Attracting & retaining B2B customers in a world of choice

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Thanks to the rise of eCommerce, retail has changed beyond recognition over the last 10 years. What once required the journey to a physical bricks and mortar store, can now be achieved far quicker through digital channels. And this is not only revolutionising the way we shop in our leisure time, but also how we purchase products for the office.

Statista recently reported that business to business (B2B) eCommerce global sales reached $7.7 trillion in 2017, making the market double that of B2C. Moreover, according to the world’s largest eCommerce platform, Magento, 93% of B2B consumers now prefer to shop online.

By 2019, experts predict that B2B firms will spend more on eCommerce technology than B2C online retailers do, with more traditional methods of marketing being phased out. For example, 89% of companies are now reported to use the internet to research office goods and services, and as a result, 69% of B2B retailers are expected to stop printing catalogues within the next five years.

In fact, 80% of companies implementing B2B eCommerce believe that their customer expectations have changed due to the influence of B2C practices.

Whether at home or work, consumers are relying on technology to make their lives easier. This is due to online retail giants such as Amazon having changed the way we see the business marketplace. From next day delivery to one-click-purchase and voice activated search, smaller, independent suppliers must adopt the technologies their customers have come to expect in order to stay ahead.

So, where does this leave B2B retailers?

For those that rely on B2B trade, it’s now more important than ever to keep up with the changing market. Do they know, for instance, whether their customer is more likely to shop online or in-store? Does the customer have a preferred retailer? And if so, why is this?

Regardless of the size of the retailer, the opportunities for capitalising on the growing B2B retail sector are plentiful. However, according to Forrester Consulting, only 26% of B2B companies are reported to have fully implemented best practices that correlate with improved customer satisfaction and increased revenue.

The key to uncovering these opportunities lies in understanding what the customer wants while remaining agile enough to adapt. To avoid lagging behind the competition, retailers must fully embrace the rapidly changing commerce landscape, investing wisely as they go.

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