Think that ecommerce is really more of a B2C thing? Think again. B2B ecommerce is in fact twice the size of B2C ecommerce today, and it’s anticipated to be the largest area of ecommerce growth for 2020-2025.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to accomplish more online these days, and this desire is only going to accelerate with time as younger cohorts become the buying class of the B2B world. In fact, that day might already be here, as a 2017 report by Merit found that a full 73% of B2B buyers today are Millennials, and that this group strongly prefers to buy online.
That’s why it’s essential for B2B customers to be able to achieve core transaction tasks, like viewing and paying open invoices, or viewing order and transaction history, through an online portal just as any B2C customer might expect.
This vision might not feel right to many, who still believe that in-person sales and relationships are at the core of B2B commerce, especially in sectors with long sales cycles and multi-year, even multi-decade vendor relationships. The fact is that both things are true, and this is why B2B ecommerce requires not only a portal where customers can view and pay invoices, but also a portal that your sales and customer service reps can easily create new orders.
Traditionalists are also right when they say that B2B customers aren’t the same as B2C customers. B2B customers often know what they’re looking for. They also have a greater need to have their invoices and order history easily viewable, as well as the ability to easily reorder items that they typically order on repeating cycles. These needs are so different that many companies that serve both groups have begun having a separate ecommerce platform for their B2C and B2B business.
While it’s crucial to have user-friendly portals for your customers and sales reps, it’s just as essential to make sure that these solutions send data directly into your backend accounting and inventory system, or ERP. When your online B2B portal is also connected to ERP-integrated payment processing, you truly have all the most vital data being inputted by your customers and running directly into your ERP. This creates a more frictionless experience for all involved, and if there’s one principle that’s true in the digital age, it’s that the less friction you have in your processes, the easier it’ll be to retain both customers and talented staff.
To learn more about the benefits of letting your B2B customers view and pay invoices online, and of having this information automatically run back to your ERP system, please reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to connect to learn more about your current needs and how to meet your goals moving forward.