We have been living in a world where the e-commerce landscape has been dominated by B2C players. However, recent trends point towards a market shift and the emergence of B2B e-commerce. While B2C e-commerce still continues to grow at an exponential rate, B2B e-commerce is gradually picking up.
According to recent study by Frost & Sullivan, global B2B e-commerce market will be twice as large as the B2C market — $6.7 trillion vs. $3.2 trillion by 2020. China is expected to emerge as the largest online B2B market with $2.1 trillion in sales by 2020. In the US, B2B e-commerce is already twice as large as B2C e-commerce.
Closer home in ASEAN, Singapore is trying to get ahead of the trend and is focusing on expanding the B2B e-commerce market. The Government realizes the potential of B2B e-commerce and is working towards several initiatives to encourage it.
One of the initiatives introduced to promote B2B e-commerce is the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) SMART App. This mobile app allows overseas buyers to consolidate orders easily and check on product authenticity when purchasing from Singapore food manufacturers. Ultimately, this initiative gives local food manufacturers better access to overseas buyers.
The Retail Industry Transformation Map is greatly beneficial for B2B e-commerce businesses. This initiative enhances seamless B2B documents exchange among companies for the electronic cluster. The program helps develop an internationally linked e-commerce infrastructure, jump-start Singapore as an e-commerce hub, encourage its strategic usage by businesses, promote its usage by the public, and harmonize cross-border e-commerce laws and policies.
The below mentioned emerging trends substantiate the case for businesses to set up their online e-commerce platforms.
- B2B buyers are getting younger – Almost 50% of buyers doing the initial research are millennials. They are young, tech-savvy and sophisticated. As the change progresses, they expect a B2C-like experience from you and the ability to self-service their orders 24×7.
- Buyers are making purchase decisions online – Traditional sales representatives are no longer the sole gatekeeper of information and B2B buyers are no more their primary source of information. They prefer to do the research online themselves and source information independently.
- Inclination towards online business model – The B2B customers buying from SME manufacturers and distributors offline are now inclining towards an online business model. The customers can compare quotes of different manufacturers on a single platform in real time, have access to unlimited manufacturers/distributors and take purchasing decisions as per their convenience.
- Dependency on mobile devices – According to Google’s recent report, 42% of B2B customers use mobile devices during their purchasing process. Today, buyers are taking purchasing decisions on the go.
Therefore, as a B2B SME, if you want to retain your customers, be on the global platform and increase your revenue, you have to optimize your business operations.
This is possible only if you upgrade your e-commerce platforms by-
- Embracing the digital revolution at the strategic level – You should not limit digital adoption to back-office workflows. With digital transformation, you can make your sales processes efficient and enhance your customer experience. With a hassle-free, simple and interactive digital platform you can achieve high-quality customer engagement.
- Start shifting the selling models online – With increasing competition, businesses need to stand out. An online business model is that key differentiator that can help businesses become globally competitive.
- Make purchases customer-friendly – Businesses need to ensure that their purchase processes are catered for their target audience. Customer-friendly and simplified purchase processes can do wonders for sales in light of how millennials are making crucial decisions today.
Therefore, the e-commerce market presents tremendous opportunities for B2B focused businesses. From the emerging trends, it is evident that B2B e-commerce is in its transformative phase. It is imperative for you to adopt the online model quicker than anticipated as a high growth opportunity may be around the corner.
Get a consultation from Deskera Experts on how you can begin your digitization journey. Book an appointment today.