Keeping Ahead of the Game – B2B and B2C Ecommerce Trends

Ecommerce concept
Ecommerce sales are leading the way for many businesses, thanks to their customer’s preference of online ordering anytime/anywhere, reduced company costs, and streamlined, error free processing. Last year retail ecommerce sales reached $1.9 trillion. In the following graphic, you can see that by 2020 ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4 trillion worldwide with a total of 14.6% of all retail sales.

Ecommerce sales graph


With an impact like this, it’s important to get ahead of the competition this year by staying on top of all ecommerce trends.

A few ecommerce trends that have been consistently predicted for this year include: mobile commerce, customer experience improvements, multichannel marketing, and smart personalization.

Continue reading to learn more about what to expect from 2017’s critical B2B and B2C ecommerce trends.

B2B Ecommerce Trends

After lagging a few years behind B2C ecommerce stores, B2B is finally set to outpace B2C in the next three years, generating revenues of $6.7 trillion USD by 2020. According to Kayla Bryant of OrderCloud, “It’s expected that the total volume done online for B2B will surpass $1 trillion by 2020.”

Quicker implementation and integration

Creating and implementing a new B2B ecommerce platform now only takes a few weeks compared to the initial months it used to take. Now, on average, it takes 4-8 weeks to roll out a functional ecommerce platform that Pepperi says, “integrates to other related internal systems such as the company’s ERP and sales solution, which enables the customer to view their past purchases and payments and access real-time inventory levels to avoid back-orders, as well as place and track sales orders.”

Mobile commerce

With 50% of digital communication occurring over the phone due to increasing 4G and wifi hotspot options, it is becoming essential for B2B ecommerce companies to develop a mobile platform their customers can use. A recently published Adobe Digital’s Report shared that, “On Black Friday 2016, a whopping $1.2 billion were spent via mobile devices, a 33% growth YOY. ”

Digital media graph

Looking at that statistic alone can help B2B companies gauge how important mobile currently plays in sales. PewInternet.org also shared that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population have a mobile phone with Internet access and they use these devices to conduct the majority of their online searches.

So by developing mobile friendly ecommerce sites, it is easier for B2B organizations to control the procurement process, from initial information gathering to purchasing. And, since more and more customers are using their mobile phones for everything, including searching information, comparing prices, reading reviews, and customer support, mobile commerce will continue to grow and play an influential role in ecommerce sales.

Smart personalization

Gaining popularity among merchants is predictive analysis for customer personalization. By utilizing data collected from multiple intersections, merchants are able to understand spending habits and preferences to predict subsequent purchases. According to a Forrester report, “Only 29% of businesses say they are good at translating the result of data and analytics into measurable business outcomes.”

Ecommerce businesses should spend time learning how to get the most from the data they collect to really make an impact on their consumers since, “73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant.”

Multichannel marketing

According to a report from marketingweek.com, 31% of online shoppers say they use social media channels to look for new items to purchase meaning B2B ecommerce stores are going to have to focus on developing a multichannel marketing plan that can apply to popular social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

A recent report by Forrester says that, “Omnichannel business-to-business (B2B) buyers are more active, generate more incremental revenue, and cost less to serve than single-channel customers.”

B2C Ecommerce Trends

The bar graph below from Statista, represents the forecasted revenue development in B2C of the selected market in million US dollars for each year.

The market for the following B2C products including “Clothes and shoes”, “Food and cosmetics”, and “Electronics” increased to $313,980.5 million in 2016.

Spend graph

Personalization

According to a study by yStats, “Online shopping is likely to become more personalized, with retailers customizing their services and integrating online sales channels such as websites and social networks on any device that will connect to the Internet.” Again, mobile commerce will be a major player for ecommerce stores in 2017.

With over half a billion customers following the trend to shop via mobile devices in 2016 alone, B2C ecommerce companies will need to tailor their business around the needs of these customers to be successful.

Social media

It’s forecasted to play an increasing role in the ecommerce market due to user experience and the potential to diversify a B2C’s revenue stream. Many social media channels like Facebook are offering online stores the option to have customers buy directly from their page with a store button. Instagram is giving businesses the option to post creative ads and links to easily shop their products as well.

Innovative fulfillment

Customers continuously want the best fulfillment options, which include anything from better packing options and faster shipping to easy returns. Many researchers like Forrester predict that customers will soon expect businesses to pay more for on demand shipping similar to Amazon, who boasts on demand or same day delivery with the help of drones and an easy return policy. Plan to invest in good packaging and shipping. Brands can try to match this by experimenting with buy online/pickup in store, local drop-off points, etc. to deliver products on the same day.

WHUK shared their thoughts on customer expectations on fulfillment delivery, “It is expected that during 2017, next day delivery will become the norm and businesses wanting to keep up with the competition need to put in measures to ensure they can provide delivery in the same timescale.”

Key takeaways from 2017 trends that B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to focus on this year include customer personalization, multichannel marketing to increase revenue streams including social media, and responsive mobile commerce sites.

Looking for ecommerce guidance to tailored to your unique business needs? Americaneagle.com can help. Please contact us today for more information.

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