Table of contents
General trends in B2B e-commerce
1. Transition to digital sales2. Domestic buyers buy goods abroad3.Variety of purchases will depend on the availability of customer channels4. Large commodity producers will create their own trading floors.5. Elastic price6. The emergence of new payment systems7. Western e-commerce leadership is no longer relevant.8. Transparency is the trend of the new time9. Shopping without leaving social networks.10. People are used to personalization.
The world of sales and e-commerce has changed forever
Every country in the world has felt the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many small and medium-sized businesses were forced to declare bankruptcy as the flow of customers abruptly stopped. Even after the first wave of COVID-19 eased, the vast majority of entrepreneurs failed to re-enter the market. And the return process did not work out because of customers who massively switched to online stores.
The e-commerce market has become a haven for many people and entrepreneurs with its format. The whole way of life that was familiar back in 2019 has become completely different:
- Many people prefer to order food and other products in apps;
- Almost all types of businesses began to look for ways to enter the electronic market;
- The development of e-commerce technologies has allowed business partners, bosses and employees to turn their own homes into workplaces and not lose efficiency during self-isolation;
- Logistics manipulation an increasing number of firms trust robots and AI;
- People are more actively looking for the necessary products on the Internet, comparing prices between sites;
- most online businesses were able to introduce many new users to the capabilities of their applications at an accelerated pace.
These and many other features have allowed a number of businesses to get ahead. according to Mckinsey research in the united states, more than 75% of consumers have changed their preferences in the brands they buy. this is due to the following reasons:
- The consumer value has decreased or increased by one or another category of goods;
- The affordability of the product for consumers (after all, many workers in small and medium-sized businesses have decided income);
- Ease of purchase. People continue to go to the nearest shops. However, a huge layer of goods now ends up in citizens' homes through delivery services;
- Purchase safety. The apps have demonstrated that they can be used to pay for purchases quickly, safely and without risking their own health when going to regular stores.
Due to these factors, such changes in consumer behavior, an overwhelming number of studies have predicted by 2025. However, the pandemic has accelerated this process and now e-commerce is expected to grow by 265% in 2021.
That is, those entrepreneurs who now do not care about the transition or publicity of their activities in the online environment, already in 2021, risk “being overboard” and coming to the “scarlet ocean” of fierce competition. And the fact that the competition will be fierce is evidenced by the massive " influx” of users to B2B services, such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Thumbtack, Fiverr and others.
Thus, every entrepreneur must ensure that their business has a place in the online environment. And e-commerce businesses should continue to promote and strengthen their platforms.
The “Exceed Team” has collected for you trends in the development of the digital commerce market in the B2B system and a number of other B2B, B2C, C2C and other interaction schemes. Our team is aware of the importance for the brand to find its niche and create a unique application to improve the efficiency and increase the profit of your company. Therefore, we have collected the most current trends in the development of e-commerce applications.
Read also: 10 Ideas for B2B Marketplace
General trends in B2B e-commerce
1. Transition to digital sales
The fact that private shoppers have switched to digital sales is largely an expected phenomenon. However, the active transition of representatives of the B2B system to such a mode of operation became a topic for research.
According to McKinsey research, at the end of 2020, only 30% of B2B buyers want to communicate with a supplier in person. The rest are actively mastering online cooperation, purchasing goods from different markets of the world.
2. Domestic buyers buy goods abroad
Many individuals choose to buy many products from AliExpress. The same is happening with the B2B marketplace, which is heading towards cheaper global manufacturers. This market movement gives rise to global competition among various manufacturers, and also makes brands that were too expensive for mass B2B buyers to become more flexible and affordable.
3.Variety of purchases will depend on the availability of customer channels
Multiple studies confirm that consumers will make bulk purchases. For sites, this means increased demand and profits, but this trend is followed by one caveat. Potential customers start and will continue to compare prices between sites, selecting products for their ideal price-quality ratio. Also, the argument for buying on a specific platform will be the convenience of delivery and the original functions of the application.
Therefore, a platform that wants to enter the B2B market needs to understand this consumer logic and take care of the development of the service and its own original idea.
An original idea is what sets your business apart from competitors and builds a unique interaction with your customers.
The original idea will also make it possible to stand out among the “wave” of small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs who will begin to actively adhere to existing sales platforms.
4. Large commodity producers will create their own trading floors.
At the moment, almost every brand has its own web application, which tells about their company, the line of products they produce, managers, etc. However, a very small number of sites prior to 2020 provided direct sales through their web application. But such sales were still carried out for large buyers (wholesale purchases by a chain store, the state, etc.).
Now, there is a tendency to sell goods from such web applications not only in bulk for large buyers, but also to small / medium-sized businesses. There are already cases when the sale is carried out even at retail. This comes from the collaboration of manufacturers with platforms like Alibaba, eBay and others. Retail purchases by individuals or small / medium-sized businesses have increased markedly in 2020. Now it is moving to the official websites of brands, without affecting cooperation with B2B applications, but also remaining on their platform.
