The ecommerce revolution has led to incredible growth. This is especially true in B2B — where the demand for fast, enjoyable experiences puts digital at the forefront.

It’s no surprise then that for the first time ever, nearly half (48%) of B2B businesses sell products online. And 88% say they will only sell online in the next five years.

If you’re in B2B, here are four ways you can drive growth.

 

Invest in ecommerce

This might seem like a no-brainer. But, only 27% of B2B decision-makers say they have taken revenue-maximizing steps in the digital age.

Digital is the future of B2B commerce — look for ways to convert your sales channels into digital touchpoints. As you move forward, set up systems that you can easily adjust, allowing you to keep pace with your customers’ needs.

This also helps businesses look past basic fulfillment toward automation, guided selling, and shipping. In other words, flexible systems allow you to think bigger and deliver more value to customers. You can leverage these digital channels to expand into new markets and gather insights.

Before you get started, it’s key to assess your firm’s digital maturity. Taking an honest look at your capabilities will reveal your readiness to evolve current offerings. For example, fulfillment solutions must be in place before extending your ecommerce to new locations.

 

Think of your buyers as consumers

It’s no secret that B2B users want to have a cohesive online experience at work as consumers. It’s the premise upon which Salesforce itself was founded.

Your customers want easy-to-navigate websites. Today, that’s table stakes. Now, self-service serves as digital’s most powerful differentiator and is a huge benefit for buyers.

A growing number of B2B organizations (73%) report that all their customers have access to self-service options. Customers enjoy perks like faster customer service through chat and access to order history.

These capabilities deliver on the belief that the value of ecommerce lies in more customer control. The result: faster processes, happier customers and, ultimately, growth.

To get started, begin with low-risk efforts like self-service ordering. From there, you can build on more features, such as customer service chatbots.

 

Deliver omni-channel experiences

In B2B, you must help customers buy both online and off. How? By merging channels, customer data, and service activity for a 360-degree experience.

A recent Forrester report found that about one-third of B2B firms were executing or optimizing their omni-channel strategy. These organizations must strike while the iron is hot — and adopt a strategy where touchpoints respond based on interactions across channels.

But that’s not enough. The most effective omni-channel strategies require a shift in staff, technology, processes, and culture to support B2B buyers whenever and wherever. To make it happen, take a phased approach (focus on one location, for example). Which brings us to...

 

Don’t underestimate anything

B2B needs are complicated, often involving large budgets and decision-making at the highest levels. In fact, these challenges frequently trump technology. Still, leading B2B businesses realize their structure must reflect the role of ecommerce as a revenue driver.

Restructuring your org to support digital goals ensures staying a step ahead. At the same time, this will help establish digital as key to the business.

Today, only 6% of B2B firms say that their president owns the ecommerce program, down from 17% just two years ago. This is great news, as internal experts are now driving program strategy, execution, and growth.

Given the broad adoption of ecommerce, those in B2B must examine how to improve the customer experience. As the industry undergoes this shift, it’s time to invest in ways that will help grab a bigger slice of that $2 trillion pie.

Learn more about how to grow your B2B commerce business.