Table of Content
- 1. Top B2B Ecommerce Trends For 2022
- 2. Key Takeaway
The B2B industry is rising, and rising fast. Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic showed signs of slowing, retailers, wholesalers, and distributors are now resuming their business. This time, however, things are a bit different.
With the pandemic, digital channels grew in popularity. Businesses who went digital to survive the pandemic have now established powerful infrastructures to facilitate their business growth.
The trends and characteristics of B2B businesses will be different, marked by changes in technological innovations.
How different will it be? Well, this post is here to answer that very question.
Top B2B Ecommerce Trends For 2022
In the coming years, businesses in the B2B sphere will have to do some heavy lifting. The following are some B2B trends that you need to look out for in the coming years.
- Emulating the B2C experience for B2B
- The rise of marketplace B2B ecommerce
- Increased use of mobile ecommerce
- Personalized B2B experiences
- Direct to Consumer channels
- Embracing multi-channel ecommerce
- Quicker B2B order fulfillment
So, let’s dissect what each of the trends will look like for the B2B industry in the coming years.
Emulating the B2C experience for B2B
The B2B world has always been marked by its sheer professionalism. Of course, business to business dealing does require you to be professional. However, with changing demographics, we’re seeing that trend change. Things are going to look a lot more casual from now on. With the arrival of the millennials in the B2B industry, the purchasing behavior is changing. While this doesn’t imply the use of memes and pop-culture references in B2B marketing, it does imply a little relaxation from the rigidity of B2B sales that were conducted in the past. With the arrival of the millennials, you can also expect the layout and design of a general B2B ecommerce store to look different.
What was once a general-purpose website with less of a consumer-facing touch as B2C stores, B2B ecommerce stores would need a proper overhaul. In simple terms, B2B store owners have to focus on ecommerce development as well as design. As far as the checkout experience is concerned, that also has to be optimized. There is already so much competition going around. If you don’t optimize for quick and efficient checkouts and order management, you’re going to face some serious problems as a B2B business since your users can divert their attention to another competitor really quickly.
The Rise of Marketplace B2B Ecommerce
Covid-19 was marked by the closing down of European markets and the slow yet steady growth of Asian markets like China and India. Both of these countries, along with Europe and North America, are the centers of trade around the world. With all these countries now open, expect to see more businesses operating on their respective marketplaces. Amazon Marketplace, Alibaba, India mart, and E-WorldTravel are just some good examples of powerful B2B marketplaces. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in digital adoption, meaning that businesses that were once traditional moved towards the digital option.
As a small business in the digital world, they had to rely on the traffic of marketplaces to conduct their business. Because the pandemic dragged on too long, these companies established their businesses in a more thorough manner. Now that the pandemic is over, expect to see these businesses keep their marketplace presence while resuming their traditional business practices. For prospective B2B business owners, this would mean more competition in the digital sphere. Be prepared for more customer-focused and B2C centric marketing strategies in B2B ecommerce. All of these strategies will be applied to gain an upper hand against the competition in one form or another.
Increased Use of Mobile Ecommerce
Optimizing for mobile devices has been a common trend for a long time now. Mobile commerce for B2B, however, hasn’t been considered as much as it should have. Of course, being a professional industry, that much was expected, but as already discussed, the changing demographic is now pushing B2B businesses to consider mobile commerce as well. Why? Think about it from the customer’s perspective. The myriad of B2B customers are, at the end of the day, B2C customers as well. Because the majority of their purchases are conducted on mobile phones, B2B customers are now more inclined to make B2B purchases on their phone rather than on their desktops. Besides the well-designed and customer friendly websites that we’ve discussed above, be prepared to see a rise in websites designed with a mobile-first approach.
Personalized B2B Experiences
Personalization has always been a big thing in the B2C sphere. We see examples of personalization from giants like Amazon, who suggest products based on your interests and preferences. This is all to build customer satisfaction and awareness for Amazon as an ecommerce hub. Now, this trend was relatively unheard of in the B2B pre-pandemic sphere. Of course, with bulk purchases, you can only expect so much personalization. However, that trend is changing with more B2B businesses embracing personalization as a concept that can be applied to B2B.
B2B’s personalized customer experiences can take the form of a product range designed specifically with the preferences of a particular business. In addition to that, it can also take the shape of quick order fulfillment which enables businesses to select already purchased products directly from their dashboard, thus reducing the hassle of placing orders for each individual bulk item again.
Direct To Consumer Channels
With the pandemic, B2B businesses had to deal with B2C business being closed for one reason or another. Some didn’t consider governmental considerations, or got their facility infected. Because of that, supply lines got interrupted and B2B businesses had to either find other business to sell to, or wait for their main accounts to resume their operations. Because of the sense of frustration felt by B2B businesses during that time, they’re embracing a different business model: direct to consumer.
The short explanation of the concept is selling directly to consumers rather than selling products to another business who can then retail it. For many businesses, the D2C infrastructure has been present but it’s not been prevalently used. Post-pandemic projections show that businesses will now start to operate their direct-to-consumer channels more effectively. Of course, selling directly to consumers comes with its own fair share of administrative and operational challenges. You can’t expect a B2B business to turn into a B2C facing store in just a day, which means growing pains will be a regular occurrence for such a business.
In addition to that, cutting out the middle man will result in more competition in the retail market, thus leading to further acquisitions and mergers. The ideal solution for businesses looking to go towards D2C is to embrace a hybrid model which keeps the existing B2B process in check while also investing in B2C ecommerce processes. This reduces the risk of businesses if they select to move towards the B2C models directly.
Embracing Multi-Channel Ecommerce
We’re already discussed how the marketplace will change B2B ecommerce.
That’s just one channel where you can expect a B2B business to have a presence. Any general B2B ecommerce store operating right now is operating on a multi-channel model. For example, you can see:
- A B2B store with its own web presence complete with domain names and extensions.
- The same B2B store will have a marketplace presence on websites like Alibaba, and amazon. This provides them room to expand their client reach towards wider, international markets.
- It also has a sizable presence on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, and yes, Instagram as well. This is another B2B marketing strategy to reach more customers. A lead can come from anywhere.
- Lastly, the business also has its traditional B2B presence with sales reps promoting their business to other businesses.
Apart from these, there are many other places that you can expect a B2B ecommerce business to be present in industry events and other traditional social networking avenues.
With the rise in competition both locally and internationally, it’s become imperative for various businesses to stay active on multiple channels.
Quicker B2B Order Fulfillment
With markets opening up, there is an increased incentive for businesses to continue their processes as they did before.
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that the demand has surged. It has, but not as much as they’d expect. With the competition as fierce as it is right now, there is a need for businesses to stand apart from the crowd to conduct business. One method they can use is quicker order fulfillment.
With the changing demographics, customers will require speed in their ecommerce processes. Failure to do so will mean a loss of business.
B2B is coming back with a bang, and it’s time businesses came back to embrace it as they did before. But while it is back, that doesn’t mean it’s the same.
With the rise in digital commerce for B2B, expect that this industry will go through quick iterative changes.
The most important takeaway that you can take from this post is that you need to be on top of these changes to stay ahead of the game.