From: Pavlos Tsulfaidis
Investments in technology will increase
In 2016, wholesalers will adopt and use B2B e-commerce more than retailers. According to Forrester, in just three years, wholesalers and manufacturers will invest more in e-commerce technologies than retailers, representing 30% of the total investment. That represents a 10% increase over 2013, and the timing coincides with B2B firms realizing they need to improve their asset management.
M-Commerce is a fast growing platform
M-commerce is already a big factor in B2B e-commerce, but 2016 will see this really take off. According to Forrester, 52% already search for products using their smartphones. This will increase this year, and the share of smartphones in purchase transactions will also increase. When the majority of searches are completed on mobile devices, purchase decisions will also be driven by the mobile device.
The customer experience makes a big difference
Retailers have had them in focus for a long time. They understand that a positive shopping experience plays a big role in how people shop. B2B buyers now demand the same user-friendly experience. As a result, B2B companies are realizing that this experience plays an important role in creating a unique selling proposition and in profitability. In terms of B2B e-commerce, buyers now demand precise merchandising guidelines and high-resolution images of products, rich content and product specifications. Being as accurate as possible and providing all the details helps buyers feel comfortable with their buying decisions.
A selection of e-commerce models brings further opportunities
Markeptlace and Direct are two of the most important models in B2B e-commerce. A company that follows the Direct model sets up its own store for its customers to make direct sales. A company pursuing the Marketplace model can use platforms such as Kinnek, a website that helps small businesses browse their purchases and connect them with the most appropriate supplier. This model is more attractive to manufacturers, wholesalers and intermediaries, and helps sellers and buyers alike take their first steps in e-commerce. In any case, 2016 will see growth in the Marketplace space, which is already growing faster.
Contactless payment and mobile wallets are on the rise
Mobile wallets are likely to become the next big thing in B2B e-commerce, but unresolved security issues have slowed this process somewhat. If companies are able to resolve these security issues, buyers will embrace mobile wallets as a means of payment.
B2B e-commerce is growing fast, so to be successful it's important to take advantage of the ever-changing environment. Keeping an eye on new trends and embracing change is key to success in 2016.