An open B2B e-commerce – a competitive advantage for companies that goes online?
It completely hails reports on the health B2B e-commerce. Awesome fun to read! Inevitably, it feels like the result of the report is different depending on who ordered or produced it. It allows you to put on different glasses when reading, but it doesn’t make it any less interesting.
Everyone seems to agree that the momentum is really starting to gain as B2B companies are entering the digital arena. However, on the question how far B2B companies have come very much differs in the reports. But there is consensus that they really knock on the door.
The challenges in business-to-business e-commerce are many and slightly different, as I said, depending on who you ask. One challenge we see coming back is the management of potential new customers.
Open for anyone and everyone?
B2B companies are a long way after B2C companies in many ways regarding online sales. Especially within the simplicity and speed of the buyer. Everything seems and is a little more complicated for the B2B companies that are carrying a heavier load with more complex systems in the background. The result of this is in practice is many logins for those who are willing to buy. One of the reasons that it looks like this is that e-commerce for B2B companies is often primarily aimed at facilitating their existing customers and not for acquiring new customers.
If you think that it is enough to try to keep your customers, you are out on thin ice. The risk is that those who only aim to not lose their customers by digitising the business will live a thinning existence.
Transparency in pricing – yes or no?
Another challenge that I find very exciting is the difference in openness in pricing between B2C and B2B.
Simply moving out their e-commerce to streamline and try to facilitate their existing customers will make it difficult to survive in the longer term. The big dragons like Amazon, Alibaba, specialists and local marketplaces will not be easy to compete with.
The buyers are unfaithful and many will always test other suppliers. Anyone who then offers a smooth buying experience and can receive new customers with an open price list will have the power to grow.
The complexity of B2B companies, with discount systems, special prices for procurement customers in the public sector, etc. of course makes it complicated. Fear of losing customers is a driving force in keeping different price lists. A logical fallacy that often has the opposite effect. Those who manage to get out of the different-price strategy approach really have the prerequisites for growth.
There are those who succeed very well. In the autumn, at the D-focus trade fair for B2B in Gothenburg, Tingstad Papper AB told us that they greatly increased their sales since making their web shop transparent and openly showing all their prices. I really think that an open B2B e-commerce a competitive advantage.
Release the pricing!
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