Forrester Research reported in 2017 that B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce transactions will climb to $1.2 trillion by 2021.
Within the United States, this accounts for more than 13% of all B2B sales. That figure is up $889 billion in sales calculated at the end of 2018.
None of this is surprising considering more day-to-day decisions are left in the hands of millennials, the first generation to grow up with the internet. These digital natives have forced B2B businesses to follow the lead of business-to-consumer companies. Business-to-business companies need to think outside-the-box when it comes to workflow management and support for duties, such as sales forecasting and vendor selection.
However, many B2B organizations are working with decades-old workflow management tools that don’t provide the collaboration, communication, flexibility features they need. To best follow in the footsteps of B2C, new digital systems and tools need to be customized to meet the needs of B2B e-commerce facilitators.
What This Means for B2B E-Commerce Payments
This shift away from time-consuming processes, like mailing paper invoices and accepting checks for payments, is forcing B2B financing and credit to change. This has triggered a need for real-time payments and credits for B2B e-commerce operators.
The transformation will be best addressed through the implementation of a new automated system that more closely mirrors payment solutions instead of credit options. This type of workflow overhaul with personalized payment terms will result in faster turnaround times, reduced costs in doing businesses for manufacturers and distributors, and allow for bulk purchases.
The Way to Win
As new generations of buyers and sellers with unique purchasing behaviors entering the market, there is no choice but for B2B e-commerce operators to adapt to meet their needs. Some of the best moves will be from interacting with sales teams directly to automating some tasks. They also will need to take into their demands to purchase in stores, online, and with their mobile devices. Finally, B2B also needs to change its focus customer, and sales support will become automated or funneled through digital self-service channels.
The B2B companies that view digital e-commerce as a holistic system, not just a way to order products online, will succeed. In addition to embracing new technology and innovations, there needs to be an organizational shift. This won’t come easy because it requires support from leaders and complete adoption of new digital capabilities.
The groundwork is laid for progressive momentum with digital transformation when leadership support, employee engagement, and stealth knowledge of customers are integrated.
Also, any digital strategy cannot be hyper-focused on replacing sales teams and trimming down its pool of customer service representatives. They play critical roles in building quality customer experiences at B2B companies. The problem is much of their time is wasted on low-return activities, like taking orders and searching for inventory.
The best digital strategy will put sales and customer service reps in charge of higher value-added activities, like providing better customer experiences and offer valuable data to their customers.
B2B businesses that will really thrive are those that focus less on getting people to buy whatever they are selling and start developing tactics that making doing business with them more straightforward. A holistic, fully-optimized e-commerce experience begins with a strategy that considers and implements all necessary strategies.
Apply for Merchant Account Services
B2B businesses that are in need of merchant account services or processing should contact eMerchantBroker.com. EMB offers all types of payment solutions. Apply online today.