Mobile technology offers “anytime, anywhere“ B2B e-commerce according to a recent study issued by Forrester Consulting. As more companies move away from the traditional and costly large warehouse supplier strategy to a more nimble, small-batch, just-in-time product flow, e-commerce and mobile technologies play a critical role in generating new revenue.
Forrester Consulting claims that more business buyers are using mobile devices to initiate and complete transactions today, and estimates that the United States mobile-based B2B e-commerce market alone is already topping $559 billion in annual sales. With smart phones and ready access, buyers can save valuable time and are more likely to purchase additional B2B products and services at the push of a button. Grainger, a global leader of industrial goods, has now successfully redirected nearly 35% of its $10 billion in annual sales exclusively through its online channel. This has led the way for other major industrial suppliers to follow suit as a defensive strategy to retain customers and to lower cost of sales.
Business buyers are showing preference for self-serve features, instant online help, and targeted content served up by established B2B sites. In addition, the ability to procure items at any time without the need to speak to a sales representative—especially for repeat purchases—streamlines the purchasing process and can translate into discounts as well. These buyer trends have led to an estimated 69% of B2B companies now heavily investing and building-out an e-commerce channel in 2014, while simultaneously ending publication of traditional printed catalogs.
The ubiquitous nature and real-time advantage of mobile devices in everyday life has increased the expectations for business buyers as well. With a just-in-time online mobile supply, buyers can realize the promise of getting what they need when they need it, and in many cases, at a less expensive pricepoint.
B2B e-commerce is starting to emulate the B2C buying experience as a means to attract business buyers and is enabling B2B companies to gain access to new customers and markets, provide superior customer service, and add significant new revenue streams.