The realities of a faster, more agile B2B sales channel
It isn’t news to anyone that today’s consumer wants, rather, demands that their goods arrive within two days.
This behavior sets a precedent for Manufacturers and Distributors in B2B as well. Just because you’re selling to a business, doesn’t mean there isn’t a buyer at that business that shops at Amazon from the comfort of their home. Contractors, commercial purchasers, and professionals are used to interacting with large big-box retailers and e-tailers outside of their jobs. E-Commerce, in particular, has changed the scope of the buying conversation and the B2B sales channel is quickly catching up.
Long gone are the days where purchasers research products and business needs through paper catalogs, and long drawn out manufacturer ‘spec’ pages. The buying process is being facilitated through online product comparisons, user reviews, and suggested product features. If this information can’t be retrieved quickly, a would-be customer will opt to pursue another avenue where this information is readily available.
When a buyer purchases online they are not intending to spend hours researching, they are looking to make a purchase and have their materials shipped in order to move their own business forward. As a wholesaler, distributor or manufacturer, if you’re not online today investing in your B2B E-Commerce experience you’re already behind.
Business Buyer Expectations
‘Your business customers are expecting a B2C experience when purchasing business products’. Tired of hearing this at every conference you attend? For better or worse, it’s a phrase that holds quite a bit of truth. Not only are your business buyers expecting to shop online, they want your site to be easy to navigate, search and check out in a frictionless way.
Sure, your customers can’t order hundreds of pounds of bricks and dry-wall and still expect it to be delivered within 24 hours however, they do expect the steps leading up to their purchase to be streamlined, easy, and at the push of a button. One-click checkout from Amazon has set the bar and B2B sellers need to act fast to follow in their footsteps. Millenials are becoming a buying powerhouse in B2C e-commerce and their expectations are going to flow directly into how they order supplies for their job.
The Paper Tiger
According to a 2015 Benchmark study by the Aberdeen group, it costs $31 per to process a paper check in comparison to an electronic payment at $9 per transaction. If you’re buying on terms, most sellers will still have their buyers fax in their credit application where it is then manually processed. As manufacturers and distributors continue to go down the path of investing in B2B e-commerce, paper processes are going to be replaced with cheaper and more time efficient digital based payment processing alternatives, including those for managing credit accounts - a standard practice within B2B e-commerce.
When customers are expecting a faster buying experience, how long can you afford to hold onto legacy paper based processes?
If this is your first time thinking about bringing your business online, there are a number of e-commerce platforms that cater more to B2B needs. Solutions such as Apruve streamline your B2B credit management process and add value, increase customer on-boarding and reduce buying friction for your customer.