Business to business (B2B) trade is a familiar concept and model for many commercial business owners, but what is the added layer of e-commerce in this age of digitalisation? Business to business e-commerce is the order transactions between businesses through a digital sales platform. It is usually a segment of a business’ sales efforts and can be used to increase sales as buying efficiency is improved across different stakeholders like wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors through seamless digital processes and integration.
According to a white paper from DHL Express on business to business e-commerce, the sector is going through rapid transformation and is set to see accelerated growth in the coming years with 80% of all B2B sales interactions between suppliers and professional buyers taking place online by 2025. While the B2B market was already making the gradual shift online, the onset of COVID-19 sped up the process.
The pandemic spotlighted B2B e-commerce gaps and vulnerabilities including the need for B2B supply chains to be more flexible. B2B businesses that shift online are less dependent on traditional sales activities and the data-driven nature of e-commerce allows them to make the most of cross border opportunities.
Here’s how you can navigate the digitalisation of business to business transactions through e-commerce:
E-commerce platforms can be set up on your own website or through a third party website. Third-party websites host and manage online sales for other businesses and may seem like a convenient initial choice. However, you may face some downsides with a third-party website such as difficulty in keeping track of inventory, loss of brand value and marketability in a product-focused third-party platform, and incurring additional costs for listings, advertisements and promotions.
Setting up your own B2B e-commerce website to display products, accept and manage orders and payments, ship orders, track delivery, run promotions and converse with your customers is much more favorable in the long run.
Some advantages of establishing your own B2B e-commerce website include:
The right scalable e-commerce solutions can help B2B businesses achieve long term goals and provide great customer experience. With your own B2B e-commerce website, you have access to website and customer metrics that helps you in making data driven decisions for growth and increased business performance. When you get to see first hand what works and how customers are responding, you know where to focus your e-commerce efforts to scale.
Any business owner can attest to the hassle of going back and forth with third party service providers. You can remove cluttered processes by operating your own B2B e-commerce website. This enables you to manage the inventory in a simplified manner and gives you the ease of adjusting your products and promotions based on what your customers want and how your business is doing.
You are also able to effectively tweak listings, descriptions, advertising and promotions without extra costs or the challenge of liaising with a third party website provider. This flexibility and being in charge of your own processes greatly increases your operational efficiency so you can focus on growing your B2B business.
The number of e-commerce companies is multiplying on a daily basis. To stay visible and competitive without being passed up by your customers, brand awareness is incredibly important. This applies to B2B businesses as well. You can stay relevant with brand awareness through methods such as highlighting your unique selling points, marketing through storytelling, connecting with customers through social media, and utilizing digital marketing strategies. According to Global Banking & Finance Review, customers are more likely to buy from a brand they know or deem as trustworthy, so it is critical for your brand value to be easily evident.
With scaling and brand awareness, you get more web traffic that will drive up sales. By having your own B2B e-commerce website, you have a better understanding of your customers and this helps to diversify your product range to meet their needs while keeping operating costs to a minimum without additional fees. As your business grows through the branding efforts and the flexibility of quick operational adaptations based on customer data, you can see an uptick in sales and profit margins.
As the world’s leading international express service provider, DHL Express has increased its flight network and infrastructure to serve growing demands. In line with the digital transformation and growth of e-commerce, DHL Express has the airfreight capabilities to support B2B businesses in the timely fulfillment of orders. Take your B2B business journey to the global stage with speed, security and reliability for a satisfactory customer experience.