B2B eCommerce: Strategies to Succeed in Europe

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Most of you have probably already heard about B2B eCommerce. In short, it’s the sale of goods and services between two companies via an online sales portal. They include, for example, wholesale producers selling their goods to retailers. The shift to an automatized system (as opposed to sales going through sales representatives) aims to reduce overhead and improve efficiency. Going through an online portal for your production or retail needs is easier and faster than contacting companies directly.

How You can use It to Your Advantage

B2B eCommerce is distinct from B2C (or business-to-customer) eCommerce in two very important aspects. First, the quantities ordered are almost always much larger. Second, the decision usually involves more than one person.

Obviously, a large sale is a desirable outcome. By promoting and investing into your B2B sale solutions you can achieve a much greater margin of profit. Additionally, the complexity of fulfillment is reduced. Since you now have one large order instead of many smaller ones, you only need to deliver it to one place, bill only one company, and handle only the issues with that one company. So, by reducing the necessary work input, your overhead costs shrink drastically. Add to that the bonus of having a usually larger order and you can see why it is a boon for e- commerce.

The drawback is that you have to convince more than one person that you are the best trade partner. In B2C sales, the decision whether to buy or not rests on the shoulders of one person. Furthermore, they buy the product mostly for personal needs. In B2B sales, usually some type of board is involved. It will consist of high-ranking officials from the company that need to come to an agreement where, when and how much to buy.

The Keys to Success

Companies, like individual customers, base their decisions on some crucial factors. The most important of which is brand recognition. In lay terms, this means the hype your product is getting on social media. In our age, cold calls are virtually extinct, and promotion or advertisement works best through more subtle channels. The key to achieving good brand recognition and popularity is appropriate branding and customer care. The space of social media is nothing more than word of mouth taken to a whole new level. By making sure that any reviews and mentions of your company are likely to be positive you are more likely to strike big deals with retailers etc.

The second factor to consider is the ability of your company to respond to customer needs quickly and efficiently. When entering a new market it is important to adapt your product to the needs and preferences of that market. A good idea might be moving your center of operations for that product to the market you want to sell to. In the case of Europe, it makes sense to center
your logistics on the continent for easier access to quicker delivery options, as well as for more appropriate customer care.