In order to increase the attractiveness of such sites, many manufacturers have decided to sell additional products on their platform in cooperation with various companies. This type of cooperation motivates large brand platforms to open platforms for B2B sales on their base. This trend suggests that in the future the congestion of many B2B buyers on popular platforms will be reduced. This means a more even distribution of the competitive load.
5. Elastic price
Pricing is a key factor in determining the volume of a business's potential profit.
With the active development of globalization lasting until 2020, many buyers, both B2B and B2C systems, have become accustomed to the fact that stable prices for a product over several years is an impossible phenomenon. With the development of marketplaces, the era of dynamic or elastic prices has come.
Prices may change not only due to changes in production costs, supply prices, but also many other factors in the global economy.
For 2021, price elasticity, similar to what happens in online retail for private consumers, is forecast to shift entirely to B2B. Such a manifestation can already be seen on Amazon, Alibaba and other platforms in the form of seasonal discounts (Black Friday, pre-holiday price reductions), price reductions for unclaimed goods, etc.
Such a pricing policy will allow many entrepreneurs to react more actively to market changes and not get into a situation of unprofitable sales.
6. The emergence of new payment systems
B2B buyers have a lot of tasks that they often have to solve personally (especially for small businesses). That is why the category of B2B customers value not only a high-quality service with a wide range of marketing, logistics and financial tools in B2B applications, but also the smooth use of all these opportunities.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, all categories of buyers began to actively master modern payment systems. A wider range of payment methods will help B2B buyers make purchases more confidently and in large volumes. And sellers are more confident in working with financial instruments using convenient payment systems.
7. Western e-commerce leadership is no longer relevant.
If earlier there was an opinion that all the most convenient e-commerce tools can be created and supported only in Western countries, now the situation has changed. More and more applications from Europe and the East are capturing world markets. This causes an even distribution of leadership among countries.
At the same time, it stimulates the development of technologies in Western countries, which, sensing competition, will come up with new opportunities for returning users to them. This trend leads to the global development of the IT system and the comfort of using the application.
8. Transparency is the trend of the new time
Speaking of transparency, we mean the ability to track all cash and documentary movements of B2B clients. This will not only reduce the incidence of deception and speculation, but will also solve bureaucratic problems.
For example, the transition of many global transnational companies to reporting in the form of electronic documents and signatures is already being mastered. This not only reduces paper consumption, but also increases the speed of interaction within the network business. However, this means an increase in the collection of biometric and other data to gain access to commercial information, although many companies already offer special flash keys for various access.
For B2B e-commerce applications, requesting biometrics is possible and will be relevant, but at the time of 2021, it looks like a very costly and not justified update. But the maintenance of documentation in the form of contracts, the function of electronic signature and records of purchases / sales in the report for users are gradually manifesting themselves functions that in the coming years, they promise to actively enter the B2B system.
9. Shopping without leaving social networks.
Another effective trend is shopping online in crowded places - social networks. This format is popular in the B2C retail system. However, many B2B representatives, being in social networks, are increasingly thinking about selling goods this way.
In response to this consumer demand, B2B applications have decided to launch ad campaigns on the most popular social networks for sale: Facebook, Instagram and others. And this attracted even more B2B sellers to their sites.
If the seller of the B2B system sees the sale of his goods only on the basis of an already developed platform (Alibaba, eBay, etc.), then for him such an advertising company acts as a guarantee to contact the site due to the large flow of customers. But, if the seller decides to sell goods on his own, then he should take into account the important consumer psychology.
Many marketing analysts argue that if a business sells its products only through social media, then consumers will not have confidence in it. And if a novice brand is not going to create its own application, then it risks staying in social networks forever, having a low-quality status among consumers.
10. People are used to personalization.
If earlier the consumer was embarrassed that “they were being watched” in order to provide him with a recommendation about a product and service, now the situation has changed. In today's market, 33% of customers have moved to larger online sales platforms. This was due to the fact that those platforms quickly adjusted to the needs of the consumer and offered goods from the spectrum of human interests. At the same time, firms that did not do this began to disappear.
Personalization has long been not just a username on the site, but also a record of his actions, preferences and the manifestation of attention to him, which attracts many consumers to the platform.
This means that established and emerging B2B e-commerce platforms need to integrate convenient tools into the platforms, allowing them to collect voluminous personalization statistics. After all, this data not only allows the platform to develop and remain convenient and relevant for customers, but also provide additional income by selling statistics collected on B2B businesses.
These are the main trends that await the B2B e-commerce market. Many of them are already a reality for the modern businessman who has made a choice in favor of selling goods through e-commerce systems. The whole world expects the growth of the B2B system. Therefore, it is very important to take care of the complex maintenance of such a platform.
Since the majority of people get acquainted with various services through their phones, many B2B systems have switched to the format of mobile applications. If a businessman decides to use such applications or become independent and develop his own brand, then he needs to know the trends of B2B applications. This will allow you to understand what market trends are expected in the near future.
