The rise in global retail eCommerce and the successful B2C model has led B2B large enterprises and SMBs to replicate it on the B2B eCommerce digital platforms. The aim is to primarily bring the superior tech-driven shopping experience of retail eCommerce to B2B eCommerce and use collaborative software to interface with customers. By 2030, it’s expected that 90 per cent of global manufacturing organizations will use B2B eCommerce digital solutions. This will aid them to connect with customers to satisfy demand, execute supply needs, for offering product services and initiate R&D-based product development.
Growth of B2B eCommerce Digital Solutions
With B2B eCommerce showing the potential like its retail counterpart, there are industries like telecom, travel, computers, electronics, apparel, industrial, aerospace, automobile, health science, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, education and others that are understanding how digital eCommerce can bring the ROI for their business.
A rethink of the traditional sales approach has opened new online channels for business growth. Besides this, Marketing and Sales teams are now considering an omnichannel approach for a B2B prospects when nurturing them in these multiple channels.
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B2B manufacturing organizations are now exploring the full potential of eCommerce platforms like Magento, and Shopify by integrating their Marketing, Sales and Finance processes to offer a cohesive experience to their customers across various touchpoints. Moving from their legacy systems to SaaS-based on-demand platforms brings scalability to their business. For this, they can enlist the services of tech partners like Katalyst Technologies and ensure ongoing support for driving upgrades and adding new features.
Why B2B eCommerce Digital Solutions are Needed for Manufacturers
Surveys have shown that B2B eCommerce has led to cost savings for manufacturers in customer acquisition, besides leading to speedier sales closures, better collaborations with partners and customers. The ease of adding new prospects to the sales funnel can motivate most manufacturers to use these platforms by the turn of the decade.
What Deters Manufacturers from Leveraging B2B Ecommerce
Often, manufacturers who have just started with B2B eCommerce digital activities, think it’s enough merely to present their offerings on the platform. On the contrary, the model needs some serious strategy-building with a focus on how the manufacturer’s online presence can align with business goals. For this, just like B2C businesses, you need to ensure your product catalogues are always updated, your online platform is device-agnostic and showcases your products appropriately on any device. In addition to this, it’s important to make it easy for your customers to transact on the platform using multiple methods.
The security of data on a digital platform for organizations and their customers is a decisive factor in adopting a B2-B eCommerce platform. Cost implications of extending the existing technology infrastructure too can act as a deterrent. However, more than these factors it’s the mindset of the decision-makers to continue with what’s working well and not being open to change that hampers investing in a B2B eCommerce platform.
Important Considerations for Manufacturers to Adopt B2B Ecommerce
To implement B2B eCommerce digital network in an efficient manner, firstly, manufacturers must ensure only clean data is migrated to the platform. This will help with extracting accurate analytics for customer activity and work on the gaps in conversions based on data. Not just external data, internal data also need to be aligned precisely and tagged well to make the right decisions that drive business goals. For instance, a simple exercise like aligning the back end and front end to showcase your product features optimally is a data activity that needs proper execution.
Secondly, manufacturers must check the upgrades needed to their technology framework to integrate B2B eCommerce digital solutions for their business. Besides technology requirements, manufacturers may also have to add resources for eCommerce tasks, ensure data governance and compliance with GDPR, CCPA or any other consumer protection guidelines, and establish a data-driven analytics outlook. A proper eCommerce implementation and integration partner like Katalyst Technologies oversees such requirements of:
- Extending tech frameworks,
- Driving integrations based on the complexities of the eCommerce platform,
- Transitioning from an older approach to newer ones with minimal effect on customers or business
- Hand-holding the manufacturer through the transformation be it for data management, interfacing with their internal and external stakeholders like Marketing or Sales teams and software vendors for cloud respectively.
Features of B2B eCommerce Digital Solutions
Much like retail eCommerce, B2B eCommerce digital solutions too, aim to bring multi-device convenience to their clients, besides aftersales services and providing opportunities for lead generation on their platforms.
To ensure interactions remain on the B2B eCommerce platform itself and not on email or other traditional ways, buyers and sellers have the option of transacting goods and services over social channels and mobile platforms. This also brings faster closure of sales deals and enhances manufacturer branding while enriching customer engagement.
Every manufacturer aims to extend their business reach beyond their countries and virtual stores, giving their B2B customer the feel of a physical store using ecommerce digital solutions. Some of the tech successes seen in B2B ecommerce for manufacturers has been in:
- Integrating e-procurement options,
- Bringing order requisitions and its entries onto the platform so that sales, customers and suppliers are seeing the same dashboard,
- Offering visibility to dealers through online contract management using real-time data,
- Expenses management dashboards,
- ERP integrations for shipping, taxation, ideal pricing,
- Building quote-to-order capabilities in the ordering system, and
- Providing a subscription business model.
Katalyst Technologies brings a consolidated view to the manufacturer of the technology needed to fulfil their business goals and how these are achieved with integrated B2B eCommerce digital solutions.
Upcoming Trends in B2B eCommerce Digital Solutions
With the phenomenal growth of the B2C online marketplaces, the extensive R&D has also led to some trends being borrowed in B2-B eCommerce digital solutions.