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B2B e-Commerce Trends

It is perceived as the new market place: adoption is a far greater priority than increasing store or branch presence. Developing a B2B e-Commerce offering is already a priority for B2B organisations in the UK.

Digitising sales platforms and improving customer reach

The current focus is on digitising sales platforms and improving customer reach:

International accessibility (multi-country websites). This proportion is expected to increase significantly over the next two to three years.
Enhancing distribution routes Part of this strategy is to partner with a suitable distribution network, like Amazon, possibly to alleviate logistical concerns apparent for most businesses in the UK.
Enhancing website compatibility (e.g. smartphones). With technological advancements facilitating the procurement of goods on the move through smartphones and tablets, business use of online platforms will rapidly grow (Pramod Dibble, Frost & Sullivan, Visionary Innovation Group Consultant).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is widely recognised and utilised by businesses in the UK, However many businesses are yet to see full benefits. Google Indexing is considered essential for SEO.

Private industrial networks

Private industrial networks, where specific companies come together to exchange products, and public market places that are employed for on-the-spot purchasing, have gained prominence over the last decade. With businesses buying more than selling online, these B2Ctype open public networks help provide more visibility and storefront capabilities to sellers. (Frost & Sullivan Visionary Innovation Group, Team Lead Archana Vidyasekar)

Cloud platforms

The emergence of cloud platforms that offer more scalability, both as a software and infrastructure service, too is pushing businesses towards B2B online retailing.

Personalisation

The timing is right for companies considering B2B to engage in multichannel discussions and to begin creating a personalisation roadmap that addresses the challenges of interacting with customers. Moving away from a one size fits all approach to a more dynamic unique experience for each customer across channels will help drive higher adoption and satisfaction. When applied to growing or underutilised channels, personalisation can be the most effective B2B e-Commerce strategies in transforming companies in gaining more customer engagement and revenue.

The main benefit of personalisation to B2B online shoppers is the ability to find the information relevant to the products and services they’re interested in, quickly and easily. From personalised content, offers and product recommendations, it allows B2B buyers to spend less time re-ordering and seeking out items they didn’t know they needed.

And the benefits to businesses are significant. By 2018, Gartner predicts, B2B companies with effective personalisation on their e-Commerce sites will outsell by 30% competitors without the same level of personalisation. B2B companies who still rely heavily on catalogue, phone and fax ordering must realise the cost savings and efficiencies associated with B2B e-Commerce, or risk falling behind the competition.

Of the various categories for B2B products and services, those prime to gain the most advantages from personalisation are those with: high volume content, large number of SKUs, many categories, high frequency of purchases, high replenishable goods, new product introductions, and high margins. Those that match well consist of industrial goods and supplies, healthcare, MRO (maintenance, repair operations), apparel, and lab and medical suppliers.

Direct to Consumer (DTC)

As the content and commerce trend continues, manufacturers and distributors are now choosing to sell Direct to Consumer (DTC).

References

# Trends in B2B e-Commerce in the UK, Research 2013 White Paper. Salmon Ltd, STIBO SYSTEMS
# The 2015 e-Commerce Trend Report, A review of 2014 and what to expect in 2015. ecommerce expo
#http://insights.ecommerceexpo.co.uk/can-b2b-learn-b2c-ecommerce-key-differences/
#http://insights.ecommerceexpo.co.uk/taking-first-leap-towards-b2b-personalisation/

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