With the newly emerging B2B eCommerce market trends, a global B2B eCommerce market share is estimated to reach USD 25.65 Trillion, Expanding at a CAGR of 18.7% from 2022 to 2028.
Despite having a sluggish trend of adapting eCommerce in the pre-COVID era eCommerce, B2B brands are now significantly shifting towards digital means to boost revenue streams through eCommerce channels. That is something accelerated after the COVID19 pandemic and another inspiration coming from the remarkable success of Amazon Business and the evolving B2B customer demographic.
B2B Ecommerce Statistics
Let’s look at the numbers that reveal the significance of today’s top B2B eCommerce trends.
Almost half of B2B businesses prefer blogging as their prime marketing approach, while the rest look to sending emails and uploading engaging content on social and digital media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. Digital approaches in content marketing have replaced conventional print advertisements and flyers, and B2B customers are exploring different brands across the said digital channels.
Almost 30% of content demand is pushed by audiences in IT, followed by CEOs, HR departments, marketing, and the education sector.
B2B customers expect a multitude of digital efforts from brands, like:
- 45% want personalized content in the form of blog posts or articles
- 44% are looking for interactive and user-friendly ROI calculators
- 38% seek support for augmented reality.
According to research, over 50% of B2B decision-makers claim that video was the most useful content to engage and convert prospects into customers, followed closely by comprehensive case studies.
Once the sales funnel was almost linear, but now 90% of B2B customers enter and exit the funnel to reenter the at different layers.
Around 80% of B2B purchase decisions are driven by customers’ direct or indirect CX, and only 20% are driven by the price structures or the discount offers.
Evolving B2B eCommerce Trends
In 2021, almost 50% of B2B customers were millennials, nearly 2x the number of millennials in the early 2010s.
With the changing demographics of B2B customers, businesses are also witnessing significant changes in their revenue cycles.
If Gen X customers prefer to have a brick and mortar store experience for their purchase journey, millennials prefer to have a more comfortable and personalised experience through streamlined, digital platforms.
It leaves businesses to embrace the digital means of B2B customers’ preferences that are driven by:
1. Changing Audience
Before the COVID19 pandemic, the B2B customer segment was mainly baby boomers, and members of Generation X. Baby boomers used to follow a conventional practice of getting information from hard copies of documents, sales records, and product trials. On the contrary, Gen X intended to acquire information from trade shows, conferences, and social media marketing channels.
Today, around 3/4th of millennials are involved in the B2B process. These newcomers have confused most merchants by revealing a sudden shift in preferences and buying habits. Still, they possess some distinguishing attributes that showcase how and why their mind functions while making a purchase. Millennials are brought up under the shadow of digital technology, and as many as over 30% of them admit to using the latest gadgets like tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc.
More millennials hold at least a graduate degree compared to their preceding generation. While this trend is interesting, it has cast a notable impact on how they are making their career choices. The student debt crisis in the US and other developed or developing countries is also a primary reason why millennials are protective of spending their money and seeking transparency from brands.
Another notable reason is the growing trend of adopting a minimalist lifestyle among millennials that refrain them from buying too often.
These factors translate into how this group of B2B customers perceives marketing campaigns.
2. Impact of Digital Marketing
Before 2014, conventional marketing practices included television advertisements and trade shows. Experts started accepting that these mainstream marketing practices are going to dilute soon, and digital marketing in terms of ebooks, email marketing, blogs, and social media, will occupy the main ground.
According to the survey, in today’s time, B2B customers perform around 12 online searches before finalizing their purchase decision from a particular vendor. It made marketers shift their approach. Now, over 50% of B2B marketing budgets are directed toward digital marketing, ensuring a highly personalized CX by integrating recommendation engines and AI algorithms to help consumers enjoy their purchase journey.
More businesses are adopting AI to gain a competitive edge over their rivals by introducing chatbots, single-click purchase options, and recommendation engines. By the end of 2022, it’s expected that over 25% of enterprise-grade organizations will launch augmented reality, and the rest of them will start experimenting.
3. Payment Gateways
Around 25% of B2B retailers with eCommerce platforms accept orders via fax.
That chunk is much less compared to the most preferred payment methods:
- eCommerce site: 80%.
- Email: 77%
With the sudden upsurge in mobile apps and eCommerce platforms like Amazon, B2B retailers quickly transition from isolated eCommerce platforms to full-scale omnichannel digital practices.
Credit cards still share a notable share in eCommerce payment methods at 94%.
In 2018, most B2B retailers, over 75%, were selling their products and services for at least 2-5 years or more.
Top B2B Ecommerce Trends for 2022
We’ve compiled the top B2B ecommerce trends for businesses to adapt to embrace digital transformation.
- Aim on producing B2C-like experiences for their niche
- Acceleration of eCommerce platforms
- Businesses prefer B2B mobile commerce.
