B2B commerce

9 e-Commerce Trends for B2B in 2021

Changes in buyer demographics of B2B companies and technological advancements have impacted the B2B eCommerce industry.

Changes in buyer demographics of B2B companies and technological advancements have impacted the B2B eCommerce industry. Millennials are more digitally savvy and dependent on technology, while Gen X buyers have taken up most leadership roles.

As a result, B2B eCommerce has experienced remarkable growth, and the industry keeps evolving every day. The B2B customer of today shops on eCommerce sites and appreciates convenience, speed, security, and personalization.

Here are some eCommerce trends for B2B to be on the lookout for in 2021 to achieve business success.

#1. Digital Marketing

In the past years, marketing strategies involved cold calling, tradeshow, or marketing collateral. However, technological advancement has seen these traditional marketing schemes phase out in favour of digital ones like social media and eBooks.

Nowadays, the typical B2B consumer does several searches before deciding to buy from a specific company. As a result, more and more marketing budgets are channelled to digital efforts that provide a personalized shopping experience.

Many eCommerce businesses are moving to Artificial Intelligence like search marketing and chatbots to gain an edge over the competition. Augmented and Virtual Reality are expected to play a principal role in the marketing arena to improve customer experience. More businesses will launch AR and VR in their virtual events to throw experiential elements into their marketing campaigns.

#2. Educative Material 

More and more B2B businesses are starting to embrace SEO to get traffic to their companies. That has led to more B2B companies providing a wealth of educational materials and articles about their products and services. More companies seek to gain the trust of their customers by proving that they are indeed experts in their respective industries.

Some companies are now using videos and graphical content to showcase their products and their benefits. This strategy has significant results in attracting potential consumers. Sharing educational content on social media is helping B2B businesses remain visible to their target consumers. 

#3. Customer Personalization

Customer experience is a significant factor in B2B eCommerce. B2B consumers looking for suppliers tend to appreciate personalization. It is a chief factor in deciding whether to buy from a brand or not. Well, personalization sure comes at a cost. But it is a worthwhile investment.

To achieve the most in their personalization efforts, companies are embracing Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. They are also taking advantage of customer data to create more specific buyer personas. There are various ways of customer personalization to draw more customers to your business.

For example, you could give recommendations to your consumers based on their previous purchases. Give services based on customer location or be keen on sending personalized follow-up emails.  

#4. Cybersecurity

One of the main challenges that eCommerce businesses are facing in the digital transformation is security concerns. The digital shift has many benefits but is constantly at risk of cyber-attacks. The increasingly growing shift to eCommerce has made it a ripe target for criminals. Customers are also becoming aware of the importance of data security.

They feel safer engaging with businesses that assure them of their data privacy. For example, your business could acquire the cheap yet premium GeoTrust wildcard SSL to secure your multiple first-level subdomains within the same certificate. An SSL certificate secures the data that is transmitted between the web browser and the client server. Malicious cybercriminals cannot intercept the connection.  

#5. Customer Loyalty Programs

Customer loyalty programs are no longer a reserve for B2C companies. Customer loyalty programs are becoming more popular in the B2B Ecommerce world. They are an excellent way to cross-sell or upsell as well as gain new customers. I mean, it is easier to keep an existing customer than it is to get a new one.

That necessitates a reward system to keep the current customers coming back. Returning customers are even more likely to spend more because they know the product is tried and tested. You could use a referral reward program where a customer gets a bonus for referring the business to other new customers. You could also have rewards for clients’ first purchases.  

#6. Diverse Payment Options

More B2B businesses are offering diverse payment options for their customers. Companies are updating their payment methods to include digital wallets. Technological advancement has shifted the game from traditional paper checks to electronic transfers that are faster.

B2B businesses were slower in getting on the trend, but they are now quickly appreciating the improved cash flow that these new payment options are offering. Diversifying payment options ensures that no potential customer is locked out.  Other than that, ensure that your eCommerce is secure so that users can trust it. You can do this by getting an SSL certificate.

#7. Eco-consciousness and Sustainability

The future of B2B businesses seems to be one where companies are conscious about minimizing their environmental impact. More people across the world, of all demographics, are becoming aware of environmental issues. And they are keen on playing their part in caring for the planet.

Businesses prioritizing ethical and sustainable solutions in their manufacturing processes are staying on top of the competition. B2B eCommerce businesses are optimizing their delivery and other processes to reduce their carbon footprint. 

#8. Faster Deliveries

Millennials are a generation of instant gratification. As a result, there is the need for speed in possibly all processes. Customers appreciate shipping options that are as fast as those for B2C companies. With the ever-growing customer demands, offering faster order fulfilment is a surefire way to appeal to customers.

B2B companies can optimize their fulfilment processes using order management software that is excellent for reducing supply chain complexities and managing orders from different platforms. Alternatively, fast scaling businesses can opt for third-party fulfilment software to manage their orders. 

#9. M-Commerce

More than half of the internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Therefore, B2B eCommerce businesses need to optimize their businesses to ensure more mobile-friendliness. Creating a remarkable mobile experience is likely to lead to more conversions.  

Bottom Line

There are so many trends. Some trends may add significant value to your business, while others may be too expensive to shift to or may not be the best for your target market. For example, if you own a website with numerous first-level subdomains under a primary domain and plan to expand in the future, you need to secure your site with a wildcard SSL certificate.

Activating an SSL certificate moves your site to an HTTPS domain with which customers and other prospects will feel safe interacting. However, it is not enough to launch a website. It would be best if you prioritized cybersecurity constantly. To determine which trends are worth putting in time and effort, you need to stay updated with your industry reports, request feedback from your customers, and evaluate how well the trends work on your competition. 

Source: 9 eCommerce Trends for B2B in 2021 – Influencive

Eelco Krikke

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