Category: eCommerce

6 Key Business Benefits of B2B E-Commerce

Whether you’re a seasoned online sales expert or just starting on your journey towards e-commerce success, you probably already know what a massive difference an online sales portal can make. But are you aware of just how much a web store can do for your organization, and how long the list of B2B e-commerce benefits is?

Recap: A Refresher on What B2B Buyers Want

Do you know what your B2B buyers want? Are your customers demanding an online channel? If you’re already aware of the gaps that need filling, read on to learn more about the six key benefits of B2B e-commerce and see how your business can flourish. If not, check out our latest research – for insights on what your customers want.

Overview: The Top 6 Benefits of B2B E-Commerce in 2019

Benefit 1: Tap More Business Opportunities

A web store can help strengthen your online presence, letting potential clients and resellers find you through search engines.

This is especially effective if you choose to make your catalog pages public. However, even if you decide to keep your catalog private, you can use targeted marketing content in your web store to grab the attention of new clients. (Read the Marketing Edition of our Solution Highlights to learn how Sana can help drive better online marketing).

Benefit 2: Improve B2B E-Commerce Sales

Attracting more clients can help boost your sales, but that’s not the only way a B2B e-commerce platform can help improve your business performance.

Choosing the right B2B e-commerce solution lets you display relevant and specific product recommendations for your visitors. You can make sure your clients see related products, but also items with more features, unlocking powerful cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.

With Sana Commerce, our customers (on average) have reported a 21% jump in e-commerce conversion rates and an 8% jump in revenue as a result of their integrated B2B web store. 

Check out our factsheet for more findings from our customer research survey.

Benefit 3: Lower Your Costs

Growing your revenue while minimizing your costs might sound impossible, but it’s a very real benefit of B2B e-commerce.

Modern technology lets you take almost every aspect of your business online, including order entry, client information provision and customer service. By automating and streamlining these various processes, your company can cut down on unnecessary costs – even while you make your business processes more efficient. This especially true with ERP-integrated B2B e-commerce

See below for a visualization of our customers’ cost-savings today: 

Bonus: get a comprehensive overview on how integrated B2B e-commerce can lower your TCO here.

Benefit 4: Get Customer Feedback

A great online buying experience keeps your clients coming back for more, and it might even help drive sales. After all, what would you trust more: promotional text from a manufacturer or wholesaler, or a positive review from another buyer?

By offering an exceptional B2B web store, you can turn your clients into evangelists. By simply leaving a review, clients sharing their enthusiasm can have an incredible effect on your business, with reviews typically producing a notable uplift in sales.

Benefit 5: Reach New Markets

We already mentioned that a B2B web store can help you reach more clients. And those clients don’t necessarily have to be in your existing markets.

Because your online sales portal won’t rely on the availability of your sales team, your digital sales channel can be available 24/7, 365 days a year. By eliminating the challenge that time differences often pose in the order process, B2B e-commerce makes it easier than ever to serve a wider international market.

Benefit 6: Achieve Data-Centricity with ERP-Integrated B2B E-Commerce

Powerful B2B e-commerce software lets you streamline and automate plenty of processes, and it can also grant unique insight into the data that matters to your sales and marketing operations – especially if you integrate your B2B e-commerce platform with your ERP system.

(Visualize how that works here).

If you have an integrated e-commerce setup, your ERP can calculate detailed sales statistics for each of your clients. Order totals, revenue, profit percentages, or even discounts within a specific time period. With so much data available, there’s no need for vague estimates.

Dive Deeper: Benefits of Integrated B2B E-Commerce

Want even more statistics about the benefits of B2B e-commerce? Now that you’ve got the basics covered, dive deeper into the benefits of a B2B e-commerce experience that’s also integrated with your ERP. This includes jumps in revenue and average order value, improvements in process efficiency, and more.

Check out the findings of our latest customer research from our Benefits of Integrated B2B E-Commerce factsheet.

B2B Buyer Behavior Explained: Online, Offline or Omnichannel?

Our latest research tells us that when it comes to B2B buyer behavior, e-commerce is buyers’ preferred avenue for completing purchases. But the purchasing process today has its hurdles — and these hiccups are forcing buyers to look offline for help.

