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Top 5 B2B eCommerce predictions for 2013

By Sophie Henderson on Mon 28 January 2013 in Web & eCommerce

Everybody’s talking about it, so we thought we’d give you our predictions for the New Year on how the world of B2B eCommerce is set to revolutionise the way businesses trade with each other online…

B2B eCommerce will become more sought after than B2C eCommerce…

It’s no secret that online sales are big in the UK market with 19% of all UK sales revenue coming from eCommerce in 2011 alone, with figures set to grow year on year. A less known fact however, is that in the same year, only 5% was from B2C eCommerce, with the rest attributed to B2B sales. B2B eCommerce has stood in the wings for a long time but now market analysts, as well as many B2B organisations are now recognising the size of the B2B ecommerce opportunity…

‘5% of total turnover in 2011 was from B2C eCommerce, the rest was attributed to B2B sales’

Many have predicted that B2B ecommerce sites will become the predominant focus within ecommerce this year, as organisations race to secure their position in the market.

‘Forrester research predicts B2B eCommerce is more than twice the size of B2C eCommerce’

By the end of 2013, Forrester forecasts that front-end B2B eCommerce transactions are expected to reach $559 billion.

By comparison, B2C eCommerce is only estimated to hit $252 billion, still a market worth having a slice of, but easily makes B2B eCommerce worth nearly twice as much as B2C. Take note, if you’re a B2B company and you haven’t contemplated moving online, it is likely that your competitors already have.

This is not all…not only are B2B organisations realising the huge opportunities that lie in investing in B2B eCommerce, but many B2C businesses are attempting to reverse engineer their B2C software to work for B2B ecommerce too! A telling story in itself.

The B2B eCommerce market won’t stay uncrowded for long

Many B2B businesses have made the move online – but many more will within the year. New ecommerce successes and predicted growth have seen the like of Royal Mail and Parcel Force invest thousands into employing new staff due to the increase of people and businesses ordering online. Selling online allows for the most obvious of benefits (out of hours service – greater availability and accessibility, need we go on?) and other less obvious ones.

‘Don’t sit and wait and risk becoming a borders case’

Comet, HMV, Borders … We don’t need to highlight the numerous household names that have gone bust at the hands of their eCommerce smart competitors. Clearly, taking the specialist knowledge and understanding you have of your customers, and channelling this into a successful eCommerce site is not only key to maintaining your place in the market, but in some cases also essential for survival.

B2B eCommerce will dramatically advance to become even more like B2C

They are already becoming very similar with added bonus’ of account holders history’s, special pricing and all the offline interaction you would expect but all available online…’

It was only a matter of time before the technology advances in B2C e-commerce sites found their way onto B2B sites. The personal touch of a B2C shopping site is increasingly becoming part of the B2B eCommerce mix too.

We have all come to expect a much richer experience on the Web (whether it’s on a B2C or B2B site). As e-commerce is increasingly not just for B2C purchases, B2B customers are coming to expect the same speed and simplicity associated with buying online – it’s no surprise that so many B2B businesses are starting to take note and beef up their eCommerce ideas.

‘Don’t rest on your current site – the world of eCommerce is fast moving and your website needs to move with it…’

Considering the fast-paced nature of the UK’s B2B eCommerce industry, it is almost impossible now to impress someone with a website that shows a few JPEG images and an email link, when they are used to rich in content B2C sites… In a customer focussed market you can even offer more, such as special pricing, credit control options, buying options and order histories. More on this later on in this series.

‘What are your competitors doing? Make your eCommerce experience better!’

The truth is, customers are demanding optimised and personalised sites to offer them a richer, more relevant online experience. It’s no longer an option for marketers—it’s a must-have.

The mCommerce fashion has begun…

We have spoken endlessly about eCommerce trends and how online shopping it set to increase but lets not forget about the increasing use of mobile technology and how this will also influence our eCommerce plans in 2013.

Greater numbers of B2B organisations will implement mobile commerce as a sales channel. ‘

Mobile commerce is rapidly gaining acceptance as a way to make retail purchases while on the go and now B2B organisations are getting in on the act. In 2012, research has shown that more of us are shopping on mobile devices. Not only that but an interesting study also showed we even use these whilst shopping offline. Why? Well to see if we can get a better deal online of course…

I predict that in 2013, that we will see more distribution and manufacturing companies enhancing their ecommerce experience by providing B2B mobile commerce for their customers. Watch this space!