The importance of online in B2B.
While B2B online purchasing has increased every year, 2020 was a watershed moment as COVID exacerbated the rate of change so much, it felt like a 5 year compression of needs and innovation. According to the Wunderman Thompson B2B Future Shoppers report, B2B purchasing increased a whopping 24% in the last year. That increase has affected SMBs as well as enterprise organisations, with SMBs leading the buying spree with a 47% spend via B2B platforms. With the B2B e-commerce industry projected to hit $1.8T by 2023, the speed of change and requirements bring with it challenges for both buyers and suppliers, not the least being new payment technology.
BigCommerce B2B Ecommerce Trends Report finds most ecommerce businesses still working with legacy thinking, such as purchase orders, cash on delivery and the most tedious of all, paper. As businesses are forced online, their customer focus needs to change, streamlining the customer experience, making what 43% consider a complex transaction into a simple transaction.
The need to remove friction, based on the success of so many B2C examples like Uber, sees buyers looking for specific experiences to make purchasing easier. Real time inventory, alternate supplier access, transparent shipping information and purchase and payment automation are just a few of the main requirements needed to bring vendors into 2023 and beyond.
These needs have become much more important for SMBs as they try and compete with their larger counterparts. High technology costs and the skillset to build new payment solutions challenges SMBs to stay in the game by aligning themselves with innovative companies who can provide payment and logistical solutions. Purchasing efficiency has become the benchmark that online B2B platforms provide and as a rule SMBs do not have the capabilities to either build or support flexible payment systems.
Most buyers (74%) said a B2C buying experience was what they really wanted from B2B commerce, highlighting the shortfalls they are currently experiencing. In fact, 30% of buyers changed their suppliers because payment terms along with flexible payment methods like e-wallets and early settlement discounts were not available. Responding to complexity with simplicity and convenience will see new online payment technologies become the future of B2B ecommerce. How your customers see you, will depend on how you embrace these technologies.