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The future of online B2B

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Online business-to-business (B2B) retailing is on the brink of disruption and to remain competitive, increase visibility among other stakeholders, and build strong software and infrastructure services, retailers will need to prioritise mobile and omnichannel strategies.

This is according to research firm Frost & Sullivan which says they should also invest in B2B customer experiences by delivering personalised services through a focus on hypermarkets, assistive selling, and omnichannel presence.

Frost & Sullivan’s analysis, Future of B2B Online Retailing, predicts that online B2B transactions of manufacturers are expected to reach $3,68-trillion in key economies like the US, China, UK, Germany, and Japan by 2025. This will be driven predominantly by Web-only features like digital sales platforms, instant customer reach, cross-border accessibility, innovative fulfilment, and website compatibility (mobile and other platforms). In addition, the study examines online sales in the manufacturing industry and classifies the B2B relationships and working models. It focuses on techniques needed to improve the efficiency of online operations as well as customer services to enhance future growth opportunities. Profiles of B2B success cases are also provided.
“The B2B eCommerce market is becoming more complex in the large online environment as speed of delivery and user experience emerge as critical factors. In fact, use of innovative technology and personalised unique solutions are now key service differentiators,” explains Frost & Sullivan Visionary Innovation Group research associate Vidhya L. Ved. “Companies must rethink their strategies and devise more agile models that leverage economies of scale while meeting customer demands.”

From a regional perspective, China will become the world leader in the B2B eCommerce market with $1,25-trillion in sales by 2025. China’s above average adoption can be attributed to overcoming hurdles associated with legacy technology and systems, as well as the success of homegrown B2B marketplaces, such as Alibaba and JD.com, that have automated the process for many small and medium-sized enterprises. Other noteworthy regional developments include:

*  Strong growth from the US – the current leader in the market with $0,75-trillion in sales;
*  Prioritising the development of a B2B eCommerce marketplace in the US;
*  Commitment to new technologies and embracing open-source solutions by European businesses, especially in Germany; and
*  Integrating with third-party vendors such as the local leader, Rakuten, in Japan.
“B2B growth strategies clearly need to incorporate the innovations from business-to-consumer models into their websites to match increasing demands and expectations of business buyers,” says Ved. “The retail giants like Alibaba and Amazon are providing services such as enhancing the purchase journey through their cloud-based platforms, providing unique product differentiation through innovation, increasing product choices, and offering competitive prices. These strategies will continue to shape the future of B2B eCommerce.”