Why your B2B business needs to invest in ecommerce this year
With ecommerce transactions set to balloon to $4.8 trillion by 2024, it’s little wonder why more businesses are making the transition to the web. Armed with their debit cards and smartphones, consumers are buying more products from the internet than ever before, and as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is proving, ecommerce offers a shield from real-world challenges faced by bricks and mortar firms, like prohibitive rents and plummeting footfall.
If you’re debating making the jump to an ecommerce platform, you’re not alone. B2B brands left, right, and centre are realising the immense opportunities digital commerce has to offer.
We’ve put together some of the reasons why, and offer tips to help you master the move…
Take advantage of a growing market
Though B2B firms were slow to adapt to changing buying habits, most are beginning to catch up and opening their own virtual stores which they can operate from a warehouse. And it’s paying off: latest data suggests that one in every four dollars spent online now goes to a B2B retailer - that’s an eye-watering $1 trillion in B2B ecommerce sales a year, and growing.
In fact, 46% of manufacturers now say that ecommerce will be their primary sales channel by the end of 2020, with many running independent stores for their consumer and business markets, allowing them to gain a stronghold on their sector and outperform their competitors.
Speed up order fulfilment
Another benefit to selling your merchandise online is to speed up your order fulfilment processes. Modern ecommerce platforms like Gemsuite have built-in order management systems that can easily integrate with other software and allow you to manage inventory and distribution with ease. From partial deliveries to managing multiple warehouses, optimising your ecommerce platform will allow you to offer fast and accurate delivery to your customers.
Cut operational costs
Digitising cuts unnecessary administration and paperwork you’d typically be required to do when working offline, like order entry, client information provision, and chasing payments.
That means staff who would typically man the phones and perform manual data entry can now be redeployed to work in customer service or the distribution arm of your business.
When you move to an ecommerce platform, you’ll streamline and automate large parts of your everyday responsibilities and make your company more efficient. Fewer order errors and faster fulfilment results in an increase in conversions and repeat orders from customers.
Reach more customers
If you find the vast majority of your customers through trade exhibitions, advertising in trade publications and through cold calling, ecommerce will revolutionise your business.
Making your products accessible to customers means that they will come to you, rather than the reverse, so you can focus on delivering the best possible service at the best prices. A good ecommerce website will be user-friendly and responsive, working across all platforms, whilst a complimentary digital marketing campaign will help you rank on search engines.
According to B2XPartners, 90% of all B2B buyers head to the internet before they purchase stock for their businesses, so if you’re ranking high on Google for a term like “eco-friendly office supplies,” you’ll attract new clients that otherwise wouldn’t have been only your radar.
Improve customer service
Other than product selection and pricing, B2B retailers find it hard to distinguish themselves, so doing everything you can to keep your customers satisfied is critical. With an ecommerce platform, customers can log in to monitor and track their orders, see stock levels before they place an order, and speak to one of your customer service representatives through live chat.
B2B ecommerce platforms like Comgem help you to build long-term relationships with your clients through a customer relationship management portal. From building a view of each customer to identifying gaps in their purchasing habits and automating and personalising marketing to repeat the right clients, you’ll help customers stay in-the-know and engaged.
That will make them less likely to try out a competitor and more likely to place bulk orders.
Gain a deeper understanding of clients
Selling merchandise from an ecommerce platform allows you to gain valuable insights into your customers and adapt your marketing and product selection accordingly. With the right strategy, you can evaluate and measure the effectiveness of your sales channels, product mix, and engagement, outmanoeuvring the competition. For example, if you sell equipment for horseriding businesses and notice that your stirrups landing page drives a lot of traffic but has a high bounce rate, you might conclude that your product pricing is not competitive.
Are you a wholesaler, distributor, or manufacturer considering opening your own ecommerce store? Get in touch with the B2B ecommerce experts at Comgem for a friendly chat today.