B2B commerce is going through quite an intense transformation. Although, they are highly affected by the changing behaviors and customer expectations. The market is estimated to hit 6.7 USD trillion in gross merchandise value by the end of 2020. It makes it twice the size of the B2C market. The opportunities are immense when it comes to the potential this industry holds for wholesalers and distributors.
Interestingly, a research by Merit found that about 73% of B2B buyers are now millennials. In fact, 44% of this group make purchase decisions and 33% say which are key influencers or recommenders in the buying process. 60% of millennials basically are loyal to brands which offer unique shopping experiences.
The reason why this is relevant is that millennials indulge in the B2B process with similar expectations that they have towards B2C shopping. Tech-savvy digital natives are not necessarily interested in meetings, sales calls or requesting demos. They want an immediate way of research, evaluate and purchase the products they want.
For distributors, setting up a strong eCommerce platform presents great growth opportunities. With a high number of potential customers and an easy way to draw them in, B2B distributors have quite a unique opportunity to expand beyond traditional channels. 41% of B2B buyers want eCommerce solutions to offer a self service experience online, distributors might even save on operational costs.
Challenges faced by distributors
Despite overwhelming evidence which supports wholesalers transition online, some distributors failed to respond to customers’ demand for digital shopping experiences. Here are some of the challenges faced by distributors:
Business Complexities of B2B
A lot of B2B businesses think eCommerce solutions are not viable for them due to the complexity they offer. Their main concerns include:
- Consumers with agreements and special terms
- Contract pricing
- Different payment and shipping alternatives
- Exclusive product offerings
While we understand that these are important considerations to discuss with your vendor. They are not business blockers, but the right eCommerce solutions can clear obstructions.
To get the team on board
Launching an eCommerce channel may seem like quite a daunting task and it requires quite a lot of resources. If everyone on the team finds it a challenge to put up with responsibilities, then delegating it to an ideal team member can be problematic. You first need to figure who out of your team has the skills to manage the eCommerce project. The time to invest is another thing that holds back eCommerce wholesalers and distributors. But, don’t worry- for the right expertise, you can always contact our team making BigCommerce handing over and orientation very easy.
There is also a whole ‘resistance to change’ problem that people have at hand. Sales reps may generally feel threatened by a new buying experience. On the other hand, IT may be worried that a new site can create a lot more workload and disrupt the whole process. Also, what if the website goes down or simply gets hacked? Yet many others may feel it to be a struggle to see the potential return on investment.
B2B buyers have expectations based on their own consumer base. They do not buy the way B2C consumers buy. In B2B sales, payments are not as simple as using a credit card or checking out on your PayPal. As a B2B buyer, the large amounts compel you to offer different payment options, something that we have seen BigCommerce offer exclusively- especially for wholesalers and distributors. Having said that, there are certain technical requirements B2B sellers need to accommodate which include:
- Set up a punchout solution that integrates with the buyer’s ERP system or procurement application
- Make requests to pay out via different purchase orders
- Internal manager approvals should be set up to place orders so that the business does not suffer
Now coming to the primary question. Can an eCommerce platform handle all the aforementioned purchasing scenarios. In a nutshell, we would say- yes it definitely can. The long answer however is- it depends on your choice. For instance, BigCommerce makes it simple for hybrid business ventures with both types of businesses to offer varying price lists or catalogs to different customer segments.
Benefits of BigCommerce for Wholesalers and Distributors:
- Room for growth as well as scalability
- Improved Efficiency
- SEO and Content Marketing Capabilities
- Budget Friendly
- Catalog browsing and better search functionality
As of now, the growth of distributors and wholesalers entering the eCommerce market does not seem to be slowing down at all. This provides a unique opportunity to make profits from a new and effective sales channel which acquires customers and even provides a valuable service to the existing client base.
The risk of not meeting the ever changing consumer base expectations and being left behind is a lot bigger than venturing into a completely new field. If you are actually thinking about long term growth of your distribution business, adding an eCommerce solution to the whole mix is something you should consider for your business. Now, that we have established that Bigcommerce is the ultimate eCommerce solution for wholesalers and distributors, we are right here to help you. With plenty of successful BigCommerce implementations in our repository, we are sure our team of experts can help you move towards the profit you need.