The growth of the business-to-business ecommerce market continues to drop jaws. In 2019, alone, the B2B market had a year-over-year expansion of over 18% to $1.3 trillion. Given these figures, it may not be surprising that many C-level executives in the industry are actively looking at B2B ecommerce platforms to grow their product offerings and enter new markets. Before making a leap of faith into such markets, these decision-makers may pause to ask, “Why?”. In other words, they’ll want to know exactly what kind of value and additional benefits a B2B platform will bring to their enterprise.
The benefits of investing in a B2B ecommerce solution are many. Depending on the goals of making such an investment and the scale of the investment, implementing this technology can be a springboard to opportunities for B2B companies. Among these benefits are:
- Secure access to customers that may not be available using a traditional B2C platform
- A better ability to scale
- Decreased cost, increased revenue
- Easier access to relevant analytics and sales information
- An improved customer experience
In this blog post, we’ll explore these benefits in more detail to help executives better understand why investing in a B2B platform can vastly improve revenue, provide for a better experience, and decrease cost. And while identifying the best B2B ecommerce platform from the wide range of options available (e.g., BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify Plus, etc.) can be a function of business needs, we'll explore the key benefits that should drive your decision.
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Secure access to customers that may not be available using a traditional B2C platform
Many traditional B2C ecommerce platforms are not optimized to sell in a business-to-business market. As such, it’s usually not feasible for B2B customers to place such orders any other platform except one that is specifically designed for the B2B market. A B2B platform supplies wholesalers with greater self-sufficiency to replenish products and request quotes using a secure profile. A secure profile allows for personalized pricing, tailored product offerings, and customized content per client. Moreover, buyers also get secure payment options and checkout. These features attract customers who, otherwise, would not conduct such transactions on a B2C platform.
A better ability to scale
One of the most appealing benefits of leveraging a B2B platform, no matter which one, is the ability to help businesses to scale more quickly. This is due, in part, to many native and highly configurable features such as promotion engines, product associations (cross-sells, up-sells), and headless content delivery. For added value, B2B platforms are increasingly easier to integrate with other 3rd B2B systems, making the customer experience unique, based upon the type of business and needs of B2B buyers. The high level of customization and flexibility available makes it easy to scale rapidly and effortlessly.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the main reasons why B2B companies invest in building an ecommerce store is to widen the revenue stream. The platform empowers companies to do both at the same time by:
- Allowing better access to an entire class of buyers who, in the absence of such a solution, may have been underserved.
- The ability to “right-price” product offerings based on customer groups so that pricing can be manually or dynamically updated based on the client’s profile and/or shopping behavior.
Decreasing the reliance on customer service and sales for everyday transactions. The platform was designed to empower clients to register, purchase items in larger quantities, and obtain access to custom solutions and marketing tools unique to their business needs without direct intervention from a representative. This, of course, translates into decreased cost, reduced efforts, and better resource optimization for the business.
Easier access to relevant analytics and sales information
Another enormous perk to leveraging a B2B platform is that it allows access to a centralized repository of B2B sales and customer data that can be used in near real-time to drive business intelligence tools such as analytics reporting, predictive updates, lead generation/prioritization, and more. This allows companies to quickly make decisions (either by an employee or system/algorithm-driven).
Access to this analytic data also enables an increased opportunity to leverage AI capabilities to drive sales opportunities, generate a more meaningful and sophisticated customer segmentation model, and target more relevant content.
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An improved customer experience
Last, but certainly not least, a B2B platform can help organizations drive better retention by providing a seamless user experience for their customers. The customer satisfaction index is especially important to monitor in the B2B marketplace as it can trend as much as 20% lower than its B2C counterparts. Such a discrepancy owes, in part, to the fact that B2B transactions are exponentially more complex than B2C ecommerce transactions; However, there is a growing expectation from customers that the B2B shopping experience more aligns with the simplicity of a typical B2C customer journey.
This is where an updated B2B platform can help organizations keep an advantage over the competition. Digital experience platform providers are increasingly aware of this need and have designed solutions that bring an experience that helps to pair the B2C and B2B journeys better and help close the satisfaction gap between the two.
The elevator pitch
We have only scratched the surface on the many returns a B2B platform can bring to organizations with wholesaler clients.
As B2B business transactions require more cooperation across more channels, the complexity of such collaboration means that goals and challenges can vary widely from organization to organization. From a C-level executive perspective, it’s important to identify the unique goals and challenges that your organization faces when evaluating a digital platform solution.
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