The Rise of B-commerce: Modern Stacks for B2B eCommerce
Why does only B2C eCommerce tech have all the shiny toys? Well, this is about to change.
The B2B space is getting more tech to solve credit checks, payment, authentication, time booking for services, and of course, headless commerce services 😉 This new wave of modern tech is now referred to as b-commerce.
Changing Buying Patterns in B2B
According to Forrester, 73% of B2B buyers are now millennials. Millennials are quickly entering the B2B space as buyers with a tendency to want to browse available products, learn about products and make purchases fully digital without the traditional picking up the phone or sending an email with the purchase order, which is then manually being input by the B2B company receiving the order.
Modern Shopping Experiences Derived from B2C
The B2C buying patterns, as we all know, have highly shifted towards fully digital experiences. Even though the total eCommerce sales vs. traditional retail was only 13% in 2021, the trend is clear, according to Statistica.
B2B has suffered from under-investment and business keeping old patterns with much manual labor when placing orders. Both B2B customer experience and B2B employee experiences can hugely benefit from modern stacks and digital processes.
- Employee experience: easier to use systems gives more efficient order management and fulfillment. Ultimately spending less time and with fewer errors.
- Customer experience: you can obviously sell more and have more returning customers with self-services buying experiences.
Business Benefits of B-commerce
There are several business benefits of adopting a modern b-commerce stack. Ultimately landing on the two good olds; saving time and money and increased sales.
What is more important here is to future-proof your business; depending on your space of B2B, there will be a competition that will create a better customer experience and run their business more efficiently.
Example from our group of companies; we switched telecom providers for one that had a better self-service dashboard for us to self-manage all phones. Simple, but the customer experience was actually more important than the price.
There are many, but here are some of the top benefits of a modern B2B commerce stack:
- Efficiency: saving time spent manually on processing orders with integrations to, e.g., ERP systems
- Reducing returns raised from human error
- Increased sales as the customer get better product information
- Better access to data and insight into customer behavior, detect trends early and take actions
Headless Architecture for B2B
Headless architecture for B2B is all about picking the stack of services that fits your business. The good old saying of: buy the commodity and build innovation is the main takeaway from a headless B2B architecture.
You invest your time in building tailor-made business processes and customer experiences. The customer experience is typically modern web frontends or native Apps. While your business processes are in the service API layer. This is where you add the business logic tailored to your business.
The service API strategy allows you to also abstractly connect different services so that you can replace part of your stack as you evolve - future-proofing your decisions and not putting all your eggs in one basket. Below is an overview of a typical b-commerce stack. Best of breed, not one size fits all.
Emerging B2B Providers
There are many players in the b-commerce space now, meaning services that are SaaS API services and not traditional monolithic software.
If it is not apparent already, Crystallize is a service that is an excellent fit for modern B2B commerce 😉 Superfast GraphQL API, scalable and flexible to model your business in regards to product information and pricing. Plug done.
One of my favorite startups in the B2B space these days is the payment service Two. Inc. The team at Two is building payment services targeted towards B2B, where they are handling credit checks, payments, and collection for you. All in a simple API service.
Are you selling internationally? Then you need to make sure you have your taxes sorted out. Here you have API services like Octobat that are purely focussing on tax compliance as a service.
Authentication needs to be done, and two great examples of services are Auth0 and Octa. Are you selling services that are based on time booking? Well, look no further than to services like Timekit.io. New services like ShipBob (US) or SendCloud (EU) are good options when shipping goods.
And of course, you can also use good old Zapier to connect the dots (or Webhooks). To make simple integrations and data flow simple to manage.
You get the point. API services explicitly designed for or work great for B2B are here. Now.
If you are in the B2B space, which you are since reading this, and have not looked into a modern API-driven architecture to grow and future proof your business - well, what are you waiting for?