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Advanced B2B eCommerce Strategies to Drive Growth in 2024

What B2B eCommerce strategies does your business employ?

The business-to-business or B2B industry largely serves Gen Z’ers and millennials, with 64% comprising the B2B market. Further data has found that millennials don’t prefer talking to sales reps when preparing to make a purchasing decision, instead doing their research.

Nevertheless, after some sluggishness earlier in the 2020s, its United States gross domestic product or GDP for B2B eCommerce could jump by 1.6 to 2% in 2024. Amidst this rebound will be new competition, so if you’re considering new strategies and technologies to stay competitive, you should keep reading.

In this blog post, I’ll share changing trends in B2B eCommerce and recommend tips and best practices you can use for more success.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Leveraging artificial intelligence for efficiency and adopting social commerce for streamlined, platform-based sales are crucial for modern B2B eCommerce.
  • Implementing sustainable practices, such as using recyclable materials and optimizing supply chains, is increasingly important for meeting both consumer expectations and environmental responsibilities.
  • Incorporating technologies like virtual reality for product demos and predictive analytics for dynamic pricing is key to enhancing customer engagement and operational foresight.
  • Utilizing B2B marketplaces like Amazon Business and Alibaba can significantly expand reach, reduce marketing costs, and streamline operations.
  • Ensuring websites are mobile-friendly and focusing on conversion rate optimization are essential for improving user experience and increasing sales conversions in a mobile-prevalent market.

Evolving Trends in B2B eCommerce

First, let’s spotlight the B2B eCommerce industry, including how it’s changing as the decade continues. You should be prepared for interesting insights that may change your business!

Increased use of social commerce

Are you familiar with social commerce? It’s the act of completing a purchase through social media.

Today, almost every social media platform supports business transactions right on the platform itself. For example, if you’re like me and get inundated with ads on Instagram, if you happen to see something you like, you can buy it without having to visit the retailer’s website.

More consumers are being introduced to brands and products via social commerce, with Statista reporting in March 2024 that six out of 10 people on social media discovered companies this way.

One reason social commerce has caught on as it has is convenience. Rather than visit the retailer’s website, explore the products there, and then check out, it’s all done on a single platform.

While it’s mostly B2C companies that have used social commerce until now, B2B brands are also hopping on this bandwagon. After all, its global market will reach $8.5 trillion in 2030. Who wouldn’t want to get in on that?

Your B2B audience likely already uses social media for product research, whether comparisons or information gathering.

The key is discovering which social media platform has the largest cut of your audience and focusing your social commerce efforts on those.

Adoption of AI and machine learning

B2C and C2C businesses have wholeheartedly embraced AI, so unsurprisingly, this trend has also trickled down to B2B companies. AI can achieve amazing feats thanks to its machine-learning capabilities.

Machine learning works like this: you train the AI to do a task, and the more it works on that task, the better it gets at it. So, for example, if you ask AI to learn your brand, it can do that, and then later, it can apply your branding to a product description, email, or social media post.

AI makes running a B2B eCommerce business more hands-off but in the best way possible. For instance, you can use AI for audience segmentation or to personalize your marketing and advertising materials.

It’s also valuable for customer service, where it can stand in for your sales reps who answer questions on your website all day. You can train your AI to give responses that solve people’s questions so your reps can handle the more advanced queries via phone or email.

On top of all that, you can integrate AI into your business operations, such as inventory management. Feeding AI data from customer behavior to industry trends and sales history allows for operational predictions and suggestions.

Based on the AI’s advice, you can avoid bottlenecks and snags like overstocks.

Sustainability practices

Businesses across industries focus more on sustainability, a must for your B2B eCommerce business. If you aren’t already doing so, it’s time to embrace green logistics across the entire supply chain.

What kind of shipping materials do you currently use? If they’re not recyclable or made of recycled materials, you should change that area of your operations.

Another way to make your supply chain greener is by rethinking your transport. Not only should you try to shorten shipping routes whenever possible, but your shipping should also be more eco-friendly. For instance, electric cars are much better for our planet than gas-guzzling trucks.

Read more: B2B eCommerce Trends — These Strategies Can Boost Your Business

Key Technologies Impacting B2B eCommerce

Outside of the trends that have shaped the future of B2B eCommerce, there are also technologies making a memorable difference. Here are a few of them and what their impacts are.

Dynamic pricing and predictive analytics

While predictive analytics are nothing new, their ability to create accurate gauges of what a business’s future might look like has only improved, especially due to the zenith of AI. There’s a reason predictive analytics software is poised to achieve growth of more than $41 billion in 2028.

Predictive analytics are like the crystal ball we all wish we had. Now, your B2B eCommerce business can use your historical sales and audience data to see the decisions you can make that drive the most profit.