B2B e-commerce application development trends
The order for application development in the world has grown by 250%. Most of these orders are mobile phone application development.
According to recent studies, the average duration of an adult's interaction with a telephone is 5 hours a day. For people who are busy with business and students, this time is doubled. That is why all major platforms have already been optimized for the phone format, and the same scenario awaits all others who want to develop their brand.
But what basic functionality does a B2B customer expect from a standard application? And what functional innovations are already being integrated into such applications?
Basic functions - found in most applications like Alibaba, Amazon and others. Their users expect from a B2B app:
- Registration algorithm;
- The presence of a registered profile and its status (perhaps even a rating);
- Product catalog (product database with a template field);
- Cloud storage;
- Search by software;
- In-app payment (payment gateway);
- Checkout (template questionnaires);
- Reviews under the product card from buyers.
There are also advanced features that can be installed into the application as needed. At the initial stage, they may seem overkill. But with the expansion of the business, these functions can become real “magic wands” that facilitate and automate a huge part of business processes. Examples of these functions are:
- Notifications. Reminding customers of the platform and telling the latest app news are the actions that increase the likelihood of the app earning and stimulate audience interest.
- Product delivery monitoring. Customers have more confidence in the application when they can understand exactly where the ordered and paid goods are located and when they will be with them. Such a function requires well-established logistics and the creation of a system of codes, which is noted at different stages of delivery. The marked code automatically reflects information about the product to the user's account.
- Recommendations system. It is formed thanks to AI and collected statistics about the movement of a specific account on the site (personalization). This allows you to form recommendations for the product and increase the chance of a deal.
- Integration with social networks. Often, people do not want to remember a lot of passwords and create the same type of accounts everywhere. Integration with social networks solves this problem. It allows not only to remove the need for the registration procedure, but also gives more information about the person and his needs.
- Search filters. The better the in-app search is configured, the more chances the customer will find the item they need and make a purchase. Elastic search together with a system of filters by categories will help the user to find what he wants faster. And the introduction of keywords will make the search process even easier.
- Live chat. It can be done in two ways: a chat with a support employee and with an AI (Artificial Intelligence). AI is useful when users ask standard questions. When AI answers standardized questions, it takes the workload off humans and allows them to work more closely with the original queries.
If you are interested in this functionality and you want to create an application for the B2B system, then how to do it in the most efficient way, you can learn from our blog. If, however, you are interested in how market leaders work and where they are headed, then you can read our article on the work of the popular application for the B2B system of Alibaba.
However, all these functions, although advanced, are already applicable on most platforms. What emerging trends are just getting ready to enter the market?
- Voice purchases. This technology is already known, but only now it is starting to gain popularity. Its essence is that a person tells the application what goods he needs, places and pays for the order. The buyer only has to wait for delivery. This feature is popular among smart speaker owners. This reflects the need for online sales applications to think through a mechanism for integrating with voice devices. For B2B clients, the same function can be convenient if they notice that some product is out of stock and can order it without distraction.
- Electronic document management. Only an emerging trend that will allow applications to reflect not only receipts from purchases and sales, but also conclude contracts, track statistics and maintain accounting and other reporting. For a smooth introduction of this function, integrations with various office applications (accounting, logistics, etc.) are being developed.
- Augmented reality technologies. The opportunity to see a thing before buying in augmented reality mode was massively introduced by such a brand as IKEA. However, the use of augmented reality plans to introduce many other multinational trading companies so that a person has the opportunity not only to see photos of the product, but also to view it from all sides. As for B2B marketing, such a function will not only allow you to try on the “aesthetics” of a product on the shelves of your store, but also suggest what kind of product the product looks like from different angles, what private buyers will pay attention to, etc.
After the first wave of the COVID-2019 virus, these trends are becoming increasingly relevant and popular among those platforms that are already using the described technologies, but they are still a minority.
B2B ecommerce industry in 2021
From the above, it can be understood that 2021 will be a defining year for most e-commerce sites. After all, they will face a simultaneous influx of small and medium-sized businesses, which will start a wave of tough competition among themselves.
But at the same time, the B2B applications themselves will have new competitors, in the form of marketplaces from brands, the development of new applications, and the emergence of private websites and applications from specific types of businesses (both small and medium to large) ...
Various entrepreneurs need to decide on the choice of their future:
- Leaving for sales already developed on online platforms;
- Creation of your own platform on behalf of your brand;
- Combining these two criteria for greater reach and quality brand positioning.
Let's discuss your idea
With this article, the “Exceed Team” team hopes to give certainty to many entrepreneurs and people that do not understand where the modern sales market is heading.
All B2B e-commerce representatives in 2021, after reading, could already have an idea of what to do: go to the sites, create their own application, or combine the two solutions.
If you have an idea of how to make your app unique and distinctive, which will help your brand to present itself - write to us.
We will consult with you, describe the scope of your application development and implement it for functional and convenient work in an online environment.
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