Global e-commerce has become a necessity for today’s business-to-business companies. The benefits are plentiful and provide large opportunities for growth – even for SMEs. Here are five of the top benefits of adding a global e-commerce platform to your B2B website:
1. Faster Expansion Into Global Markets
Perhaps you’ve made the decision to expand globally. You’ve done the research, laid the groundwork, made the connections, and your website has been translated. The missing piece is e-commerce. Having an e-commerce-enabled website can be a game-changer when it comes to really overtaking your competitors who are entrenched in the countries that you pursue.
An e-commerce platform will enable your business to make more deals with international buyers and global clientele. And thanks to e-commerce analytics, businesses can effectively calculate and evaluate marketing, buyer engagement, sales, and more. Your business can make analytical decisions on the spot, as opposed to waiting for end-of-month numbers.
2. Shorter B2B Sales Cycles
The business-to-business buying process has moved online worldwide. You know the statistic: up to 90 percent of the B2B purchase path is completed by the time a prospect reaches out to the sales team. It’s just one more small step — from researching items online — until they’re actually acquiring them online via e-commerce.
Sophisticated B2B global e-commerce platforms allow B2B sales reps to create custom presentations, produce catalogs with targeted product assortments for specific accounts, and take orders. Such platforms can be integrated with companies’ current inventory, fulfillment, and accounting tools. Some business-to-business companies have been able to cut the sales cycle nearly in half with advanced global e-commerce solutions.
3. Increased Buyer Attraction
You wouldn’t want to stay stuck on first-generation commerce strategies (i.e. brochure-type websites that only work on desktop computers). B2B buyers (this includes industrial buyers) already know e-commerce from their consumer experiences. Truth is – they long for that simplicity in their work lives. Researching and purchasing products and services online has become the preferred way to source raw goods, parts and products. Thirty percent of B2B buyers say they complete half of their purchases online, according to Forrester Research. By 2017, Forrester projects that figure will almost double to 56 percent.
Q: Is it important that your global e-commerce website be mobile-friendly?
A: Buyers worldwide use mobile devices to interact with B2B product and service providers. A Forrester Research study shows that 54 percent of B2B companies selling online, report that their clients are using smartphones to research products, and 52 percent are using their devices to make online B2B purchases. After all, what can be easier than placing re-orders on the shop floor from your smartphone?
4. Decreased Sales & Support Costs
According to Forrester Research, B2B companies can substantially decrease sales costs — up to 90 percent — by adding an e-commerce environment to their websites. In a Forrester survey, 52 percent of B2B ecommerce executives surveyed reported that migrating formerly offline-only clients to online purchasing, reduced their client-support costs. Using a web-based management system means your business can automate inventory management and decrease costs associated with overhead and operational expenses.
5. Amplified Brand Awareness & Trust
Establish your brand in foreign countries, with a strong brand footprint. Global e-commerce, and the global inbound marketing that supports it, can make that happen – big time. Online traffic to your e-commerce website is driven mainly by search engines, and every country with Internet capability, has them. Search engines can be your gold mine … indexing your e-commerce webpages as well as you regular webpages, and driving traffic. It’s important to hire a reputable inbound marketing agency that can help boost your website’s visibility and search engine positions in a big way.
The “trust-factor” is also an important consideration. Having a sophisticated e-commerce platform engenders trust. As your brand becomes better established and trusted, more B2B buyers will become familiar with your brand and products, and sales will increase.
Many business owners have built supply-line relationships with companies and reps they’ve known for years. However, they are beginning to recognize the savings available online and can find online providers who have been around long enough to have garnered trust themselves.
It’s a fact: e-commerce will increase trust and brand awareness, and those things will increase sales and profits.
According to Forrester Research, it took 25 years for e-commerce to take 9 percent of the B2B market share, but by 2020, e-commerce will account for 12.1 percent of B2B sales. Forrester projects that B2B e-commerce will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.7 percent between 2015 and 2020. Frost & Sullivan says that the global B2B e-commerce market will reach $6.7 Trillion by 2020.
Here are some best practices for a high-end global e-commerce operation: A top-class e-commerce platform, integrated with inventory, fulfillment, and accounting tools; Search Engine Optimization; on-site search; guided navigation; product detail pages; custom catalog and contracts; quick order; product selectors; configurators; quotes; RFQ; split shipping, and of course the unique payment acceptance processing configurations that are the best fit for each unique country.
If your website does not yet have an e-commerce component, Net Site Marketing can help tailor an e-commerce solution, and grow your website and its reach, to succeed in the global markets that you pursue. For more information, Contact Us.
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