The Future of B2B eCommerce: Trends and Statistics

Payment Options

While commercial businesses have generally accepted the new digital normal and pivoted their sales and marketing toward automated, online channels, the majority continue to rely on manual, traditional payment methods. This is not surprising, as payments, especially at the enterprise level, have always favored the buyer with long payment cycles involving paper checks, open invoices, bills of lading, and buying against an account, which can take weeks or longer to clear.

Customer Experience

With 60% of current B2B purchases influenced or directly made by Millennials, the customer experience will continue to increase in importance for B2B merchants. Millennials are habitual researchers and conduct roughly 12 online searches for each online purchase they make. And when it comes to B2B procurement, 74% of buyers report conducting online research for at least half their purchases.

B2B Personalization

An important subcategory of customer experience is personalization. While it is ubiquitous in B2C retail and most consumer categories, the complexities involved make it more difficult for B2B businesses to fully embrace and adopt. The rise and widespread utilization of account-based marketing (ABM) is helping to close the gap, but with 50% of B2B buyers looking for personalized B2C experiences, commercial vendors need to embrace advanced data and AI strategies and technologies to shift emphasis from the account to the individual buyer.

Customer-centric, Omnichannel Experience

While much has been made about the demise of traditional in-person sales, the reality emerging is more complex and favors a hybrid model that provides both the intimacy of the interpersonal relationship with the speed and efficiency of digital. According to a recent McKinsey report, the omnichannel, customer-centric experience is becoming the new standard, with 80% of B2B leaders endorsing it over the traditional model and 64% planning to increase hybrid sellers over the next half-year.

B2B Marketplaces

Just as with B2C, the marketplace has become the dominant outlet for digital B2B sales, with 94% adoption from business buyers. While 50% of B2C sales are transacted via an online marketplace, a full 75% of B2B transactions are expected to take place via the channel within the next five years, given its efficiency and ability to create broader ecosystems, incorporate new capabilities, and reach new markets, as the ideal model for enterprise .

Digital Self-service

A hallmark of the ideal B2C experience is the ability to perfectly blend self-direction with assisted sales or service. The best B2C brands understood this early on and built online direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels that put them in full control of the buyers’ experiences. With the new digital imperative, B2B brands are quickly following suit.

Security, Privacy, and Fraud Prevention

The transition to digital is not without risk, and the high-profile cyberattacks and fraud typically dominating the news cycle underscore the potential liabilities. For both B2C and B2B businesses, securing customer data and protecting company infrastructure from fraud and security breaches are as equally important as any other aspect of eCommerce. In 2018, the retail industry lost $40 billion (US) to fraud, and according to a recent study, 52% of retail and manufacturing leaders consider security to be the top challenge of eCommerce.

Mobile Commerce

The importance of an omnichannel strategy to B2B eCommerce cannot be overstated and is perfectly encapsulated by the increasing use of mobile for B2B research and purchasing. According to recent research from Google and BCG, mobile makes up at least 70% of B2B searches and influences 40% of revenue.

Conclusion and the Future of B2B eCommerce

While the trends moving commercial businesses toward digital experiences and transactions certainly existed prior to COVID, the pandemic has accelerated them to the point of no return. Making the transition to digital was a life-saving measure for many B2B businesses, but few, if any, are reversing course. B2B eCommerce grew 24% during the crisis and should, according to Gartner, make up 80% of ordering and replenishment by 2024.

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2Checkout (now Verifone)

2Checkout (now Verifone)

2Checkout (now Verifone) is the leading all-in-one monetization platform for global businesses built to help clients drive sales growth across channels.