Online business-to-business (B2B) sales are booming. These days it is possible to buy practically anything online. The increasing march towards digital sales is changing the way that purchasing and sales organisations interact. eCommerce systems aimed at business customers are already replacing traditional sales representatives.
According to a study conducted by Forrester, 93% of B2B buyers prefer to place orders online as soon as they have made their purchasing decision. Many buyers favour the digital channel because it is quicker and more practical. Easy access to information about availability, delivery times and technical specifications is important to most B2B buyers and provides added value.
It is no longer only retail companies that are making use of eCommerce. More and more businesses from the manufacturing sector are moving into online sales. In Germany, one in five B2B online shops is now operated by a non-retail company. This was the finding of a recent survey by Creditreform AG, a company specialising in business intelligence and debt collection, and bevh, the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association.
B2B shops simplify and speed up the entire customer journey by saving both time and money. eCommerce has multiple benefits for B2B companies:
- A modern way to present up-to-date product information
- Focus on delivering a personalised service
- Fewer errors when creating and processing orders
- Greater standardisation and supply chain automation
- Lower costs of sales
- Direct sales
- Easier to sell to international markets
- Increased brand and customer loyalty
Sooner or later, companies in virtually every industry will need to establish online sales channels. Success is contingent on putting in a place a system that meets customer (i.e. B2B customer) needs and clearly provides added value. That is why eCommerce systems should always be individually tested in advance for performance and functionality. Nothing is more costly than setting up a system only to discover that the solution implemented does not meet customer expectations. Ordering processes must be smooth and intuitive and all the important features must be available. Ultimately, the aim is to simplify the process for everyone involved, so that buying and selling becomes faster, more efficient and more reliable.