There is a saying in marketing, that B2B buyers are 80 per cent sure of what their decision will be before they enter the market. Nonetheless, many B2B sellers are relying on word of mouth to build their pipelines.
There is a huge opportunity for those in B2B to enter the online space. In the Magento ebook Are You Missing Out On Ecommerce? the authors describe five reasons why B2B organisations should go online:
- The market is getting bigger;
- B2B buyers are getting younger;
- B2B buyers who shop online buy more;
- There is an increasing uptake of mobile device use; and
- Online content has a huge influence on sales.
The Market is getting bigger
According to Frost and Sullivan, the global B2B ecommerce market is set to hit $US6.6 trillion and surpass B2C sales by 2020.
Millions of businesses are buying through Amazon Business, which has more than $US10 billion in annual sales.
All of this shows that the market is only going up.
B2B buyers are getting younger
People who grew up with technology will inevitably be the ones who are responsible for B2B purchases, according to the authors.
A study by Merit showed that 73 per cent of 20- to 35-year-olds help decide which products and services to buy at their companies.
This means businesses will need to invest in an ecommerce solution to reach these younger buyers.
B2B buyers who shop online buy more
Making the process simpler can boost that advantage further. By suggesting related products and offering easy reordering based on past orders, B2B companies are increasing sales, Magento says.
In a Forrester survey of B2B companies, 42 per cent of respondents said the average order value of digital purchases was increasing.
A study by McKinsey showed that B2B leaders generate five times more revenue than the average company.
B2B shoppers who research online are more likely to buy on their first visit to your physical branch or store. That means if you don’t have ecommerce, you’ll miss out on sales.
B2B buyers love their mobile phones
Studies show that mobile device usage drives an average of more than 40 per cent of revenue in leading B2B organisations.
Mobiles are used for many purposes — not just shopping. They can be used for researching products or ordering materials while in remote locations.
However, the mobile experience must be seamless in order to be effective. According to Google and BCG, 90 per cent of B2B buyers who report a superior mobile experience are likely to buy again from the same vendor, as compared to about 50 per cent of those reporting a poor mobile experience.
Online content has a huge influence on sales
Traditional sales processes are becoming outdated, with B2B buyers researching online to avoid a salesperson. In fact, 68 per cent of B2B customers prefer to research independently online, and 60 per cent would rather not talk with a salesperson.
The authors argue that this online independence from consumers will impact your online content and experience in both positive and negative ways.
And most B2B companies are planning accordingly. Fifty-eight per cent of manufacturing marketers named changes to SEO algorithms as their top marketing issue. And 89 per cent of B2B companies surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute say they have a content marketing strategy in place.
However, nearly one-third of B2B buyers still say they can’t find the product information they need online.
What does this mean for you? If you don’t have ecommerce and rich online product content, you won’t be on the short list — or the long list.
About the author
Athina Mallis is the editor of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Magento is a corporate member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Memberships fees apply.