The digitalization of processes has been a hot topic for some time now, and the way we do business has been no exception to this trend. With it, B2B eCommerce myths also started to arise.
Both B2C and B2B businesses have increasingly implemented eCommerce practices in the past couple of years. According to Statistica, the number of e-commerce users in Europe has grown from 390.6 to 501.8 million, with prospects for a continuous growth.
In the specific case of B2B eCommerce, also according to Statista, in 2022, in Europe, the value of this market reached the 1,333 billion U.S. dollars, and it’s expected to grow even more through the next years. In 2025, it’s estimated to reach the total of 1,817 U.S. dollars.
Besides the obvious increase in profit, having an online B2B store can improve many aspects of a business. Some of the benefits that eCommerce can bring to the B2B sector are: increased brand awareness, global visibility, data insights collection, better customer experience and service, and so on.
You can learn more about these benefits in the following article: 5 Reasons Why You Should Sell Telecom Products Online
B2B eCommerce Myths
Even though we’ve come to see many benefits about B2B eCommerce, there have been some myths on the subject that need to be unveiled. In this article we’ll focus on the 6 myths that we’ve came across the most.
1. “B2B eCommerce stores are unnecessary”
There has been some resistance to digitalization in the B2B sector, as we tend to fall on the comfort of the old and traditional ways.
This B2B eCommerce myth mainly revolves around the belief that B2B buyers prefer to person-to-person contact, which makes it unnecessary for B2B business to invest in digitalization.
This myth fails to take into consideration that B2B eCommerce is indeed growing – as shown above – and to acknowledge how new generations have shown a general preference towards online shopping.
According to McKinsey & Company, developing research in 2021 on this subject, found that more than 65% of B2B customers have shown preference for digital purchasing.
2. “A B2B business can grow without an online store”
Even though the traditional way of doing business has shown itself effective for a business’ success in the past, with the fast digitalization of processes happening, sticking only to it is not the best idea.
According to Inc., research data forecast suggests that the future of B2B sales is happening online, which will inevitably make businesses that stick to the traditional sales process become obsolete.
This is not surprising since, as shown before, B2B buyers are preferring to buy online more and more. If a company doesn’t follow their customer’s behaviors, preferences and needs, it will stagnate its growth and lose opportunities.
Rejecting the option of having an online shop doesn’t mean that a B2B business won’t be able to survive, but having one is for sure a good path to follow if a company doesn’t want to become obsolete and wishes grow further.
3. “B2B eCommerce lacks in customer service”
The lack of face-to-face contact can pose as a problem to some when it comes to B2B eCommerce, as they don’t believe that good customer service can be translated to online.
However, we can reach great customer service and experience online through tons of different ways such as omnichannel presence, email, phone contact and even artificial intelligence such as chatbots.
Lately, companies are turning to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve and optimize not only customer service but other internal processes. According to Gartner, from 2015 to 2019, the number of businesses implementing AI grew 270%.
4. “B2B pricing is too complex”
Prices in B2B businesses don’t work like B2C ones, as they fluctuate more and are usually applied differently depending on customer-specifics, bulk ordering, custom orders, etc.
This difference originated a B2B eCommerce myth that made it look like B2B pricing was too complex for an online shop. However, it’s a matter that can be solved by simply choosing the right eCommerce platform, and there are different platforms that already allow for complex pricing, with different configurations and personalization.
Of course, a platform that a B2C business chooses to build its online shop might not be the right one for a B2B, but there are plenty of platforms that can perfectly lodge a B2B online store and its specifications.
5. “A basic eCommerce website is enough”
If a business really wants their online shop to be successful, doing the least as possible is not a good approach. Yes, B2B eCommerce can be very profitable, but it must be well implemented.
First, the design of the shop can be of highly importance. According to Stanford, customers do heavily base their judgement about the credibility of a site by its design alone. This means that paying attention to layout, images, typography, and so on, its of upmost importance if a business wants to be seen as credible.
It’s also fundamental to make sure that an online store is prepared to support mobile shopping. According to Insider Intelligence, mobile eCommerce has continuously grown these past few years, and it’s expected to correspond to 43% of general eCommerce by 2024. This means that if an organization wants to fully benefit from an online store, it has to be prepared to accommodate all the eCommerce buyers, which include mobile shoppers, a customer behavior that is growing more and more.
6. “B2B Digital Marketplaces are complementary”
Some can see digital marketplaces as an extra to the implementation eCommerce in their B2B business, but B2B buyers’ behavior as proved marketplaces to be an important part of their online shopping experience.
According to McKinsey & Company’s research, 60% of B2B buyers show themselves open to buying on a digital marketplace.
Overall, digital marketplaces, besides being a channel that B2B buyers feel comfortable with, can also be a great option for businesses that don’t feel comfortable enough developing their own online shops.
In general, it’s important that we keep acknowledging these myths, as they often are built on misleading beliefs and not on actual research. Myths like the ones mentioned are used are to resist B2B eCommerce when in fact it can be a beneficial step for a business.