- Increasing expectations of personalized B2B CX
- Introducing a DTC medium
- Integrating different platforms for omnichannel marketing
- Demand for hassle-free B2B order fulfilment process
- Refrain from jumping on the bandwagon
Aim on producing B2C-like experiences for their niche
An increasing number of B2B customers prefer to purchase products digitally. In fact, B2B customers perform comprehensive research on a brand and its products before they even think about consulting a sales representative.
According to the research, B2B customers go through around 12 online searches before finalizing their eCommerce vendor to buy a particular product. Additionally, 74% of B2B customers claim to explore at least half of their procurements online.
So it requires your eCommerce site to provide a B2C experience. Considering business procurement individuals are the same people who visit online platforms for their personal purchases, offering them a B2C-like shopping experience can play a vital role in improving your engagement.
And it remains vital to improving an overall user experience and user interface (UX/UI) that makes it interactive and user-friendly for the visitors to quickly find what they want to purchase, as most B2B customers already know exactly what they are looking for.
Acceleration of eCommerce platforms
In 2018, eCommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba claimed their dominance in the B2C eCommerce industry by holding more than 50% of online sales.
Similarly, B2B ecommerce sales via eCommerce sites are growing significantly. Only 6% of B2B buyers are not using eCommerce platforms, and 75% of B2B procurement drives are expected to happen via eCommerce marketplaces within the next five years.
According to statistics by Gartner, the enterprise eCommerce platform is a new business model that will open a wider portal, offer new opportunities, and allow businesses to generate new revenue streams by targeting a vast majority of buyers. eCommerce marketplaces are more efficient in saving time and cost, as they serve as a one-stop solution for B2B customers.
One of the primary benefits of B2B eCommerce platforms is their ability to attract and convert new audiences. It will boost revenue streams and offer an opportunity to attain a global reach and test new product niches.
Businesses prefer B2B mobile commerce.
Following are some recent statistics about B2B eCommerce trends from Google and BCG that showcase the cruciality of a hassle-free mobile UX for the B2B segment.
- 50% of B2B queries today are performed via smartphones. Experts claim this number to grow significantly in upcoming years.
- The mobile-friendly interface of eCommerce platforms is responsible for around 40% of sales in leading B2B enterprises.
What should we interpret from this data?
Apart from making your B2B business available online, it must be mobile-friendly as more B2B customers prefer to explore and purchase their products via smartphones.
Let’s discuss this in detail.
Overall, these emerging challenges contain B2B businesses from launching eCommerce platforms to initiate with, due to:
- Fear of lack of expertise in introducing and experimenting with a new channel or platform.
- The inability to break the threshold is based on fear of the unknown concerning a new channel or platform.
- Lack of revenue streams due to sluggish adaptability and reforms
It is difficult to embrace change. Adapting mobile-friendly platforms is undoubtedly the most important B2B eCommerce trend.
Introducing such UX will allow B2B customers to log in and see their particular product and checkout instantly using a preferred payment gateway, all in minutes with comfort and without opening their laptops or desktop PCs. This is how you enjoy the perks of having B2B mobile commerce.
Over 20% of B2B businesses reported having and using an interactive mobile application to facilitate their customer base as a mobile application allows faster-recurring orders based on the business account. The app can also board your sales team for instant sales that are currently waiting in your funnel for the final steps.
Increasing expectations of personalized B2B CX
According to recent research, around 50% of B2B customers prefer improved personalization as a primary utility while searching for products or services on eCommerce platforms and turned out to be loyal customers. Consumers prefer to spend 50% more if they find their purchase drive is personalized.
The CX management market is expected to be twice the existing one, attaining $14.9 billion by this decade. B2B customers expect the same engaging experience that B2C customers experience, and businesses must admit it.
For completely personalized B2B customer experiences, businesses must leverage customer data, recommendation engines, artificial intelligence, and machine learning algorithms.
For most B2B businesses, the experience of their IT teams is enough to embrace an emerging B2B eCommerce trend of better customer experience.
Introducing a DTC medium
According to research, its member organizations of DSA UK had experienced around 50% growth in revenue, on average, through the direct channel until now. It makes DTC’s rivals one of the primary challenges many B2B businesses are experiencing.
However, a DTC channel introduces a variety of opportunities, such as engaging new customers ready to buy from the business directly, introducing:
New Revenue Streams
As brick-and-mortar stores face operational restrictions due to COVID19 containment measures, consumers prefer eCommerce stores to make purchases they used to purchase by physically visiting the stores. Brands are in an impactful position to help fulfil these consumer demands while making up lost sales due to COVID19 restrictions.
Integrating first-hand data from customer behaviour with a transactional record from retail stores leads to a better understanding of your customer’s preferences and buying habits. You can make strategic business reforms in product placement packaging and price structures using this insightful data.
Build Customer Loyalty
Introducing DTC gives you complete control over the sales funnel, from the moment a prospect visits your website and converts into a customer by finalizing a purchase up to delivery and beyond. More engaging customer experiences are easier to personalize for different segments offered to the visitors from the collected data.
