Predicting global B2B commerce trends - A quick guide

global b2b commerce trends
31st May, 2017

Business to business (B2B) commerce has seen rapid growth in the last few years where wholesalers have easily migrated from legacy systems to online platform. This business model will continue to move towards online platforms that allow buyers and sellers to make transactions for buying goods and services easily from anywhere in the world. In fact, global B2B commerce trends are expected to reach double the size of the business-to-consumer (B2C) online market, generating revenues of 6.7 trillion USD by 2020. Understanding and predicting this global B2B commerce trends are the key to create ecommerce strategies that will help to gain business. China and the United States is predicted to lead the B2B online retailing market. The United States is anticipated to double its revenue which will contribute to 1.2 billion USD by 2020.

The average age of today’s Customer is younger, fed on information which is real time and is obsessed to buy things online. Alibaba and Amazon are marketplaces that have become popular however as a part of global B2B commerce trends the platform will move from a one-to-many to many-to-many business model. A model where one company invests and builds an e-platform for its suppliers, will now change towards a model in which anyone will be able to integrate an e-procurement process and facilitate the purchase of goods online. Retailers, however, will face certain challenges while implementing this model. Due to variable prices and high order volumes unlike in the B2C setting, in the B2B setup, a flexible shipping and logistics solution is a must and is extremely important. Since sales are impacted by Tax and regulatory concerns providers then gets into a mode to employ large number of staff whose only responsibility is to deliver products and services within certain restrictions.

Moreover, in order to execute marketing or educational initiatives in the B2B setting one needs to be careful since it is quite complicated. Here clients are interested to buy something which they already know about however not aware whether it would work with the systems that are already available with them. The black box effect, wherein a customer without any interest buys a device hardly exists.

"However, with advancement of technology facilitating the procurement of goods on the move through smartphones and tablets, online platforms for business will rapidly grow,” noted Frost & Sullivan Visionary Innovation Group Consultant Pramod Dibble. 

With the availability of cloud platforms that provides more scalability as far as infrastructure service and software is concerned this will further push businesses towards online retailing.

In order to enable Customers to experience the online services with low risk, Internet retailers should provide a menu of different services instead of one bundled option. Even clients who are hesitant to get out of their current ecosystem of sales and distribution will then turn towards online retailing, which then will help automate many of the time-taking and expensive areas of procurement.

Today the inflection point is visible by how quick the user experiences are available, multi-tier distribution selling support availability, competitive pricing and improved order workflows.

The following factors will help to define the future of global B2B commerce trends: 

Consistent high quality Customer Experience – B2B buyers expect customer experience of high quality which is consistent and they prefer to be loyal to companies who delivers excellence every time. Gartner predicts that 70% B2C E Commerce model will move to B2B E Commerce model by 2018.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – Companies now are considering a unified cloud platform which will help to lower Total Cost of Ownership – many are moving to cloud E-Commerce platforms that provides unified and global view of all activities related to channel sales. This results in lower TCO and an E Commerce technology which is more streamlined. 

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) flexibility – In order to accelerate deals with the options of special pricing many selling teams today enable dynamic pricing, this helps to provide personalized experience to the Customers. The prices offered in the competitive market becomes the main differentiator.

Integrated Order Management at the Platform Level – B2B E Commerce platforms have order management systems that are designed in at the platform level – this helps to support Just In Time availability. Replenishments and customizations are automated which helps wholesalers manage delivery and return management effectively.

Increased interest of manufacturers for E Commerce platform to support configuration and workflows – Manufacturers are looking at bringing greater speed and simplicity to the complicated configurations and workflows in order to make it more systemic which in turn would result in effective selling results.

Unique buying experience for distribution channels – Partner commerce apps and its functionality is required to motivate all channel partners - to manage incentives, rebates and promotions which will in turn help them to sell their most profitable products and also provide unique buying experience for the Customers.

In order to keep up with the global B2B commerce trends businesses have to give importance to responsive web designing and mobile commerce apps significantly in order to tap into the new generation who are not interested in physical stores anymore.

Another statistics also suggest that mobile commerce will be supported further by the increasing popularity of E Wallets. Payment systems that are contactless and which do not require debit or credit cards will be the new way forward.

Keeping these global B2B commerce trends in mind Adidas will reduce its range of products by 25% and increase Multi Channel sales focus to boost sales volume. Hence multi-channel is the key where market for limited product range with several variants is to be tapped.

It is time for businesses to provide original, research based and factual content to Customers in order to inform them about a new product or service. Content based digital marketing is another key which will outshine any other conventional marketing strategies.

These global B2B commerce trends suggests that it is now time for businesses to improvise in technology, focus on mobile shopping and improve Customer Experience through content based marketing and multi-channel sales for effective sales growth.


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