Forrester Research estimates that business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce transactions will reach $1.2 trillion by 2021; Frost & Sullivan estimated $6.6 trillion. We don’t know why the large discrepancy there, but we know eCommerce is here to stay.
Pay attention to these B2B eCommerce trends:
More Millennial Buyers
We wrote about how millennials are the new B2B decision-makers; they’re working their way up the corporate ladder into positions that allow them to make purchasing decisions for their companies.
The millennials’ penchant for technology means you’ll have to keep things more online and more mobile – relationships matter to millennials, but not at a sacrifice of ease of use and user experience. And, with their “coming of age” happening as social media was exploding, they’re susceptible to ‘social proof,’ so make reviews and testimonials a priority.
For some, desktops/laptops may still be the preferred way to access the internet, so no matter what you hear about mobile, mobile, mobile, don’t neglect optimizing your site for all screen sizes. Your website should be scalable, have easily clickable text/CTAs/images, and have SSL for security.
While it is critical to remember all screen sizes when optimizing your website, the need for mobile responsiveness is at an all-time high. More than half of searchers are using mobile for the entire buying process, so it’s critical to create a mobile-friendly experience that facilitates research, purchase, and account management.
B2B websites traditionally used landing pages to collect lead information – which is ok if you use that information to cultivate relationships – but fewer buyers are interested in being contacted directly by … well, anyone. People want self-service options that don’t require them to hear sales scripts or wait for business hours.
Customers want to interact with you on their terms; increasingly, that means more than just going to your website. They want you to be available on social media, email, chat, messaging, and yes, even the phone. They want real-time customer service, self-service portals (as noted above), and, most of all, for you to have a comprehensive view of the relationship so your conversations consider all previous communication and can pick up “where you left off.”
Another trend attributed to millennials, video is the top-engaging content on websites right now. Written content has its place – whitepapers, guides, blogs, etc. all offer useful information – but they’re less likely to build brand trust and cultivate the person-to-person feeling buyers want.
ECommerce isn’t a luxury now, it’s a necessity. If you don’t adapt to this new way of selling, your competition will, and you’ll lose customers, sales, and profits. Want to kick around eCommerce ideas? Contact us!