What will B2B eCommerce look like in 2021?

In 2020, B2B online sales skyrocketed due to the unwanted pandemic, forcing many companies to divert all business transactions online.

 min read

In 2020, B2B online sales skyrocketed due to the unwanted pandemic, forcing many companies to divert all business transactions online. Changes in buyer behaviour meant businesses had to quickly adapt, with early adopters enhancing their online capabilities through customer-centric features and flexible eCommerce platforms that would future-proof their business. 

With inevitable changes both influenced by the pandemic and natural progression, we take a look at 5 noteworthy business-to-business eCommerce trends to look out for in 2021: 

1. Traditional buyers migrate online
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated digital transformation for B2B companies. B2B online sales are expected to continue to grow in 2021, as buyers enjoy faster and easier ways to purchase beyond traditional B2B sales channels. According to McKinsey, only 30% of B2B eCommerce buyers still want to interact with a sales representative whilst the majority would prefer to continue making digital purchases. Buyers trust also sees companies increasing their average order values whereas previously B2B eCommerce was used for smaller transactions. 

2. Direct-to-consumer opens up new revenue streams
Selling directly to customers can be a lucrative strategy for many trade businesses, especially as ⅓ of consumers look to purchase directly from manufacturers. By removing the typical B2B sales funnel, companies can gain more brand control and build strong relationships with their own customers. D2C brands can take advantage of personalisation, subscription based models and buy now, pay later payment options, all which help strengthen engagement, build loyalty and convert. B2B operations can continue to effectively grow successfully alongside any D2C venture.

3. Headless eCommerce
Just like our Peracto eCommerce platform, headless eCommerce decouples the front-end design from the back-end infrastructure, giving B2B companies the flexibility to manage multiple channels from a single API (Application Program Interface). Storefront changes can be made faster than ever before, supporting existing pressures to quickly adapt to changes in buyer behaviour and remain innovative above the competition. Headless eCommerce also allows B2B businesses to efficiently open up new revenue streams, just like the D2C trend above.

4. Improved user experiences
In May 2021, Google plans to release their latest algorithm which will have the biggest impact on eCommerce stores that fail to deliver great user experiences. The update sees Google introduce 3 core web vitals - ‘loading’, ‘interactivity’ and ‘virtual stability'. Along with other search signals such as mobile friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS security and intrusive interstitial guidelines, the core web vitals will measure the overall user experience of your website.

Google will preference websites that match its core web vital criteria and penalise others through lowered search rankings, impacting organic web traffic. 

5. The rise in B2B marketplaces 
Once seen as a B2C only strategy, marketplaces are taking on a bigger role in B2B eCommerce. According to Gartner, at least 70 percent of enterprise marketplaces launched will serve B2B transactions by 2023. By leveraging existing marketplaces, companies are able to elevate their brand with limited budget, increase efficiencies, drive business growth and increase product awareness. Along with utilising existing marketplaces such as Amazon, we’ll see a rise in businesses developing their own B2B marketplace. 

Find out how 9xb can help future-proof your online business through a tailored eCommerce strategy and leading platform. 

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