We are almost in the middle of 2021, and we are still in the COVID-19 situation which affected everyone, especially the eCommerce industry. Last year, we talked about the importance of eCommerce, how it became the new trend overnight (Read more), and the need to establish an eShop as fast as possible. As far as this year is concerned, we can see that the economy has already adjusted to the new reality, B2B eCommerce is experiencing a positive change, and the future for it seems bright.
As with B2C eCommerce, the main goal of B2B eCommerce is to deliver an exceptional shopping experience to its business customer and increase their market share. To do that, they should continually invest in digitizing their internal processes, and addressing customer needs for omnichannel and self-service experiences. But, what are some of the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to B2B eCommerce?
Challenge 1: The continuous changing of shopping behavior
Since the pandemic started the customers’ shopping behavior has changed a lot. According to Common Thread Collective, apparel, luxury, and travel are experiencing a negative trend, whereas essential medical supplies and hygiene products are experiencing positive growth. As time changes, shopping behavior changes as well. B2B eCommerce businesses must have reliable data as to their customer preferences so that they can meet their customers’ expectations, keep them long-term and attract new.
Challenge 2: Efficient shipping and delivery
One of the most important aspects of customer experience has always been efficient shipping and delivery of products. To make this process as efficient as possible, B2B eCommerce business should integrate their eCommerce platforms with third-party logistics operators that would enable smooth product order, ship, and delivery even during pandemic times.
Challenge 3: Flexible eCommerce platform
COVID-19 didn’t only increase online sales, but it also introduced new models of buying and selling. Thus, besides B2B, and B2C, now we can also see B2B2C (business to business to customer) and D2C (direct to customer) selling models. Having in mind the changes in customers’ shopping behavior, which is accompanied by new selling models, the need for a flexible eCommerce platform, allowing customization is crucial.
Challenge 4: Omnichannel customer experience
The pandemic not only changed customers’ shopping behavior, and the selling models, but it also increased the use of different devices to shop online. With so many devices available for use, B2B owners should ensure that they are following all those channels, gathering data, and customizing their services to provide exceptional customer service. In cases like this, your eCommerce platform should be integrated with your internal systems, especially with your ERP software which provides information about your customer data, orders, invoices, etc.
Besides these challenges, every owner of an eShop should ensure that their eCommerce platform is fully flexible, extendable, easy to use, and ensures that their customers are fully independent when buying, i.e. they do not need to contact a sales representative to do the buying.
Having in mind all these challenges and requirements that the new pandemic has posed to the businesses, and the fact that the demand for B2B eCommerce will only increase in the future, you, as a business owner, should ensure that your B2B eCommerce platform is ready for what the future upholds. In the following blog posts, we are going to share how you can create an eCommerce platform today, but ready for tomorrow.