Online trading, the initiation, and the processing of business via digital channels is no longer big news. This applies at least to online trading towards private customers. There is still a lot of catching up to do in the B2B sector. Interestingly, companies that have already implemented proven e-commerce solutions for their end customers are also more than reluctant to do business with business customers. Why is that?
Let’s first look at the digital B2B market. According to studies, in 2018, around 1.3 trillion euros (i.e., 1,300 billion!) were electronically transferred between business customers. The majority of this revenue volume is accounted for by automated processes that enable transactions between business customers to be carried out electronically in an uncomplicated manner. Only around a quarter was (classically) generated via websites, online shops, and marketplaces – in other words, those digital places where private customers can otherwise found. After all, many companies already have know-how and experience in this segment in particular. So what is the difference between B2C and B2B?
The solutions are as individual as the clients themselves. First of all, it is essential to know one’s position and the mindset of the customer. The e-commerce agency DeSight Studio has set itself the mission of supporting companies in this area.
Exploring new ways
Practice shows that many industries still rely on traditional sales channels – because it has always been the case. For example, the building materials trade products are always requested by fax (or in the meantime even by e-mail). Even the pleasant old salesman visits don’t die out. By this procedure, the customers miss possibly even product innovations or better offers. As an already digitally well-positioned provider, there is a good chance that a new sales channel will arouse demand – and satisfy it.
The lowest common denominator
Honestly: The B2B area is somewhat more complicated to cover than the B2C sector. There are often individual price agreements between suppliers and customers. Personal manufacturing, delivery, and invoicing arrangements also add to the complexity. Production “on-demand” and delivery “just in time” are not easily visualized in an online shop. Here it is advisable to determine one’s location within the market and to define core processes that can also be easily handled and implemented digitally.
Transfer of knowledge
In practice, the mechanisms of a digital B2B process do not need to imparted from scratch. After all, the computers of the purchasing departments are used by people who have gained sufficient experience with websites, online shops, and marketplaces in their private lives. They now also use Amazon and Alibaba for research purposes – and often enough for ordering – in the business sector. Many (smaller) commercial providers have recognized this trend and use these marketplaces for their B2B sales. Whether a company should go this way depends on its product and sales structure – it is always worth considering!
As a digital agency, DeSight Studio is always ready to support small and large companies in the design and creation of digital sales channels in the B2B sector. As always, the solutions are as individual as the clients themselves. First of all, it is essential to know your position and the mindset of your (potential) customers. From this, possible solutions be derived that generate benefits for all parties involved. It is not decisive where the trend in this market segment is heading. It is much more essential to develop a win-win situation in which digitization is not just a means to an end, but the meaningful focus.