There will be very few people reading this who have not bought something online: some clothes, maybe, or shoes, music on Spotify or a Netflix subscription. E-commerce is an integral part of consumer retail, or B2C as we call it in the trade, and everyone can see the benefits.
But how many of us have made purchases online for our business? B2B, as it is known, is not quite as mature when it comes to buying online. But the huge benefits of e-commerce are even more obvious when it comes to business-to-business, which was one of the reasons D-Fokus B2B last week was so exciting.
The benefits and potential of B2B e-commerce made D-Fokus B2B in Stockholm a great event for both suppliers and purchasers; that potential is the reason so many B2B suppliers are working on or planning e-commerce solutions as a new sales channel. But they can’t just adopt existing B2C solutions. They need new systems and even new business models to get the most out of e-commerce as a B2B sales channel. It’s about thinking in different ways.
Niclas Molin, CEO of product information management company inRiver, spoke about B2B success factors in the US and Europe. Time and scale are important: think big, start small and scale fast! He stressed that, all in all, customized offerings and solutions are essential for success, but you need total control of your data and processes.
IT manager Annika Engbäck from Swedish “ride experience” wholesalers Duells talked about the importance of having the right external partners and involving all internal teams and customers, when moving from traditional B2B sales channels to B2B e-commerce. Duells works closely with its resellers, and like inRiver it sees time as a key factor, particularly during transformation projects where functional requirements such as transparency, partners and control of key data are vital.
And for those concerned about e-commerce cannibalising sales from other channels, it was interesting to hear Magnus Burén, E-commerce Manage at industrial supplies wholesaler Procurator, describe how the digital conversation is actually helping other sales channels even while it increases online sale.
The event was a great opportunity to talk to clients, partners and other industry players, and the interest we saw in our new AfterPay pay-after-delivery offering left me and my colleagues smiling at the end of a long, intensive but rewarding day. If you didn’t get the chance to call by, send me a message and we can talk about the opportunities for e-commerce to help your business grow, B2B or B2C.
– Lukas Wetterström
Financial advisor, arvato Financial Solutions Sweden