B2B eCommerce trends are something all B2B businesses need to know to catch up with the development and meet customers’ demands. Such trends change gradually every year due to the changes in customers’ expectations.
The first quarter of 2021 is about to end. And it’s time to get deeper into B2B eCommerce trends of this year not to fall behind. This blog will figure out what those trends are, in other words, what you need to well prepare to win the race.
How Has B2B eCommerce Been Growing Recently?
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B2B is now much more common than in the past, especially in the B2B eCommerce market. Along with B2C, the B2B model brings about great profit for businesses and creates relationships between enterprises.
The statistics below will help you understand more deeply about B2B eCommerce:
- B2B eCommerce volume in the US: $9 trillion (Digital Commerce 360, 2019)
- The US B2B market is predicted to hit $1.8 trillion by 2023 and account for 17% of all B2B sales (Statista)
- Digital B2B sales increased by 10.9% in 2019 and 18.2% year over year, while the figure for B2C is only 3.8% (Digital Commerce 360, 2020)
- The compound annual growth rate is projected to increase by 10% over the next 5 years (Statista)
- B2B eCommerce market is valued 6 times the value of the B2C market (Statista)
Although the B2C online sales volume is still much higher than that of B2B ($601.75 billion), B2B has faster growth. This means that the B2B eCommerce market is relatively potential and tends to be one of the primary business models.
Moreover, the generation shift occurrence has also brought about changes. Millennials drive significant changes in B2B eCommerce, where 73% of millennials provide input, and 34% are customers (decision-makers). Hence, millennials have contributed to creating some new trends.
B2B eCommerce Trends in 2019, and 2020
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In the past 2 years, many trends have appeared to shape the B2B eCommerce world. And you should not ignore them as these B2B eCommerce trends continue to develop at present.
The Development of Online B2B Marketplaces
In terms of B2C, some online Marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay have driven great sales, more than 50% of global online retail sales in 2018. And this trend is happening for the B2C segment.
B2B buyers have identified online B2B Marketplaces as their preferred online channel for procurement spend. Therefore, B2B businesses have started to offer their goods or services and decide which role they want to play in the third-party marketplace.
Seamless Omnichannel Experience Creation
Omnichannel is a must nowadays. Businesses can build up a strong physical and digital brand. Therefore, customers can visit the website, go to online marketplaces, or even directly come to brick-and-mortar stores to find their needs.
Lacking an omnichannel eCommerce strategy will be a disadvantage for you in the competition. Other businesses try to develop multiple channels to approach as many customers as possible, and if you refuse to do that, you will lose.
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The necessity for fast order fulfillment is becoming essential due to the intense competition. And to gain a competitive advantage in the market, fast delivery is a must.
In the past years, more than half of millennials expected same-day shipment. And one solution for this B2B eCommerce trend is developing an automated order management system that helps expedite shipping services and reduce labor costs.
The Growth of Customer Personalization
According to Sapio’s research in 2019, personalization is one of the top-of-mind for many B2B customers. Recently, the functionalities, such as predictive ordering or Artificial Intelligence (AI), at the top priorities to help customers make decisions.
Customer personalization helps to boost customer experience by analyzing available data combining browsing behavior and demographics. Therefore, customers will feel that the business understands them and can offer what they demand.
The Beginning of B2B Voice Commerce
2020 is the beginning of voice commerce. Voice search in eCommerce has become popular, notably iPhone’s Siri or Google’s AI. It is beneficial for users that they don’t have to take much time to type on the search bar. And B2B voice commerce has taken its first step this year.
One characteristic of B2B is repetitiveness. Therefore, voice commerce brings about both challenges and opportunities for B2B.
On the one hand, B2B buyers tend to be more cautious when making a purchasing decision as it will affect their business performance; hence, detailed images and information are necessary. However, in terms of repetitive ordering, there’s no need for long descriptions anymore. In this case, voice commerce will help.
Progressive Web Application (PWA)
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PWAs are website applications that can provide extras based on supported devices, provide offline capabilities, push notifications, look and speed similar to a Native app, and store local resources. The application was born to bring many benefits to both users and businesses.