You can mine customer data to determine what kinds of products your customers might be interested in, making manufacturing decisions to save money and enhance customer loyalty.

Moreover, predictive analytics are valuable for creating a dynamic pricing model. You can instantly discover what similar products in your market are priced at in real-time, then adjust your pricing accordingly depending on economic factors.

Virtual reality for product demonstrations

Virtual reality or VR is another area in which technology drives B2B eCommerce forward. While in markets like C2C and B2C, augmented reality or AR is in, VR helps B2B businesses more.

How, you ask? VR bridges the gap between you and another business, even if you’re located on opposite sides of the world. You can demonstrate your new product or service, incorporate interactive elements, or unveil a digital showroom the customer can explore at leisure.

Although these demonstrations aren’t 100% hands-on (since everything is digitized), VR allows business to expedite their decision-making. This is the closest they can get to seeing your product or service in person, especially since you operate primarily online.

Read also: How to Build the Perfect B2B Marketing Automation Strategy

Marketplaces and Their Growing Influence

Today’s B2B marketplaces are jam-packed with major power players, with Amazon Business, eBay, Alibaba, Global Sources, and IndiaMART the five biggest. Here is an overview of gross yearly sales:

  • Amazon Business – $35 billion
  • eBay – $10.15 billion
  • Alibaba – $126.49 billion
  • Global Sources – $677.7 billion

B2B eCommerce marketplaces have both generalized and industry-specific focuses, allowing businesses and brands of all types to find their place on these platforms. Further, easy and inexpensive account and shop setups make joining effortless.

What role do marketplaces play in today’s growing B2B eCommerce sector? The answer doesn’t boil down to just one role but rather many. Let’s take a look.

Exposure to new audiences

Building your B2B eCommerce brand from scratch would take substantial time and money. Even then, you might not get the reach you would have by joining an eCommerce marketplace like Amazon or eBay.

These platforms have long been entrenched in the public consciousness. They’ve been around for decades and have the household name status that instantly drives trust. By extension, when your brand is a part of that network or marketplace, more of that trust trickles down to your brand.

More than just exposing you to audiences who will see your online storefront but not bother giving you a second glance, you can be introduced to audiences specifically looking for the types of B2B products you specialize in, especially when choosing less general B2B eCommerce marketplaces.

Lower marketing expenses

Digital marketing is not getting cheaper; if anything, as technology grows and the way we consume it increases, the costs will go up. In 2024, you can spend over $10,000 monthly on marketing expenses.

While B2B eCommerce marketplaces don’t eliminate the need for marketing expenses, they reduce the spending you’d put forth. That’s especially important for newer businesses that can’t afford astronomical costs right out of the gate.

Freedom to scale

When starting a B2B eCommerce platform from scratch, you can scale up as much as you wish, but not without incurring a few headaches and expenses along the way. By comparison, hitching your wagon to an existing marketplace lets you grow without stress and extra costs.

Simple startup

I mentioned how easy it is to start on most B2B eCommerce marketplaces like Alibaba or eBay. You can often sign up for free on these platforms, typing in a few basic requirements like your name, email address, and phone number.

Once you’re in, you can complete your profile, pay any necessary fees, and begin designing your storefront to your likeness according to your business branding.

Read more: 14 Examples of Small Business Branding (Achieve Similar Results)

Streamlined sales

There are many reasons why sales are easier and more efficient in a B2B eCommerce marketplace.

For starters, there’s security. Many platforms have encryption, two-factor authentication, and other security protocols. If a customer feels secure checking out on your store, that gives them more impetus to return.

On top of that, you can integrate the platform with other marketing, sales, or eCommerce tools you use, simplifying your day-to-day operations.

Then there are all the payment processing options, which can accept many forms of currency and different payment methods, from PayPal to credit card, Apple Pay, and Visa. Making it easy to shop on your online store also increases the chances that a customer will come back.

In the meantime, you can enjoy a healthy profit margin, as most B2B eCommerce markets only take a small cash cut.

Built-in analytics

Lastly, you can access data related to your sales, marketing advertising, and customers to learn more about your audience’s favorite products (and least favorites), how well your marketing performs, and if you need to retool your conversion approach.

This data is invaluable in learning and improving, bringing in even more customers, and increasing your profits.

Read also: 9 Proven B2B Email Marketing Best Practices for Beginners

Best Practices for B2B eCommerce Websites

Before you can taste success with your B2B eCommerce business, you need the best website you can build. Your website needs to shine because you’re an eCommerce business operating exclusively online.

Fortunately, I have plenty of best practices and tips you can use to improve your site or optimize it so it’s even better!

