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The most basic concept of B2B e-commerce is simply your company’s capacity to create and maintain an online platform that your customers can access anywhere they have an internet connection. On that platform your clients can place an order without any human assistance.
Now, while B2B e-commerce might not have seemed like the smartest of investments just a few years ago has now become a major opportunity for growth. A few key factors have turned it into an extremely promising area for business growth.
- Shifts in the aging workforce.
- Widespread online shopping culture.
- COVID-19 and the mobility restrictions.
The first, and without a doubt the most significant, change is how generational shifts are pushing Gen X and Baby Boomers slowly out of the labor force while giving a bigger share of it to Millennials (those ages 21 to 36).
“As of 2017 – the most recent year for which data is available – 56 million Millennials were working or looking for work. That was more than the 53 million Generation Xers, who accounted for a third of the labor force. And it was well ahead of the 41 million Baby Boomers, who represented a quarter of the total. Millennials surpassed Gen Xers in 2016.”
Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/11/millennials-largest-generation-us-labor-force/
The influence that Millennials now hold over business decision making has significantly increased. They are either the ones making the decisions or advice on those decisions.
Millennials, unlike previous generations, grew up with technology and an internet connection. According to research, Millennials actually favor remote meetings as well as work from home schemes. This means we are bound to see more technological integration in the workspace of tomorrow, that is, of course, if you aren’t seeing it already.
Additionally, Millennials have been shopping online for years now and have become accustomed, by retailers such as Amazon, to a very specific buyer’s journey; one where the buyer is in charge of navigating the process and the retailer has to make sure the experience they provide is as hassle-free as possible.
This buying experience is just as important as the product or service being bought, mostly because in a competitive market it is no longer difficult to find alternate suppliers that can provide an all-around better process.
Speaking of Amazon, let’s have a quick look at what they are doing to claim their share of the B2B e-commerce market. Amazon Business is the wholesale division of Amazon. With an independent online platform businesses can access the multitude of providers that Amazon has amongst its suppliers.
The entire platform is designed to mimic the regular Amazon buying experience with the difference of bulk pricing, delivery, tax exemptions and so on. Amazon Business then becomes an easy way for companies of different sizes to find, compare, and purchase products at discounted prices, with the all-too-familiar experience that Amazon provides.
Moreover they also offer a Prime-like exclusive membership that grants companies special and exclusive benefits, such as free and expedited shipping on some products. While these perks may seem innocent enough, they actually reinforce the buyer’s journey most people have come to expect while doing online shopping.
Finally, it’s time to talk about COVID-19. It has thrown a curve ball to many, many industries; some of which still have no clarity for a path to recuperation. With social distancing and quarenties companies that had previously depended on brick-and-mortar stores and face-to-face to conduct business have seen their bottom line completely devastated.
On the other hand, some businesses have not only continued business as usual, but prospered in the face of the pandemic. The question is, which ones? Aside from essencial businesses, those companies with the best prospects during and post coronavirus where those that had strong and robust online presence, more so if they have full sales capacities online.
What additional features can be accessed through eCommerce?
Create a visually attractive storefront designed to enhance user experience.
Easy to use marketing tools like push notifications, coupon codes, emails, all integrated with social media.
Setup excellent cross and up sell promotions to maximize average order size.