The B2B eCommerce industry is already gaining a lot of momentum in 2018. A common trend (amongst many) is that B2B eCommerce merchants need to invest more time and money into technology in order to better manage their business and stay competitive.

In this blog, we have highlighted the key findings from Magneto IT Solutions' B2B eCommerce Trends 2018 infographic. These trends and tips will enable B2B eCommerce businesses to stay up-to-date and better prepare for the year ahead.

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B2B eCommerce market growth in the US

In a recent report, Forrester predicts that the U.S. B2B market would be worth $1.13 trillion by 2020 with a 12.1% per annum growth rate.  What is behind this expected B2B growth? Well, there are several reasons, here are the top 3 which illustrates changes in B2B buyers’ preferences:

  • 74% of B2B buyers research half or more of their B2B purchases online before making a purchase.
  • 93% of B2B buyers prefer to buy online when they’ve decided what to buy.
  • 56% of businesses expected to make at least half of their work-related purchases online


Shifting trend from B2C to B2B

The report by Statista on B2B eCommerce in 2017 has estimated $2.3 trillion B2C sales online while for B2B it is $7.7 trillion which is more than double the B2C market value. What are causing these huge shifts? Here are some reasons:

  • The rise of self-service has increased with 57% B2B customers wanting to access their accounts and orders online.
  • 65% of B2B customers want scheduled deliveries and simplified ordering experiences, from B2B eCommerce portals


eCommerce penetration increasing globally

The eCommerce industry is a global phenomenon, with almost all countries experiencing significant growth over the last year. Here are the top 10 countries that have the largest eCommerce market share worldwide:

  1. China: $672 billion
  2. United States: $340 billion
  3. United Kingdom: $99 billion
  4. Japan: $79 billion
  5. Germany: $73 billion
  6. France: $43 billion
  7. South Korea: $37 billion
  8. Canada: $30 billion
  9. Russia: $20 billion
  10. Brazil: $19 billion


B2B growth rate by selling channel

Today, the B2B eCommerce industry has multiple business models, including distributors, manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers, selling online. Compared to their online sales in 2016, B2B companies have witnessed significant growth in 2017:

  • Distributors grew 6.2%
  • Manufacturers exhibited 7% growth
  • Retailers acquired 26.6% growth
  • Wholesalers gained 5.8% growth

The average growth rate across all businesses was 7.1% in 2017 from 2016.


eCommerce add-on solution integrations

Integration is king when it comes to a B2B eCommerce platform, and standalone eCommerce platforms have been proven to be inadequate. Various performance parameters, like on-time delivery, order accuracy, inventory visibility, and time to process orders, have had great impact on third-party services. Here are some examples why:

  • Shipping service integration can enhance on-time delivery and order accuracy.
  • Shopping cart integration results in better inventory visibility.
  • Inventory and order management system integration improves the time to process orders, order accuracy, and on-time delivery.

Therefore, 96% B2B businesses believe integrations of various supporting systems are business-critical and a wise decision.


Who will be your targeted B2B eCommerce customers?

Once upon a time, B2B marketers were mostly targeting the highest level executives, considering them the most influential folk in the B2B business. However today:

  • 81% of non-C-Suite employees are influencing business buying decisions
  • 64% of C-Suite respondents still had the final sign-off authority in the business

B2B marketers have to target both C-Suite and non-C-Suite employees in the organization to win the sales conversion game.


B2B eCommerce delivery options

eCommerce shipping, particularly international shipping, requires a strong third-party logistics partner with warehouse and shipping technologies to provide excellent delivery experiences. In order to be successful at shipping, you must look for winning delivery options, such as:

  • Just-in-time delivery
  • Automated replenishment
  • Partial delivery
  • Multi-warehouse shipping
  • Returns management


The most effective B2B eCommerce online marketing channels

Lead acquisition is the lifeline for any business, and B2B eCommerce businesses have multiple online marketing channels to utilize . If we look at the percentage share of each channel, we can draw some useful conclusions for preparing B2B marketing strategies:

  • An eCommerce website acts as the most effective channel and need all the possible integrations and enhancements to be most effective.
  • Email marketing campaigns may be the “old school” marketing approach, however, it is still regarded as a highly effective channel.
  • SEO is also highly effective as it can directly improve your brand awareness
  • Social media is also very powerful. If it is done right it can add real value to the business from building thought leadership to deepening customer relationships.


Domestic shoppers look internationally when they shop online

According to a report:

  • 57% of B2B buyers have made an online purchase order in the past six months to an international eCommerce store.
  • 63.4% of businesses in Europe are making international purchases online, making it the most popular region to do so
  • North American businesses are the least likely to make an online purchase from an overseas retailer with only 45.5% of respondents claiming to

Source: Magneto IT Solutions: B2B eCommerce Trends 2018 Infographic

As you can now see, 2018 looks to be a great year for the B2B eCommerce industry. With that said, TradeGecko’s order and inventory management software is here to equip wholesale and distribution businesses with the right tools to be successful! 

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