Improve website loading speed

Website loading speed illustration
Image courtesy of Tooltester

How long does it take your B2B eCommerce website to load? If the answer is longer than two seconds on desktop and eight seconds on mobile, then boy, I have some bad news for you. Your bounce rate can increase to 123% if your mobile site doesn’t load within 10 seconds.

That can be crippling for a new B2B business trying to find its footing in a competitive landscape!

So, what can you do to make your site load faster? Plenty!

  • Cut down on the number of JavaScript and CSS files your site uses.
  • Optimize your images, compressing their size without killing their quality.
  • Reduce the redirects across your site.
  • Remove external scripts that don’t serve a purpose.

Prioritize fast fulfillment

Same-day delivery is rapidly becoming the norm in a world where getting your order the next day used to astound some people. While most consumers in the US will wait at least two days for their order, only a quarter said they’ll wait three to four days.

The exception, of course, is if you’re using a dropshipping business model. Since that involves third parties, the delivery times are often much slower. Outside of that, you should unkink whatever tangles in your supply chain are limiting you from fast order delivery.

Today’s consumers don’t just want it; they demand it.

Use enterprise resource planning

Enterprise resource planning or ERP software is a cloud-based solution that bundles all your important business activities together. I’m talking about everything from supply chain operations to project management, compliance, and accounting.

Additionally, you can use an ERP for financial forecasting, which can help you foresee your profits for the next period and budget accordingly. You can use ERP almost regardless of your industry, and with so many tools across various price points, you can find a solution within your budget.

Get active on social media

You’re not limited to only building your brand on your website. You can and should also generate a following on social media and then convert that traffic to your site. Try these tips:

  • Start on the social platforms your target audience uses the most but be prepared to build a following on all the major social media platforms eventually.
  • Plan to post content daily, creating a calendar if necessary.
  • Use Canva or another free image tool to build infographics, then post them to your feed.
  • Don’t be afraid to share third-party content you find valuable and relevant, as value is the most important thing when growing your audience.
  • Promote your social media on your website, emails, blog, and vice-versa.
  • Host a contest or giveaway and require people to follow you on social media.

Optimize your website for mobile

Your site may load fast on mobile, but how optimized is it? If the answer is “a little” or “not at all,” you must change that posthaste.

Optimization for mobile means replicating the desktop experience as eloquently and accurately as possible. You may have to swap some elements here and shuffle some others there, but the heart of your site should be the same.

Responsiveness is key to mobile optimization, as is easy-to-use navigation.

Add videos and images

Some of your products are probably rather complex as a B2B eCommerce business. What better way to showcase what you sell than through visual media?

Explainer videos are best here. You can make a video on how to assemble your product or how to use it. Images displaying the product out of the box will also increase interest and potential buyers.

Use omnichannel marketing

I mentioned before that technology has changed how we use the internet. We have more options, from social media to email, text messages, and websites.

Your site is but a small part of an omnichannel marketing campaign. Reaching audiences on the platforms they already use is key to your B2B eCommerce strategy and success in 2024.

Focus on SEO

Once your site goes live, you need to check its rank, as this determines where it will show up in search engine results pages when users search for keywords. SEO is admittedly hard, but with this collection of strategies, you can elevate your rank sooner:

  • Research keywords your target market searches for, ensuring they have a medium difficulty or search volume. This refers to terms that aren’t so inundated because they’re overly popular but aren’t so dead because no one searches for them.
  • Boost your website’s loading speed. Yes, this also helps your SEO!
  • Create an internal linking system of other recent, relevant content within your content network. Ensure the anchor text describes the link.
  • Define your website hierarchy so search engine crawlers can index and understand your site more easily.
  • Incorporate identified keywords into blog copy, page titles, and URLs.
  • Optimize your images with alt data.
  • Build a backlink profile from relevant, trustworthy third-party websites.

Read also: How to Build a Dropshipping Brand That Clicks

Implement self-service

With almost 90% of today’s customers preferring self-service during their online shopping experiences, you’d do your B2B eCommerce and business customers a disservice not to utilize this feature.

Use chatbots if you aren’t already doing so. Provide real-time tracking data as soon as an order goes out. Create a knowledge base so customers don’t have to contact your support line. These are small but meaningful changes that will help your business grow.

Build a secure website

Remember earlier when I talked about two-factor authentication and encryption as typical measures of a secure website? Well, B2B eCommerce marketplaces aren’t the only sites that have them. Your site also needs them.

I also recommend a data privacy policy clearly stating what kind of data you collect from your audience and what you will do with it.

Offer more payment options

Payment gateways for B2B eCommerce strategy
Image courtesy of Integrated Research

You might strive to provide as many payment options as possible, but chances are, you could probably add more.

