Prior to 2021, the B2B demographic was made up of baby boomers and members from Generation X. Back then, a lot of the B2B sales transacted were a result of conventional methods such as face-to-face interactions, trade shows, and the review of physical data sheets and print ads.
However in recent times, the research indicates that at least 73% of Millennials are involved in B2B purchasing decisions. This is noteworthy especially as they are more inclined to show a preference for online transactions, also demanding a personalized shopping experience with flexibility and transparency in their purchase options. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the shift of buyers towards transacting online.
Challenges of adapting to the new normal
The rapid changes occurring in buyer trends has left many B2B retailers in a difficult position. There is now a pressing need for them to provide a better purchase experience for their immediate customers (distributors, SMEs, etc.) but also to create better value for the final customer. Those who decide to maintain the traditional ways of doing business may still be able to squeeze profit for a while through their loyal customer base, but will likely find themselves losing relevance in the market over the longer term.
A digital makeover is no simple task. It requires an upfront investment of time, money, and people to set up an online B2B commerce channel and the processes that come with it. At the same time, a shift in mindset and buy-ins from customers and stakeholders are needed. Nevertheless, indecision is a major reason why most B2B retailers are unable to make the shift to e-commerce. The digital transformation journey is meant to have clear objectives in mind, overcoming obstacles such as the above and taking into consideration the key aspects of a successful B2B ecommerce model.
Trendsetters: B2B Companies finding success with ecommerce
What makes a successful digital transformation journey for B2B retailers? Here’s a list of companies who have been able to adapt their business models and successfully establish B2B ecommerce in order to meet the demands of the marketplace.
Launched in 1999, Chinese-based Alibaba is the world’s biggest global e-commerce website, and one of the best B2B examples in e-commerce. To start with, over 18 million buyers and sellers from around 240 countries are using Ali Baba’s platform as a B2B marketplace.
Alibaba’s online B2B platform gathers customers with similar needs to form a powerful purchasing group that can buy single products at a wholesale price. In addition, Alibaba also takes advantage of Analytics, where massive online customer behavior data is available to them to develop products suited to particular customer habits.
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher is an American provisioner of scientific instrumentation and consumables for healthcare, life science, academia, government, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. It was created in 2006 by the merger of Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific, to form a company with USD $9 billion in combined revenues.
The company’s ecommerce platform, while basic in its front-end features, provides sufficiently detailed categorization and specifications of its comprehensive portfolio of products and services. Its Quick Order option allows returning customers to quickly and easily add products to their shopping cart, with the bulk upload option especially useful for large order placements. Thermo Fisher’s B2B platform also provides essential ecommerce features such as user registration, search functionality, order management, and online support.
OpenTable is an online restaurant reservation service company founded in 1998. The company's home market consists of the United States, and has since expanded to several countries around the world including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. According to the company, it provides online reservations for more than 60,000 restaurants around the world and seats over 1 billion diners per year.
Reservations through OpenTable’s website are free to end users; the company charges restaurants flat monthly and per-reservation fees for their use of the system.
Unlike Google's table reservation service, OpenTable has taken the extra step with its own reward program. Users can earn points on reservations while logged into their account, which can then be accumulated and redeemed for a variety of rewards. Users can also sign up to receive dining offers from both OpenTable and participating restaurants.
Para las empresas, OpenTable ofrece una amplia gama de servicios, entre ellos, automatizaciones de marketing, gestión de listas de espera, personalizaciones de comida para llevar, integración de POS, integración de servicios de entrega, agregación / gestión de opiniones de los usuarios, planificación de turnos, además de proporcionar información útil para el negocio. La profundidad de la solución integral de OpenTable para restaurantes y la hostelería, con su presencia global, la coloca muy por delante de sus competidores en su segmento.
Profile: Since 1975, Pladur has been a pioneer in the fabrication and installation of laminated plasterboards in Spain, evolving to produce partition systems and other construction products. It has worked its way towards being Spain’s leading drywall solutions provider, serving customers through its significant network of distributors across the country. Pladur has established an international presence in more than 40 countries.
Pladur faced increasing competition in its sector, as the lower barrier of entry allowed newer players to eat away at its market share. The company laboured to differentiate itself, relying on conventional methods to drive sales and marketing activities. As such, Pladur identified the need for a customized B2B2C ecommerce solution, putting the company, its distributors, and the final customer on the same online platform.
This platform not only unified all the players in the value chain, but also acted as a wholly integrated business ecosystem that incorporated all the existing sales channels, analytic tools, marketing automations and other commercial functions. The optimization of logistics and warehouse management was made possible with the solution, significantly reducing lead times in the order fulfilment process. Pladur’s B2B2C ecommerce platform also empowered distributors through their very own personalized storefronts and catalogs.
What aspects of B2B or B2B2C ecommerce would you like to know more about? Are you keen to learn more about ecommerce solutions such as the above? Reach out to us!
Marketing & Sales Assistant at Orienteed.