ECommerce or not? One of the biggest debates when it comes to a traditional B2B business is whether or not it should make the transition to eCommerce models. Some insist that eCommerce is a must since it’s trending, other remain skeptical because the transition for a B2B company is not as easy as B2C.
Based on our experiences and insights, TMO Group believes that shifting your traditional B2B business to eCommerce is beneficial and inevitable, and below are our top 5 reasons to support:
1. To save your costs in multiple ways
The one thing that a lot of traditional businesses have not realized yet is that, certain costs can be reduced if businesses start to go eCommerce.
The truth is: Internet can reduce costs for both buyers and sellers in the B2B world. For a buyer, it is absolutely more cost-effective to search for products online; as for sellers, the Internet allows them to reach more potential customers at a lower cost.
One of the biggest complaints in traditional B2B business is the intermediary fee. Intermediaries take on many guises in B2B business: you receive less revenue if you have an intermediary in between; you don’t have full control of the business negotiation, etc.
Thanks to an integrated B2B eCommerce system, intermediary is no longer needed. Buyers may use the Internet to avoid intermediary fees by viewing a product online and then contacting the seller directly, or buyers may go online to determine the market price for a particular good and then trade with an existing supplier.
2. To meet user expectations from Omni-channel
Omni-channel: to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or offline in store.
“The customer is god”, the old saying illustrates that the key of a success business is to meet the expectations of your customers, no matter how hard they are to please.
So what does B2B buyers want today? As mentioned before, 2016’s B2B buyers are social savvy: buyers today want a B2C-like shopping experiences in B2B’s world. Customers today would love to see those great features in B2C eCommerce can be featured in B2B business.
Moreover, buyers today tend to seek B2B suppliers from different channels, which brought the new task for B2B business: how to upgrade your business to omni-channel eCommerce. Though most purchases were ultimately completed on desktop computers, mobile usage is guaranteed to continue to grow.
3. Payment improvement while easy order management
B2B ecommerce is far more varied than what most would think of when they consider B2C, especially on payment. B2B customers often require the ability to pay with a credit account or with other traditional offline terms and at pre- agreed varying discount levels. Other than those, other payment models are widely used for buyers: Installment, online deposit + offline full settlement, Online + offline payment, etc.
Multiple payment options seem easier for customers to complete the transaction, however it makes B2B seller more difficult to keep in track of all the orders and payment status. Luckily, integrated B2B eCommerce platform can build a bridge before customer’s wants and seller’s need. The platform enables buyers or sellers do customize the payment plan, and both the buyers and the sellers can view the process.
4. Better engagement of customers
Before with a traditional sales force, to stay connect with your customers seem difficult. But with the help of eCommerce, you can literally reach everyone, everywhere at the same time.
One of the greatest functions offered by B2B eCommerce platform is “customer groups”. More specifically, B2B companies can classify customers into groups on the backend. Then, you can set pricing, minimum order requirements and group-specific content (like promotions, shipping and payment options) for each segment. Thus customers get what they want as well: group-specific discounts and loyalty benefits.
Another advantage for eCommerce is that B2B business can use online traffic to conduct customer analytics. Interesting data like page views, time spend on page can be viewed via eCommerce backend. These variables help business owners to recognize shopper’s habits, and show the businesses where to improve.
5. Fully support on cross-border commerce
Whether you are a foreign manufacturer eyeing on China market, or you’re a company based in China looking forward to sell overseas, you can benefit from eCommerce platform and improve your profitability. The obvious strength for eCommerce is that: it never closes. Your customers may be anywhere on the planet, in any time zone and shopping at any hour. You can literally “sell while you sleep”.
What’s more, payment settlement will be solved. Integrated eCommerce platform will offer cross-border payment options to save the trouble from both the customers and the suppliers.
Last but not least, cross-border eCommerce will solve international logistics problem. A cross-border commerce website complies with local laws. Customers only have to pay the goods and related customs duty once they receive their purchase, while the e-shop handles everything else. Platforms will ensure reliable payment between companies, and the shipment of the goods as well.
As demonstrated, eCommerce in international trade is the best approach that a traditional enterprise can choose in its transformation.
Wondering what your next step would be? Connect TMO Group and find the solution your enterprise will need.
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