B2B eCommerce is slowly and surely becoming a standard in the wholesale industry. Between the convenience of making personal retail purchases and the speed with which transactions happen these days, B2B buyers everywhere are throwing away their fax machines and demanding for their sales processes to keep up with the times!
With some of the biggest eCommerce veterans coming out with their own B2B eCommerce platforms (like Amazon with Amazon Business) the rise of online wholesale becomes inevitable.
The current B2B eCommerce market is big and growing. In estimates by Forrester, eCommerce will account for 12.1% of all B2B sales in the US by 2020. Of this 12%, it seems only natural that some of those sales will include mobile as well.
The Rise of Mobile
Aside from just getting online, buyers also want to be able to make purchases on their mobile devices and sellers are benefitting from this ability to sell from anywhere. That’s where Mobile commerce or mCommerce comes in. B2B buyers are already researching on mobile, making retail purchases on mobile and working on mobile. It’s a natural progression to want to buy from their supplier on mobile as well.
Manufacturers and wholesalers can benefit from this mobility too. Gone are the days where they will be tied to booths at trade shows, or unable to fulfill an order while traveling away from the office. The overall selling process is becoming more streamlined and efficient.
The bottom line is, the entire B2B eCommerce industry is moving towards the ultimate convenience that mobility brings. And that’s changing the way wholesale buyers and sellers interact.
Where is the push for B2B mCommerce coming from?
The push towards mobile is coming from the ease-of-use and buying experiences in the B2C market. It’s 2016, and the convenience and efficiency of placing orders not only online, but through a mobile device can’t be denied.
In a recent study, Shopify found that in the over 100,000 eCommerce stores that use their platform, half of the traffic was coming from mobile. In general, Forrester has made the prediction that mCommerce (both retail and wholesale) will grow to US$31 Billion by 2016.
How the rise of mCommerce is affecting buyers
In a word, this move to mCommerce means one thing to buyers: convenience. With more transparence, easier communication and faster transactions, what used to be a long-winded process going back and forth will be whittled down to a few clicks.
Even more on mobile, buyers gain so much more flexibility that was previously unheard of when thinking of making a B2B purchase.
B2B buyers are becoming more empowered. With mCommerce, they can research for product information, read reviews from other customers, do price comparisons on their own time and in the convenience of mobile.
As more and more wholesalers improve their mCommerce offerings, buyers can start to demand higher standards.
How does this shift towards mCommerce affect the seller?
Wholesalers and manufacturers selling their goods will also have to adapt to these new ways of doing business, but it will also be a good thing. Sellers will have to adapt in several ways.
The first will be whether or not B2B suppliers will have to invest in new technology. One survey by Internet Retailer found that by 2019, it’s predicted that B2B wholesalers will spend more on eCommerce systems than online retailers. This increase in investment in technology signals a shift in the way things are done – people will undoubtedly get more into it.
This investment in technology can mean buying new technology for inventory management, CRM or shopping carts to adapt processes to online sales. It also means an investment in mobile – mobile app development, site optimization for smart phones and tablets and improving the overall mobile experience.
Similar to improving technology, buyers may have to invest some time increasing product information that’s currently available online. With mCommerce, a seller’s website may be the only interaction that a buyer has with the product, and they’re counting on seeing all the information they need.
This is why mobile catalogs and sales apps will become crucial for B2B selling on-the-go and in sales events such as trade shows.
Conversion to mobile shopping will lead to an increase in volumes of sales and transaction, and may also affect how quickly customers expect orders to be fulfilled. This means sellers may need to make adjustments and improvements within the supply chain to deal with the increase in volume and need for faster fulfillment.
mCommerce in B2B will become a standard
Mobile commerce is undoubtedly changing the way that people do business, whether it’s B2C or B2B. It used to seem unfathomable that a person could do their grocery shopping on the train ride home from work – and now that it seems like we can’t imagine that not being an option.
While B2C is currently ahead of B2B when it comes to mCommerce, wholesale will catch up soon, if only out of pure necessity. After all, the same people who buy B2B make convenient B2C purchases every day – it’s normal that they will start to want the same convenience when making wholesale purchases. mCommerce is becoming just another, super convenient way to do business and make those B2B sales.