New Data: An Overview of B2B Buyer Behavior in 2019

We recently commissioned a research report analyzing the B2B buyer behavior, preferences, and challenges of 560 global B2B organizations that are (or that purchase from) wholesalers, manufacturers or distributors.

Here are some insights from that report:

Today, despite a long-standing inclination toward phone orders and email orders (to avoid data entry errors and purchasing challenges), B2B buyers in 2019 are leaning toward e-commerce —even over historically preferred sales channels.

For 71% of buyers today, online is the most used channel for placing orders. But this doesn’t mean B2B e-commerce experiences are overwhelmingly stellar:

While 30% of buyers would prefer to buy 90% or all of their products online, only 19% are currently doing so. (If you’re wondering why, it’s because they can’t do so easily).

One-quarter of B2B buyers want easier and faster checkout, easier repeat ordering, quicker delivery, and better tracking online than is available to them now.

What this tells us is that B2B buyers are likely turning to online channels for a baseline level of convenience, rather than turning to e-commerce because the experiences themselves are up to par with their expectations. This also means they’re often looking offline for answers.

Online vs. Offline: How Purchase Journey Roadblocks Impact Buyers’ Channel Choices

Ultimately, the core of B2B buyers’ challenges is centered on the buyer journey — and more specifically, the friction and hurdles caused by poor experiences throughout the journey. For the purposes of this blog, we will refer to the following four stages of the buyer journey:

  • Problem identification
  • Information search
  • Evaluation of alternatives
  • Purchase decision

In our latest research, found that based solely on a lack of information available online, buyers are forced to pursue offline help from a sales representative at every single stage of the journey.

Here’s what the data says about B2B buyer behavior along the path-to-purchase:

It should be easy to see that if you add up those percentages, you’re looking at a whopping 98% of respondents who reported encountering this challenge at some point during the path toward an online purchase.

Later, once buyers are completing a purchase (or at least trying to), the challenges continue. As many as 58% of B2B buyers surveyed indicated that they encounter order errors online monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, and even daily:

In turn, we’re seeing omnichannel B2B buyer behavior happening as a result of insufficient experiences both online and offline — rather than as a choice based on preference. B2B organizations should strive to improve experiences across all channels, so that buyers are free to engage and purchase via their avenue of choice, and not just be boxed into the least frustrating option.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to these cross-channel customer experience challenges (and others). And it starts with your ERP.

ERP-Integrated E-Commerce: Addressing B2B Buyer’s Top Hurdles

When talking about ERP systems, B2B businesses often overlook the potential of ERP e-commerce. If your business is among them, we’ve got news for you:

Your ERP system is not just a hub for your business logic and data; it can also solve some of the B2B buyer challenges we’ve already outlined, drive a more customer-centric e-commerce experience, and help meet B2B organizations’ key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals:

1. Cost Savings:

E-commerce, even in its most basic and rudimentary form, addresses the cost-savings issue simply by eliminating the time and resources needed to take and manually enter offline sales orders. With ERP-integrated e-commerce, cost savings can be realized even further thanks to further minimized time and effort required to manage and synchronize web store data.

2. Efficiency of the Purchase Process:

If the major challenges during the B2B purchase process revolve around data availability and order errors, then ERP integration is a clear answer. By leveraging your Dynamics or SAP ERP with Sana, you can pull real-time ERP data (like inventory information and product data) into your web store to keep your customers fully informed 24/7. This rich product data can also significantly minimize order errors, such as those caused by incorrect product, inventory, or account data entry.

3. Client Satisfaction:

There will always be a margin for error when it comes to online purchasing, and it’s likely you’ll not be able to provide all the information online that every single customer may need online. This is why — in addition to mitigating current e-commerce challenges as best as you can — it’s also important to focus on an effective omnichannel strategy. By doing so, you can not only minimize the extent to which customers are forced offline due to online challenges, but also provide a smooth and seamless experience for those customers who do switch between online and offline channels by choice.

More Insights: B2B Buyer Behavior, Challenges and Trends

Want to learn (even more) about how you can meet B2B buyers’ unmet demands? Download our newest research report for the latest B2B buyer behavior data and insights.