With the use of PWAs, B2B businesses can gain many tremendous benefits to satisfy customer, create a better customer experience than a regular mobile app or a website may not provide:
- Ability to use when offline
- Better speed and performance than a website
- Good security
- Ability to add to the home screen
- Notification pushing
- Better bounce rates
- Gap fulfillment between mobile apps and websites
B2B eCommerce Trends 2021
Let’s come to our main topic today, forecasting what trends will appear in the year to come. Once you understand how the eCommerce world is operating, you will define clearly what’s crucial for your B2B website development.
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The Continue & Strong Development of Some Old Trends
In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all business activities were delayed. Consequently, some B2B eCommerce trends mentioned above have not been as projected. For this reason, the year 2021 witnessed the continuation of those trends such as Omnichannel eCommerce strategy, personalization, online marketplace, etc.
Notably, some of those have appeared since 2019; however, they were not so developed to help B2B eCommerce significantly. Some of those have just made their first steps; hence, B2B customers demand more for the strong development of such trends.
For example, B2B voice commerce was estimated to become a trend in 2020. However, the past years were just the beginning of voice commerce. It was not yet widely used by B2B customers. But it is estimated that voice commerce will rocket to $40 billion for some reasons:
- Voice commerce will build up a relationship between human and technology, making it a human-like relationship
- Typing is much more time-consuming, 3.7x slower
- 70% of users have preferred voice search in eCommerce
Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR & VR) Application
AR and VR have taken their first steps in the past years. It allows customers to preview the product or even try experiencing the service before making a decision. This trend has begun, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, as it made it difficult to visit the brick-and-mortar store. Therefore, Virtual Reality eCommerce applications will help.
Virtual Reality eCommerce has been being used by some big names, namely, Sephora, Quiver, Shopify, etc. However, it is not so famous at present.
In 2021 and beyond, AR & VR is forecasted to drive major profit for B2B businesses, up to $60 billion. It has been proved that:
- 61% of buyers prefer to purchase at a website that provides AR and VR technology.
- 63% of buyers said that it was easier for them to make a decision with AR and VR technology
- 45% of customers said that AR and VR saved their time.
The Use of Analytics, AI
Compared to B2C businesses, B2B companies fell behind in terms of advanced analytic tools adoption. B2B businesses usually do so for internal processes, not for analyzing customer behaviors.
However, B2B businesses have realized the benefits of such developed tools recently so that more and more companies are investing in analytic tools. 50% of B2B marketers have acknowledged the success and ROI (Return on Investment) using advanced marketing analytics.
But, 35% of B2B marketers say that they have challenges in building a consistent customer experience through multiple platforms and devices. As a result, companies need a single vision of all that occurs within their scope of operation.
For improvement, the use of analytics, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and machine learning will strongly be developed in 2021. To find trends, analyze results, and come up with solutions, Analytics uses digital resources. Meanwhile, AI is a human intelligence simulation that is useful for personalization and product reviews.
These are also gradually used to improve data analysis and business decision-making in the future. This is why a growing number of companies are now offering market analytics solutions for both small firms and big businesses.
The Use of Extension
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Extensions are optimal solutions for B2C businesses, and so as for B2B. Nowadays, it is hard and costly to optimize a website manually, without any premade solutions. Therefore, the trend of using B2B extensions has been developed strongly.
The extension includes an extreme-long list of optimal features that can help create the most effective website; hence, businesses can satisfy all B2B buyers.
There are many solutions for various platforms in the market. For example, in this case, Magento is one of the most popular platforms used by over 250 websites worldwide.
If you are running a Magento B2B website, you cannot overlook this Magento 2 B2B extension package. With a one-time payment, you will have 15 different extensions for various purposes, divided into 6 categories:
- Access restriction
- Customer management
- Price management
- Ordering process
- Time-saving refund
- Quick reorder
Let’s check the following video to see how Magento 2 B2B extension optimizes your wholesale business:
The package has helped many B2B businesses drive more sales, gain new customers, have their satisfaction, and build up valuable relationships. Without a doubt, an extension is an optimal solution that you cannot overlook.
Above are all notable B2B eCommerce trends recently. We highly recommend you to consider all those trends not to fall behind the development of the business field.
We hope you have a clear understanding of what is happening in B2B eCommerce and you can easily apply it to your own business. Hopefully, you can succeed in your field.
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