B2B shopping platforms, what is the key to their success?
The numbers are inexorable. The latest data from the report “E-commerce in Poland 2023”, confirmed that nearly 80% of Poles surveyed already buy online. The trend started in the era of the pandemic and lockdown ceased to be a trend, because it has become... actually a standard. Do changes in consumer behavior have a chance to move to the business level? Can B2B purchasing platforms become an important format for cooperation in the future? The fact that such an evolution is possible is argued by Ireneusz Wawrzeń, Commercial Director FMCG in Orbico Polska.
The growing importance of e-commerce is confirmed by the forecasts of specialists, e.g. in the report “Perspectives of the development of the e-commerce market in Poland 2018-2027”, prepared by Strategy & Poland in 2022 . They found that by 2027, the value of the e-commerce market in Poland will increase by 94 billion and amount to PLN 187 billion. Therefore, it is not surprising that more and more companies are investing in the development of an e-commerce channel, thanks to which it can increase sales or reach a wider range of customers. This also applies to companies operating in the B2B channel. This segment already generates a turnover of PLN 647 billion, and Internet platforms are becoming increasingly popular, aimed at business customers – such as the Orbico.pl e-commerce platform. Thanks to them, the customer has access to thousands of products on their smartphone and on the computer, they can choose items without restrictions, at any time and place. The Orbico.pl platform was put at the disposal of customers in June 2021. In the current year alone, we have completed over 40,000 orders through it, delivering them to over 5,000 points!
What is the phenomenon of purchasing platforms prepared for B2B customers? The answer is simple – their use can be used to build and strengthen positive experiences, as well as translate into an increase in the value of the shopping cart, increase customer loyalty or win these new ones thanks to good opinions and recommendations. What makes up the positive shopping experience? There are several such factors.
Independence and time saving.
In the traditional model, the entrepreneur makes orders during the visits of a sales representative who visits it once every several days. It is then that he learns about promotions, special offers or product novelties. B2B online platforms create completely new business opportunities. They make the entrepreneur constantly have access to the best offers, and can place orders themselves at any time. It can adjust their size to current needs, flexibly manage delivery times, as well as have full insight into historical data, invoices, receivables or settlements.
This does not mean, of course, that the role of the sales representative is reduced to a minimum. On the contrary – a sales representative should offer substantive support to the client, i.e. to share product and categorical knowledge, market and consumer data. All this so that the customer can increase sales more effectively and achieve their goals. The time spent historically on joint, manual execution of orders can now be used for a constructive conversation about how to grow a business together. This is a win-win situation.
Unique and exclusive promotions.
The use of shopping B2B platforms gives you access not only to a wide range of products, but also to promotional prices, which are often unattainable in the traditional purchasing model. This makes shopping in the e-commerce channel simply more affordable and brings more value to the customer. Thanks to the access to the platform, the store owner gains a quick access to orders, and thus does not have to wait for the next visit of a sales representative. You can also often include an email or SMS notification about the best offers to make sure that no shopping opportunity will miss it.
Congo on many levels.
The shopping platforms also have a number of other functionalities that make using them much more pleasant and intuitive. This includes access to order history and payments, the ability to track delivery, or automatic filling of the shopping cart. They also strengthen positive purchasing experiences by encouraging the choice of such a way of cooperation.
Paying customer loyalty and convincing them to repeat orders in the online shopping platform is also extremely important. There is a much greater chance that the customer who “hunt” a good offer in the online channel will again do their purchases through it. Similarly, it also applies to various types of loyalty programs, which are a great way to build repeatability of purchases and convince customers that e-commerce purchases carry measurable benefits... and just pay off.
Breaking the Resistance and Realizing the Benefit.
Just as there are entrepreneurs who use shopping online platforms, there is no denying that there are also those who have never heard of them, or, if they have heard, have never given them a chance and continue to make orders from sales representatives. This may be due to a number of different factors, such as habits, convenience, bias to online shopping or concerns about the difficulty of using such a platform.
Apart from whether such objections are justified, it is worth remembering that a dozen years ago it was difficult to imagine using mobile banking and making transfers outside the bank. Just a few years ago, a medical teleporada was unthinkable, which in many cases – in the era of pandemic and lockdown – became the basic tool for communication between doctors and patients. As the calculator replaced the calculator, and the computer calculator in the world of accounting, will the B2B platforms be the successors of orders collected today by representatives, and previously written on paper cards or sent by fax? We don’t know that, but of course the analogies can be multiplied.
The development of any innovation raises skepticism, fears or doubts. Some companies remain with their proven, historical operating models and there is nothing wrong with that. Nevertheless, it is always worth being close to new technologies and watching their development closely to use them at the right time addressing your needs. This is no different for B2B purchasing platforms. Knowing what these platforms are, how they work, what benefits they bring, and how they can help in doing business on a daily basis is absolutely fundamental both for the development of platforms themselves, as well as for entrepreneurs looking for an advantage in today’s extremely competitive market.
Author: Ireneusz Wawrzeń, Commercial Director FMCG in Orbico