial gains.

Another factor that should be entered into the conversation is the fact that B2B stores are testing out online marketplaces. Instead of maintaining their own B2B webstores, they’re experimenting with the numerous Internet marketplaces out there that make it easier for B2B stores to generate sales.

For instance, Amazon’s new wholesale marketplace, Amazon Business, and Alibaba.com, have become the go-to web portals for B2B stores looking to improve their sales sheets.

On the other hand, B2B companies aren’t putting all of their eggs in one basket either.

It’s reported that a growing number of B2B entities are utilizing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions in order to avoid the aforementioned online marketplaces, which come with exorbitant costs.

Utilizing a customer relationship management (CRM) platform improves the ordering process. Installing digital order writing, integration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and automated order synchronization aid B2B companies to both sell their products online and ensure orders are being fulfilled.

Final Thoughts

Many business experts accuse the B2B industry of being unable to keep up with the times. Yes, the Internet has revolutionized the way consumers communicate with businesses, and vice versa, and B2B firms have been slow in adapting to this environment. Today, however, B2B companies are catching onto the waves of the future, and perhaps they will soon create those tidal waves.

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Andrew Moran

Andrew Moran is a full-time professional writer and journalist, who covers the areas of business, economics and personal finance. He has contributed to Benzinga, Capital Liberty News, Career Addict, Money Morning and PFHub.