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B2B ecommerce Trends- What Merchants Need to Know

The B2B market is growing at a tremendous pace, with B2B online retail occupying a staggering $1 trillion market, expected to reach 12 million globally by 2020. Now it is more important than ever for B2B sellers to keep up with the quickly changing landscape. As with any task you want to succeed in, it’s important to educate yourself on the challenges ahead and what to do to overcome them. The competition is fierce, and you need to do something to set your brand apart from the others. These many other retailers out there are targeting the same audience of buyers that you are. 

One way to do this is to observe the trends in today’s B2B world so that you can give buyers exactly what they’re looking for when they view your ecommerce site. Incorporating these trends into your B2B strategy will increase your competitive advantage and ultimately win the loyalty of B2B buyers looking for your product. 

When it comes to user experience, B2B sellers are quickly developing a more clean and streamlined design for their sites. Many B2B buyers are used to being online shoppers in their own personal lives, and when they visit a website to make a purchase for their business, they bring those same expectations. Clear search functionality, customer reviews, expansive billing options, and social media integration are all things that B2B buyers expect from your site when they are looking to make a purchase. In order to compete in this ever growing market of B2B, your ecommerce site will need to be updated with easy to navigate web design and custom B2B features.

As the importance of user experience is at an all-time high because of competition, companies now know as many as 50 percent of their buyers use mobile devices to shop for their business needs. Whether that’s optimizing the site for smaller screens or creating an app, B2B companies need to provide a functional purchasing platform from a smartphone or tablet. An eCommerce platform capable of high performance across smartphones and tablets, and supports integrations for mobile optimization programs is crucial to doing business in the future.

Another aspect of B2B that is in high demand by consumers is the option for flexible payment plans. Processing digital payments for business sales can be very tricky as B2B platforms open up a wide variety of payment forms. This includes purchasing via commercial cards, PayPal, invoicing, e-checks, physical checks, or purchase orders. Potential customers expect to be presented with these many options when accessing your site, and not having done so may result in the loss of a sale. If these options are not already built into your eCommerce platform, integrations and modules should be implemented to accept invoicing, purchase orders, automated recurring billing and other corporate billing options.

Another way to stay ahead of the curve is to be on a platform which is Open Source. This means that you’ll have the freedom to go in and make the changes to your website that you see fit at any time. It also means that your site will be much more customizable- setting it apart from the rest. The ability to go into your site and make edits also allows B2B companies to mix and match the features they’d like to offer on their site. Businesses will have the flexibility to personalize their site to the unique needs of their clients. Some merchants feel that open source technology has limited support, but there’s a broad community of users and developers who can offer insight at any moment’s notice. Open source software comes with hundreds of add-ons to improve a site’s functionality, allowing for a more fluid and adaptable online presence. For B2B ecommerce, adding features for billing, credit card authorization, special group pricing and bulk orders is essential to win business-to-business deals.

Being aware of the importance of the omnichannel experience is a main trend which shouldn’t be overlooked. As if replicating the customer’s in-store experience, you want all aspects of your brand to be voiced through each channel. This will undoubtedly result in business-to-business repeat buyers. In addition, a consumer should know just as much about your products as they would from walking through a brick-and-mortar store. Your online catalog should provide detailed product information, dimensions, photographs from every angle, instructional videos, technical documentation, and anything else that may help them to feel comfortable with the product they are buying. With B2B transactions, products are often being bought in bulk, and no consumer wants to purchase hundreds or even thousands of an item for their business unless the feel sure they know what they will be receiving. Executive buyers need to know that the seller knows exactly what they’re talking about and can provide the resources to back up their knowledge, buying online may be a new venture for the company. If a B2B site can make the customer feel as if they’re seeing the product in person, they’ll likely have a successful sale.

The B2B marketplace is rapidly changing. The market is more complex than the B2C world—with massive online catalogs, complicated payment methods, and extremely diverse customer needs, there’s a layer of intricacy that’s not found in traditional consumer sales. But if a company can get ahead of emerging trends and provide an optimal user experience, it’s a possibility to open up new revenue streams through B2B online retailing.

For B2B merchants, it’s important to stay ahead of your competition and ahead of the curve. The B2B market is booming, and there needs to be something which sets your business apart from the many other retailers out there who are targeting the same audience of buyers that you are. One way to do this is to observe the trends in today’s B2B world so that you can give buyers exactly what they’re looking for when they view your ecommerce site. Incorporating these trends into your B2B strategy will increase your competitive advantage and ultimately win the loyalty of B2B buyers looking for your product. You can implement the mentioned features as well as any other trends that may arise with the use of an open-source ecommerce platform. Magento, for example, is well known for its robust B2B features and open-source capabilities. This type of platform allows merchants to mix and match the features they’d like to offer on their site. They will also have the flexibility to personalize their site to the unique needs of their clientele as well as to echo the look and feel of their unique brand. Add-ons such as special billing options, credit card authorization, special group pricing and bulk orders are all essential to win many B2B clients.

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