B2B eCommerce, when compared to the B2C industry, is projected to be two times bigger than B2C in 2020. In fact, it’s anticipated to be the area of largest eCommerce growth from 2020 to 2025.
That means BIG things for B2B marketing are on the horizon.
Merit claims that 73 percent of B2B buyers today are Millennials, who prefer buying online—this is a large part of why B2B eCommerce growth has occurred at such lightning speed.
According to the latest publication from Meticulous Research, the global e-commerce market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1 percent from 2018 to 2025, reaching $24,265.12 billion by 2025.
This can be attributed to factors including:
- Rising mobile and internet penetration
- Technological advances such as big data and cloud-based e-commerce platforms
- Advanced shipping and payment options
- Rise in disposable incomes.
The Push for Amazon Businessmazon Business is the B2B marketplace on Amazon, providing business customers with the pricing, selection, and convenience of Amazon, with features and benefits designed for businesses of all sizes.
It’s designed to make purchasing easy and cost-effective by combining Amazon’s familiar one-stop shopping with quantity discounts, price comparisons, approval workflows, and multi-user accounts.
Its competitive annual membership program means that, similar to Prime members, Amazon Business members get perks including free two-day shipping. It also includes business-tailored features, such as multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions, dedicated customer support, and more.
How B2B Brands Build Relationships with Clients and UsersAs retailers become more selective in choosing the brands they want to carry, B2B sites must give brands the platform to not only sell the products they offer but promote the image they’ve built.
So how can you engage the majority of consumers—whether B2B or B2C—with a straightforward marketing strategy? Here are five steps to take which, if implemented over time and with consistency, can help you reach success.
1. Create A Blog About Your Niche
Your eCommerce store is for other business people. They want information that will help them make rational decisions. When you create a blog for your niche, you’re supporting your community while also gaining valuable SEO.
2. High-Quality Backlinks: Reach Out To Develop B2B Connections And Content
Backlinks, or links from other pages leading back to your website, help build your web page’s authority within your domain. They’re also an excellent B2B marketing strategy for eCommerce pages.
3. Establish an E-Commerce SEO Strategy For Your B2B eCommerce Store: Optimize Your URLs
This is a key part of telling both humans and search engines what to expect to find on the page. Good URLs are related to the page they represent, and are essential for good user metrics.
4. Improve Site Speed: B2B Clients Get Impatient Too
People hate to wait for an eCommerce page to load. Whether you’ve got a B2C or B2B page, you need to do everything you can to deliver a speedy experience—otherwise, you’ll be losing business by the second.
5. Set Goals For Your B2B Ecommerce Site And Track With Analytics
On average, B2B clients do more research than B2B consumers because they are making business decisions. Understand what your clients need and offer them the services that will make finding business opportunities easier for them.
Learn to Support Brands in B2B EcommerceEven in B2B, your brand matters! You’ve got to act like a B2C while operating as a B2B in order to generate demand, build better relationships, and ultimately drive sales. Here are four key branding factors to consider that B2B often forget.
- Constant Consumer Communication
Manufacture demand by communicating all the time, not just in high season for your industry or high buying times in the calendar year. This includes utilizing all social media channels and keeping them updated with fresh content.
- User Experience
Oftentimes, B2B sites don’t consider their user experience a high priority, which can affect how often retailers frequent and use their portal. Just as consumers prefer websites with engaging content, graphics, and character, online ordering portals can and should offer more than just utilitarian lists of SKUs.
- Optimize for Mobile
Millennials are picking up the B2B eCommerce market and want it on the go. B2C sites recognize this and are constantly optimizing their websites across desktop, tablet, and mobile. This should be no different for B2B sites.
- Brand Story
Provide the same ability for buyers to learn about brands. Enabling brands to share their stories is a crucial part of the wholesale process, both for selling to new buyers and strengthening relationships with existing buyers.
Top B2B Platforms, Technologies, and FunctionalitiesSelecting a shopping platform is the foundation of any eCommerce business operation. Most of the leading platforms are not industry-specific, and all of them competently provide core shopping cart, payment, shipping, and store management features.
For B2B, choosing the right eCommerce platform is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Some big names are always popping up like Magento, Shopify, Enterprise, and BigCommerce. When looking at the array of options, it is important to ask yourself if they have the following:
- Mobile Compatibility—More and more B2B decision-makers are using their mobile devices to search for solutions. Not being mobile-friendly can prove costly today.
- Compliance—The platform should be able to accommodate GDPR, ADA, and other mandatory user privacy and accessibility guidelines that are in effect today.
- B2B eCommerce Functionality—Your B2B eCommerce platform should ideally have b2b eCommerce functionality features directed at B2B buyers like bulk ordering and pricing, account management, and multiple shipping/payment capabilities.
- Optimal User Experience—The user should have a customizable marketplace template to choose from to create an intuitive and user-friendly experience.
- 24/7 Availability—Unlike the traditional method where clients need to wait for your response, eCommerce platforms are always open for business.
- Marketing functionality—With more and more online searches being made via web and mobile, SEO-optimized eCommerce platforms boost your visibility.
- Automation and Machine Learning—Humans are error-prone. Automated platforms offer a consistent solution.
- Customer Communications—Not only does the client get an instant response, but he can also select their desired product/s with just a few clicks.
The predominance of B2B eCommerce means that B2B businesses must improve and simplify their shopping journey, channeling the B2C ordering experience. However, the B2B shopping experience is a lot more complicated than that of a B2C customer.
Because of the nature of the transaction, B2B buyers usually need to go through various steps, including sales representative interaction, negotiations, and approvals before they can make a successful purchase.
That’s why it’s crucial for B2B eCommerce businesses to provide a more seamless transaction, building in advanced functionality to their sites for quote management, price negotiation, easy ordering, and inventory management.
Consider hiring the right experts to manage your platforms as B2Bs have enough to consider with running their businesses. Custom programming, development, and functionality require consistent and careful planning, strategy, and great execution.
There are even companies that create custom functionality projects for any eCommerce platform such as Volusion, Bigcommerce, Shopify, 3DCart, Americommerce, Magento, Netsuite, Ecwid, Bigcartel, Zencart, Virtuemart, Prestashop, CoreCommerce, WooCommerce, WordPress, OSCommerce, Infusionsoft, Podio and X-Cart.
If you’ve been told that a certain functionality is not possible, it’s worth getting a second opinion. Even for mobile, your eCommerce store needs to in top shape to convert the sale. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be ready for the next wave of B2B eCommerce growth opportunities.
Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of Zen Media – a b2b communications firm. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country.
Shama is the bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, now in its 4th edition and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Shama has delivered keynotes in over 20 countries and spoken for recognized brands including Movado, Chase, Tupperware and Inc 5000.
As a result of her success, Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn has named Hyder one of their “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media for four years in a row. Her online videos were awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was given the “Global Empowerment award for Marketing and Technology” by Anokhi Media.
As the CEO of Zen Media, she and her team help b2b companies succeed in the digital age
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