The state of B2B e-commerce in 2019 (so far)

B2B e-commerce 2019
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B2B e-commerce is changing at a rapid pace. A report from Forrester suggests that the US B2B e-commerce industry will hit $1.8 trillion by 2023. Besides, there would be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% for B2B eCommerce over the next five years.

Another report from Frost and Sullivan presents a different scenario. It suggests that the Global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce sales will reach over $6.6 trillion by 2020 and it will surpass the business-to-consumer (B2C) sales valued at $3.2 trillion by 2020.

Based on the above two reports, we can safely predict the current trend for B2B eCommerce in 2019. It’s surging ahead; meaning new businesses will enter the B2B market, making room for rigorous competition, buyer behaviour will change forcing companies to adopt new technologies that will improve the existing B2B customer experience.

Payment Trends From B2B Ecommerce Space

According to a research by Deloitte, B2B E-commerce payment industry is evolving at a faster rate and is expected to reach a valuation of $2.77 trillion in the US by 2020.

As per a survey conducted by BigCommerce on more than 500 international merchants, most of the B2B orders are placed through websites, emails and mobile phones. Website tops the list with 80% followed by email and mobile phones which stand at 77% and 72% respectively.

The same report from BigCommerce says with all the payment options available, credit cards top the list with 94% followed by terms, checks and purchase orders with 53%, 51% and 50% respectively. What buyers want is a fast and secure form of payment which is why mobile wallets are rising rapidly. 26% of the payments are done through mobile wallets such as Amazon pay.

CPQ Technology Will Embrace B2B Voice Commerce

Voice technology is still emerging in the world. While voice-controlled devices such as Alexa or Google home perform very limited tasks, B2B eCommerce market needs a much more powerful product configuration to understand and deliver the products according to user requirements. This can be achieved with the help of CPQ (configure, price, quote) technology. It helps businesses simplify their selling process and improve customers buying experience by digitally transforming product configuration using software that integrates other enterprise platforms.

You can use CPQ software like Varstreet to handle the most complex quoting requirements easily. CPQ software makes it easier for dealers to get real-time price and quote of any product with the given specifications. CPQ technology if integrated with voice technology, will change the way we look at voice technology now.   

Chatbots, AR and VR Will Continue To Grow

Chatbots make the whole buying process very easy and that too without any involvement of humans. Chatbots can help buyers find exactly what they want and hence saves their time. It acts as a salesperson for the store and it even stores the buyer behaviour and acts accordingly when the buyer visits the online store again and it can even help in re-ordering the products just through a message. Chatbots can up-sell and cross-sell products. It also reduces the waiting time which improves the user experience. It also works as customer support which is available 24×7 and thus saving a lot of money. Chatbots will continue to grow as now the seller doesn’t need to hire employees around the clock for customer service.

Augmented Reality(AR) shows how the product will look like in the real world. It is growing in the B2B market because it helps seller show how the product will fit in the real world. It can also be used to display images that instruct users how to configure or repair a product while Virtual Reality(VR) can be used to demonstrate how to configure or troubleshoot a product without the product actually being present. AR and VR can also be used for marketing.

How To Eliminate The Risks?

Every industry has risks and business owners need to find ways to minimize risks in order to succeed. The biggest risk is, in fact, operating a sales channel that is costly and has fewer sales. This is where online marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba, Mercato etc. comes in handy. You can list your products on these marketplaces for a small fee and start generating sales.

Another way to minimize the risks is by using the working methodology such as the Kanban method which helps to improve collaboration to achieve continuous improvement. Kanban lets you understand your work process, assists in creating feedback loops, makes process policies explicit and visualizes the B2B workflow to achieve maximum productivity.

Fulfilling The Needs Of New Age Buyers

We are living in a world where people google anything and everything they want. According to Forrester, 74% of the buyers do half of the research online before they make an offline purchase. Previously, buyers used to contact a salesperson and they were the one to sign the deal on behalf of the company but this is not the case now. With everything available online, buyers prefer to conduct online research before buying anything from the vendor. A research by Google says that during the B2B purchasing process, 42% of the online researches are done from mobile devices.

So, how do you fulfil the needs of new age buyers? One way to do this is by creating a user-friendly mobile app. A report from digital commerce suggests that almost 60% of the buyers would stop doing business with B2B vendors just because they had difficulty in understanding the app. Another way to fulfil the needs of the buyers is helping them find what they need from thousands of products available is by using chatbots which can assist the users in choosing the product of their choice.

Conclusion

The rising heights of technology have expanded the growth of B2B eCommerce market and demand companies to adapt to new technologies in order to keep a stronghold in the market. Compared to the old methods of marketing, new methods like AR and VR are playing a vital role in driving sales. With all the payment options available, use of mobile wallets is increasing as they are faster compared to other modes of payment. We can expect CPQ technology to introduce voice technology in the B2B world. In the end, it all depends on the user experience. The better the experience, the better the business.

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Joydeep Bhattacharya

Joydeep Bhattacharya is the author of the popular SEO blog, SEOsandwitch.com and has been a digital marketing evangelist for the past 8 years. He is a certified Google Adwords and Analytics expert who helps brands take their online presence to the next level.