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B2B E-Commerce Trends for 2016

Developing a strategy to drive your business to success is always a challenge, but keeping up with industry trends is another obstacle in itself.
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Developing a strategy to drive your business to success is always a challenge, but keeping up with industry trends is another obstacle in itself. The digital marketplace is constantly shifting which is making it that much harder for eCommerce retailers to devise a strategy that will be effective for the long haul. How do you really know which trends to follow and which to toss aside with yesterday's news? Let's take a look at a few B2B trends on the horizon for 2016:

Mobile Sky Rockets: Recent statistics show that 80% of internet users own a smartphone which automatically puts mobile on the track to success. While desktop purchases still take the lead, mobile is making serious headway. This trend has consistently popped up on lists of "Trends to watch" for several years but 2016 is starting to look like a game changer. Over the course of 1 year, mobile increased their share of eCommerce site traffic in the US by 5 % surpassing desktop. According to eMarketer, "while conversion rates on mobile also trailed those on desktop, they had gained ground. Between May 2014 and May 2015, the average ecommerce conversion rate on tablets rose 7.7%, from 2.34% to 2.52%. Smartphones trailed tablets, with a conversion rate of 1.18%, but this was up a whopping 32.6% year over year, from 0.89%. Desktops saw their average conversion rate drop 3.5%, from 3.47% to 3.35%."

As mobile is playing a significant role in B2B eCommerce sales, keep in mind that it's simply not enough to just offer a mobile version of your site. Your user experience and design should be at the top of your list of things to consider for your mobile site. Remember, visual appeal and simple navigation are crucial to a smooth customer experience.

Up the Quality of Content: Regardless of what you're buying, the better the product description is the more likely you are to feel confident with your purchase. In the case of B2B eCommerce sales, B2B buyers want as much detail as possible from both a written and visual perspective. All retailers should provide merchandising guidelines, high resolution images, product specifications and create rich media. Providing in depth detail and nice imagery will help establish trust and will further convince the buyer they are making the right choice.

Marking Automation: As an eCommerce retailer, email marketing won't quite cut it to boost your sales. The scope of marketing extends way beyond the traditional newsletter. Online retailers are now using customized landing pages, banners, discounts and promotions to relate to their customers wants and needs.

To a whole sale buyer, this is just as important. Using specific tailored messages to target your buyers are essential, as mentioned above the more descriptive your content is the greater your chances are of retaining a new customer. If you are able to create content that is informative yet brief, this will go a long way to making sure your rich media is effective. Identify key points that are important to share with your target audience.

Another aspect that adds value to a wholesaler or any B2B is the option to provide a vendor log module and functionality top calculate bulk-pricing discounts. Wholesalers especially appreciate this feature because it helps them in maximizing their business.

Direct and Marketplace: B2B eCommerce has been divided into two defined models, Marketplace and Direct. The Marketplace model involves selling products parallel to vendors such as Amazon Business, Tradescraper and Kinnek. This new crop of B2B e-marketplaces displays promise for growth and new market opportunity which in turn attracts business from wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers.

As for the other model, direct, is when a company has its own B2B webstore where their customers have access to create an account and make direct purchases. Out of the two models, it appears that the marketplace model is a fast growing trend that is bringing fierce competition to the table. The new B2B marketplace approach is helping both the seller and buyer enter the eCommerce space. Many B2B companies are still in the early stages of becoming acquainted with this system, but within the next year similar marketplaces like Amazon are on the rise to adding to this competitive market. Keep your eyes peeled on this trend!

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