Business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce sales in the U.S. is on pace to grow more than twice the size of online business-to-consumer (B2C) sales by the end of 20201. Retailers who desire to keep their market share in this rapidly expanding universe need to adapt to new expectations around the online buying experience, and improve their sites accordingly. Simply put, an outdated ecommerce technology stack or clunky user experience will no longer be acceptable to modern buyers: in a recent study, 72% of North American B2B retail executives surveyed listed “ease of purchase” as the #1 factor driving their business buyers’ behavior2.
Because the path to success requires a series of improvements in technology and website design, we’ll use the analogy of “Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly” to explain how B2B ecommerce retailers can systematically level up their offering. We’ll discuss new B2B ecommerce SaaS options, best practices for maintaining agility through an omnichannel strategy, and design principles for product and checkout pages. Last, we’ll take a look at future developments in B2B ecommerce, and see how retailers can stay ahead of the curve.
Today, buyers of business supplies shop in different ways. Some prefer a self-service online experience, some prefer to browse on their own but speak to a sales representative when it comes time to purchase. Modern buyers may research their desired products on a mobile device, initiate a checkout on desktop, and pick up the item in store at a brick-and-mortar location. As a result of this paradigm shift, an omnichannel strategy has become an essential part of any B2B ecommerce retailer’s business plan. To maintain agility in this new omnichannel world, retailers should migrate from legacy ecommerce systems to new SaaS offerings, which allow changes to be pushed through a cloud-delivery mechanism.