Need To Embrace
There’s no question that eCommerce has changed the face of B2C sales. Worldwide online commerce is growing, on average, 20 percent per year, and online purchases continue to build the fortunes of companies like Amazon, Alibaba and scores of others.
The real question is this: Why are so many B2B organizations not taking more advantage of the efficiencies of online sales?
Many are. In fact, in the U.S., B2B eCommerce is estimated by Forrester to be twice the size of B2C sales by the end of 2013, and two-thirds of corporate executives expect eCommerce to continue changing the B2B marketplace. While the lessons from not responding to changing buyer preferences are clear from the B2C side (note the rise of Amazon and eBay as examples), many B2B companies are still lagging behind.
Here are a few reasons not embracing eCommerce for your B2B business could be a serious mistake.
Are People Too
The people who buy products for businesses are also consumers, and they’re used to eCommerce in their daily lives. Savvy marketers learned long ago that advertising and other communications for the B2B market had to be as high quality as consumer marketing to get noticed. People already understand the advantages of eCommerce in their personal lives, and many are wondering why their B2B suppliers haven’t made their jobs as simple as their personal shopping.
Few could argue that traditional purchasing methods are as efficient as eCommerce. Paper is eliminated, as are delays. Errors from multiple handling of orders are reduced. Information is available to buyers 24 hours a day, and buyers can make their purchases anywhere – on the shop floor, on the road or even at home – via mobile platforms.
Independent research has indicated that B2B eCommerce platforms like NuORDER can increase sales by an average of 17 percent through shortening the sales cycle, improving accuracy and opening up new markets and customers.
Development Is There
Unlike the earlier days of the Internet, when many B2B marketers were forced, because of industry complexities and specifics, to develop their own eCommerce systems, platforms are now available that make the switch to eCommerce (or an upgrade to a better system) simple and fast.
These systems are specialized, and designed to be custom-tailored to wholesale sales. NuORDER, for example, provides a B2B eCommerce platform that allows sales reps to create custom presentations, produce catalogs with targeted product assortments for specific accounts, and take orders. The company stresses that it is a sales platform – not a modified marketing function – and that it can be integrated with companies’ current inventory, fulfillment, and accounting tools. The technology is there for almost any size of company to embrace online sales.
Come From New Sources
Time may be short for companies to make the switch to eCommerce, because in most industries, there are companies who are using the speed and efficiency of online sales to capture business from less-agile competitors. Buyers already know eCommerce from their consumer experiences, and they welcome new simplicity in their work lives.
So will B2B marketers learn from the lessons of slow-to-react consumer marketers who lost market share to online? Or will they use the systems they now have at their disposal to shift to a faster, more versatile system of sales?