Yes, perhaps the B2B space isn’t quite up to speed with B2C in terms of e-commerce, but the numbers don’t lie — B2B is going digital.
But even despite the clear shift toward B2B e-commerce, there are still a number of misconceptions surrounding the industry. From a misunderstanding of the complex technology available to a naivety around automation best practices, let’s demystify the most common myths.
The belief that you're not selling B2B.
The number one reason many brands say they aren’t selling B2B is because they don’t realize they are already doing it.
Selling B2B can be a variety of things:
Distribution relationships with large or chain retailers.
Selling to organizations (schools, businesses, nonprofits).
You do not need a separate e-commerce site in order to sell B2B. Instead, you can optimize site engagement and SEO on a single URL and use customer groups to allow for personalized browsing experiences for your B2B segment.
B2B customers don’t want to order online.
As the new generation comes to managerial and purchasing power age, their preferred method of purchasing, ecommerce, may surpass older processes.
In general, B2B customers want to see their B2C conveniences transfer over.
41% say that self-service functionality is one of the top three ways B2B companies could make it easier for them to shop online.
73% of B2B execs say that customer expectations for personalized experiences are significantly higher today compared to just a few years ago.
50% of B2B buyers identified improved personalization as a key feature when searching for online suppliers with whom to build relationships, with consumers spending 48% more when their experience is personalized.
A recent report found that millennial B2B buyers aren’t just coming –– they are here. In 2020, close to half of B2B buyers were millennials — nearly double the amount from 2012.Top lead generation firm in Toronto, Canada
Today, 73% of millennials are involved in the B2B buying process.
Today's B2B buyer conducts approximately 12 online searches before making a purchase from a specific brand.
44% of millennials are making purchasing decisions.
33% say they are key influencers or recommenders in the ordering process.
Only 2% reported not being involved at all in purchasing decisions.
And they shop differently than their generational peers. A Heinz and SnapApp study found:
Millennial buyers are far more independent than Generation X or baby boomer buyers during their path to purchase: They conduct extensive research on their own before making any purchasing decisions.
While Generation X and baby boomer buyers rely on salespeople for guidance, millennial buyers are more likely to rely on the opinions of peers or outside experts than to trust a salesperson: They actively avoid engaging with sales early on; nearly 60% say they don’t engage with a salesperson until they’re in the middle of a purchasing decision.
These buying behaviors mimic B2C buying behaviors in which brands must educate, build trust and build community before a purchasing decision is made — or even considered.
If you want your brand to show up in those buying committees, you must have an online presence.
Ecommerce requires price transparency.
An overwhelming majority (89%) of B2B researchers use the Internet in their research process and they conduct 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. This increased reliance on ecommerce implies that B2B customers expect B2B sites to incorporate B2C-like practices, such as price transparency, personalization and convenience, into the customer experience.
However, with low margins and fierce competitors looking to underbid a B2B business, Best Outbound Call Center many brands may not want their prices available to the public.
This safeguarding of the supply chain is understandable, and it’s why many ecommerce solutions offer price availability only after a customer logs in. This means only your customers see the prices — and that prices can be presented exactly as negotiated for individual customers.
You can also use your site to enable product visibility, but require customers who are not logged in to their customer groups (likely a prospect) to call in to get prices.
The key is to find a balance between automated price personalization for prospective B2B customers and negotiated for those who are ready to purchase.