Integrating different platforms for omnichannel platforms
While the B2B ecommerce trends are evolving continuously with a growing number of B2B customers, businesses have a relatively small domain to choose their digital approaches from.
B2B requirements are difficult to fulfil, and not every platform ensures 100% efficiency.
B2B businesses can deploy comprehensive and expensive eCommerce platforms that demand expensive customizations and a whole team to handle different aspects of the site. Others will hire an outsourcing vendor to get the job done.
Some B2B businesses choose third-party apps to work in parallel with their eCommerce platforms to process order fulfilment, inventory transparency, or payment gateways.
However, for the practical implementation of this omnichannel framework. An integration provider is needed to integrate multiple systems to efficiently produce fruitful outcomes for your business.
Integration providers are intended to provide pre-built APIs or several connections to sync data and streamline critical functions between eCommerce platforms and back-end frameworks like an ERP, POS, or 3PL to boost operational capacity and curb resource-consuming hurdles.
Around 60% of B2B businesses claim that eCommerce integration like omnichannel marketing and sales channels are another primary digital need. They perceive eCommerce integration as integrating backend frameworks for managing different aspects of the business, including warehouse, supply chain, and orders fulfilment with their eCommerce platform.
Demand for hassle-free B2B order fulfilment process
As more and more B2B businesses overcome the digital barrier, the need for a fast and effective order fulfilment process has become a vital need for any business. Before Amazon changed the digital makeup of the eCommerce domain, millennials were still looking for this feature, and 75% of them are already involved in the B2B purchase drives today.
Customer expectations are evolving rapidly, and this is another way B2B businesses can attract and engage potential customers. Businesses can automate their order fulfilment process by using order management programs. These types of software programs assist B2B businesses to manage and track orders across different stages of the sales funnel, ensure transparency, and eliminate inventory-related issues.
Businesses can also opt for third-party extensions or tools to get the job done most budget-friendly manner. This is a great option if your business is growing rapidly, your current sales are escalating, or you waste too much time and effort on inventory management that you can utilize elsewhere.
Refrain from jumping on the bandwagon
Do not jump irrationally on any bandwagon to follow masses and trends, as not every trend is worth following. If some B2B eCommerce trends provide significant advantages, others can be too expensive and irrational to adapt.
Filtering the value-added B2B eCommerce trends will often come down to knowing your target market, your limits, and competitors in each domain. There are multiple practices you adapt to examine industry trends and make the right choice for your business.
Tips to Follow the eCommerce B2B Market Trends
Identifying the evolution of the industry, backed by numbers and statistics
Every industry undergoes transition sooner or later, and staying up to date with all the latest trends by regularly consulting authentic reports and statistics from the relevant sources can prepare you for the launch. The data and stats in these reports often originate from comprehensive research you can rely on instead of just following the masses. Apart from this, when you keep yourself updated with what’s happening in your niche, you’ll get a rich idea of each trend, whether it’s worth following.
Evaluate customers’ behaviors
Use customer data to determine if a trend is fruitful for your businesses. Most trends might work for your competitors, but only you can know your customers better than anyone else. Refrain from relying on a single data-gathering source so that you can see customer needs and priorities from different perspectives. Use this data and stats to evaluate the overall trends in your niche. Would adopting a particular trend support your customers’ interest or contradict it?
Ask for feedback
Please don’t refrain from asking your existing customers what they need. Getting feedback and valuing constructive criticism from your customers can give you insight into the trends that best serve their expectations. You can also develop more targeted strategies for the future. You never know if your customer will suggest an idea you would never think about.
Keep an eye on the competitors
Closely look at your competitors. Did they jump on a particular B2B eCommerce trend? If yes, how effective it would be for them? Of course, you don’t have to adapt to everything your competition is up to (as we discussed earlier), but being familiar with their footsteps is another way to measure the cost and impact of any particular trend.
It is certain to say that global eCommerce sales are expected to break all the records by the end of 2022 with a 300% increase in market share compared to 2015.
Payment gateways and website UX remain the two primary factors for converting your prospects into loyal customers. Your reputation in the market remains vital in brand awareness and the consideration phase.
FAQs about B2B eCommerce Trends
Are B2B eCommerce platforms using VR or AR?
Some B2B eCommerce platforms offer VR and AR utilities. The most common way B2Bs use this technology is to provide customers with the experience to see their products in a virtual environment. VR and AR can also provide B2B customers with the highly personalized UX they are looking for.
Is B2B eCommerce using video content?
Yes, many B2Bs use video content to establish and improve brand image. According to a survey, over 50% of B2B marketers stated that the video is the most impactful form of content, followed closely by case studies or white papers. For B2B customers in a tech niche, videos are considered the preferable content type.
Can B2B businesses integrate an omnichannel marketing approach?
Yes, B2B businesses can enjoy the perks of having an omnichannel marketing approach. In fact, B2B buyers expect a smooth and hassle-free purchase drive on any medium they are using, whether it’s a mobile application or an eCommerce site.