B2B eCommerce remains one of the fastest growing and important channels for increasing revenue. According to Digital Commerce 360, manufacturers grew their B2B eCommerce by 18.4%, to $543.25 billion in 2021 from $458.7 billion. This growth is almost 1.5 times larger than the growth in all manufacturing sales. Looking ahead, B2B companies without digital commerce as part of their offerings will miss out on a significant portion of the market.
To achieve the expected revenue growth, B2B businesses should consider adopting an omnichannel approach to provide a consistent experience across all sales channels. This can improve customer loyalty, attract new buyers and increase eCommerce revenue, as predicted by 85% of sellers in Digital Commerce 360’s 2022 B2B Seller Survey. Here are four considerations for building your B2B eCommerce strategy.
1. Expand your digital capabilities.
Research conducted by PYMNTS has shown that embedded click-to-purchase buttons can shorten checkout times, with consumers taking longer to check out when this feature is not available. However, buy buttons are just one aspect of a comprehensive strategy for engaging buyers through embedded payments, which involve integrating payment processes directly into apps or platforms. This allows for an “invisible” payment process that meets the needs of digital-first buyers. A great example of this is how ride-hailing services like Lyft or Uber complete transactions without any additional steps at the end of a ride.
Robotic process automation (RPA) can also optimize your payments portal by automating back-office tasks such as extracting data, filling out forms, and moving files. This can help reduce the burden on B2B businesses that manage invoices from multiple suppliers with different portals and improve the payment process for infrequent or one-time buyers who may only have access to credit card payment options. RPA can also help add data like PO numbers to invoices and integrate with procure-to-pay and enterprise resource planning platforms.
2. Offer more flexible payment options.
To make the checkout experience seamless and simple, businesses must provide the types of payment options that their buyers want the most. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) or trade credit can provide B2B buyers with the same convenient and efficient online transaction experience as B2C buyers as it allows buyers to make payments on a schedule that they control and can help them manage their cash flow. More importantly, 82% of business buyers actually prefer a vendor that offers invoicing with 30, 60, or 90-day terms.
3. Ensure there are no delays in your order-to-cash process.
A smooth order-to-cash process is crucial for any B2B eCommerce operation. It encompasses everything from order placement to invoice payment. Streamlining this process can ensure prompt fulfillment of orders and a timely payment receipt. One way to enhance this process is by introducing an electronic billing and invoicing system, this can automate several manual tasks involved in creating and sending invoices. It can also provide real-time insight into the status of invoices and enable businesses to identify and fix any problems that may arise. Additionally, businesses can also consider setting up a self-service portal that allows buyers to track their orders, make payments and access their account information. This can enhance the overall customer experience and make it more convenient for buyers to conduct business with your company.
4. Be mindful of security and digital fraud risks.
Digital identity fraud is a growing concern in the B2B space, as more buyers and sellers are meeting online first. However, with so much information readily available to the public, acquiring digital-first customers comes with risks. According to the 2022 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey, 71% of organizations were victims to fraud attacks in 2021. To mitigate these risks and strengthen the relationship between buyers and sellers, businesses should implement sophisticated fraud detection processes and make informed risk decisions. One way to do this is by leveraging data to offer instant credit decisioning, which can help businesses make informed choices about which buyers to extend credit to. By taking these precautions, businesses can protect themselves and their customers from fraud while also building trust and loyalty.
It is essential for businesses to offer digital commerce options to attract new customers and stay competitive to retain current customers. Catering to B2B buyer expectations will enhance the B2B payments experience and scale your business. To build a successful B2B eCommerce strategy, businesses should consider several key factors including embedded click-to-purchase buttons, flexible payment options, streamlined and accurate order-to-cash processes, and sophisticated fraud detection. By taking these steps, businesses can create a sophisticated eCommerce experience and remain competitive in the future.