Here are some payment platforms to consider if you aren’t already using them:

  • Payoneer
  • WePay
  • Google Pay
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Square
  • Stripe
  • Klarna

You can also accept these eCommerce payment options:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Buy now, pay later or BNPL
  • Electronic wallet
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Electronic check
  • Mobile payments
  • App payments
  • Bank transfers
  • Cash on delivery or COD
  • Direct deposit

Start a referral system

What are you waiting for if your B2B eCommerce business doesn’t already have a referral system? Referrals are an excellent way to encourage more sales, increase conversions, and build loyalty among existing and new customers.

Ask your longest-term customers to recommend others within their network, then reward them when the new customer purchases. Create a rewards tier, so the more referrals a customer makes, the greater the rewards they can access.

Work with an influencer

If you struggle to build an audience, try partnering with an influencer. A major name in your industry will revitalize your marketing efforts, spreading your products to newer audiences who will be readier to convert based on the influencer’s recommendation.

Influencer marketing usually results in more leads, conversions, and sales, but it depends on your chosen influencer. Your audience is smart, so an inauthentic partnership in which you and the influencer share no common ground will ring hollow to your customers. The partnership could backfire, so select a partner carefully.

Personalize your website experience

Your website isn’t for everyone; it’s for specific prospective customers. Incorporating personalization elements helps you connect more effectively with those people. Try these strategies on for size:

  • Feature blog posts relevant to a customer group’s needs, interests, and/or pain points.
  • Showcase the most relevant features of your products.
  • Use pop-ups with recommendations geared toward fulfilling that audience segment’s needs.
  • Post testimonials from customers like your target market to prove the value of customer experience with your products.

Use VR

That’s right, I’m talking about VR once again. I can’t stress enough how valuable it is in helping prospective customers visualize your product. That’s half the battle in convincing them to purchase.

Start an email marketing campaign

Your B2B eCommerce business must also use email marketing to connect with your audience, keep them engaged, and give them more reasons to purchase your products.

Review these tips for email marketing success:

  • Use automation software to schedule your emails.
  • Personalize your subject lines to drive more opens.
  • Make it easy for subscribers to leave your list without reporting you for spam.
  • Make your email design mobile-friendly.
  • Add CTAs above and below the fold.
  • Use emojis sparingly in subject lines to draw more visual interest.
  • Incorporate branding in your emails, including your logo and brand colors.
  • Add images and videos.
  • Keep the email short, within a few hundred words.
  • Be clear and concise when writing your email body so your message doesn’t get buried.
  • Determine an emailing frequency, such as once a week or every other week, according to your audience’s preferences.
  • Create a newsletter and send it as supplementary content.
  • Give your email audience VIP access on occasion, such as first announcements or early-bird access, to increase signups.
  • Use A/B testing before sending your emails.

Let AI help

Repeat after me: AI is your friend. It feels hard to believe, but AI is a huge driver in helping you achieve omnichannel marketing. You can rely on it to schedule emails, operate as a chatbot, and otherwise connect with your audience in ways you won’t always have time to.

Focus on CRO

Last but certainly not least, conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is a rising trend in B2B eCommerce this year. CRO is about getting your audience to take a specific action through your website design, whether subscribing to your email list or (more realistically) converting.

Elements like faster checkout, self-service, mobile optimization, website responsiveness, and high-quality visual media will increase your CRO.

Read also: Winning in a Competitive World: eCommerce Marketing 101

Conclusion

Staying ahead with innovative strategies is critical for a B2B eCommerce business. You must prioritize ongoing adaptation to technology and embrace market changes for business growth. Success will surely follow!

EngageBay is an all-in-one marketing, sales, and customer support software for small businesses, startups, and solopreneurs. You get email marketing, marketing automation, landing page and email templates, segmentation and personalization, sales pipelines, live chat, and more.

Sign up for free with EngageBay or book a demo with our experts. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the top B2B eCommerce strategies for 2024?

The B2B eCommerce strategies you must use in 2024 are CRO, virtual reality, predictive analytics and dynamic pricing, email marketing, social commerce, social media marketing, and SEO.

2. How does AI influence B2B eCommerce?

AI can make many tasks of B2B eCommerce marketing more time-saving and efficient. One of the most popular uses of AI in this sphere is operating as a chatbot to answer customer queries.

3. What is the role of sustainability in B2B eCommerce?

Reducing waste is a trend across B2B, B2C, and C2C businesses as the planet yearns for relief. Using recyclable materials and reducing your supply chain carbon footprint will make you a greener business.

4. Why is a mobile-first approach crucial for B2B eCommerce?

You’re an internet-first business, and since most of your customers and leads will find you via mobile, your B2B eCommerce website must be optimized to provide an ideal browsing experience.

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