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The Independent UK
The Independent UK

The BIG B2B Catalogue: four ways e-commerce tech elevates brands


BigCommerce is a Business Reporter client.

In today’s digital age, B2B e-commerce has emerged as a vital component of global trade. In the past, traditional sales channels dominated the B2B landscape, but recent shifts in macroeconomic conditions and increased digitalisation have prompted a surge in B2B companies investing in the online realm.

E-commerce platform BigCommerce has witnessed this online B2B boom, especially in Europe, where approximately 20 per cent of our customers primarily engage in B2B sales. A global study BigCommerce conducted revealed that 74 per cent of B2B buyers now use online platforms for business transactions, with 50 per cent making online purchases multiple times a week.

While e-commerce offers opportunities for B2B brands to expand their customer base and boost sales, it also presents substantial challenges. Questions arise regarding the best channels to reach B2B buyers and how to create online experiences that cater to diverse buyer needs.

Acquiring new customers is crucial, but so is retaining existing ones. Fortunately, modern, agile technologies are now accessible to a wide range of B2B businesses, provided they choose the right solutions and integrate them effectively.

In this guide, BigCommerce, in collaboration with prominent European partners such as Brave Bison, Adacto | Adiacient, rb2, Actum and Blackbit, demystifies various technical solutions that empower B2B companies to achieve their objectives.

Building your B2B e-commerce foundation

MKM Building Supplies, the UK’s largest independent builders’ merchant, exemplifies how to establish a robust B2B e-commerce presence. MKM, with its complex business model serving B2B, B2C, and B2B2C customers, required an e-commerce platform that seamlessly integrated with existing systems. BigCommerce, with its API-first approach, allowed MKM to automate workflows, simplify tasks and empower teams.

Utilising microservices such as Bloomreach, MKM enhanced its CMS, product search and SEO capabilities, while the headless architecture of BigCommerce facilitated handling complex business rules, such as customer-specific pricing and branch-specific stock management. The result was a 23.1 per cent increase in year-on-year traffic, a 31 per cent rise in web orders and a 31.5 per cent boost in revenue.

Key takeaways: Choose solutions that align with your business needs and integrate seamlessly. Prioritise flexibility, security and a unified online/offline experience.

Recommendations for B2B companies include gradually transitioning toward composability, selecting back-end systems with strong APIs and adapting to evolving technologies.

Developing new acquisition channels

Recent global events have accelerated the adoption of digital sales channels in the B2B sector. B2B businesses must maximise the potential of multichannel strategies and digital marketing to attract new customers. Millennials and Gen Z, who are increasingly becoming B2B buyers, are accustomed to online purchases, making social networks a primary channel for reaching them.

To cater to these new buyers, businesses should establish a presence across social networks, adapting their content to suit each platform’s tone and audience. Marketplaces also offer opportunities for visibility and lead acquisition. B2B companies should choose marketplaces wisely and use syndication tools to manage catalogue publication efficiently.

Moreover, businesses should consider transitioning to a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model to reach end-consumers in the supply chain. To do this successfully, they need a modern, flexible and secure digital commerce platform that offers a B2C-like user experience.

Key takeaways: Adapt to customer habits while addressing B2B-specific needs for efficiency and payment methods.

Expanding your potential market by selling cross-border

Selling cross-border is an option for B2B merchants looking to reach new customers directly. This strategy requires managing price lists in different currencies, translations and localisations for web stores. A multi-storefront approach tailored to different markets allows for localised experiences, including pricing, product information and user experience.

Smooth, secure international payment options and robust logistics and shipping processes are crucial for success. Additionally, offering multilingual customer support helps build trust with international customers.

Key takeaways: Expand your business by tailoring your online presence to foreign markets while ensuring seamless payments, logistics and customer support.

Creating a customer experience that drives loyalty

Customer experience is a cornerstone of successful e-commerce, subscription and loyalty platforms. Improving the front-end customer experience by focusing on site speed, multiple payment methods, mobile-first design, intuitive navigation, personalisation and detailed product information enhances the B2B shopping journey, mirroring the ease found in B2C platforms.

AI-driven tools can segment B2B customers based on behaviour and preferences, allowing for personalised product recommendations and targeted email marketing. Collecting and analysing data to understand customer needs and preferences is essential for creating a single customer view (SCV) and delivering tailored experiences.

Key takeaways: Enhance customer experiences through technical improvements, personalisation and data-driven insights.

A new era of B2B commerce

Leveraging appropriate technologies and understanding their applications is key to adopting an omnichannel approach that aligns with the new generation of B2B buyers.

Focus on building frictionless and personalised online experiences, leaving maintenance and security to your e-commerce platform. Empower your teams with the right support and technologies to boost productivity and efficiency. Embrace these strategies and solutions to unlock efficiency, productivity and e-commerce success in this exciting new era of B2B commerce.

Download the catalogue here.

Read more here.

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