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    How to Adapt to the Shift in B2B Commerce

    November 2, 2018
    5 minute read
    How to Adapt to the Shift in B2B Commerce

    Amazon Business saw annual revenue of $10 billion this year, up from $1 billion in 2015, the year it launched. Amazon’s ability to grow its B2B business at such a rapid pace is evidence that the B2B buyer wants the ease and frictionless experience of their consumer lives to be in their professional life. In fact, the B2B ecommerce market is set to grow $1.2 trillion by 2021, according to Forrester Research.

    In a recent webinar, we dove into the Amazon effect on B2B manufacturers: how it’s transformed commerce. Learn how leading manufacturers are succeeding amid a new reality of buying and selling for business.

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    Amazon Changed How Everyone Buys

    By the end of 2018, 51% of all US households will have an Amazon Prime membership. The Amazon experience has become part of the daily lives of consumers regardless of where they make a purchase. All digital experiences are measured by what Amazon has scaled with ease: convenience, choice, and usability. It’s no wonder business buyers look for similarly consistent, reliable, and convenient buying experiences. 

    Distributors and Other B2B Retailers are Shifting to Digital

    B2B Ecommerce News asked buyers which site features were most important when selecting and reordering products for their businesses.,The top two were onsite search (59%) and product details, such as copy, imagery/alternative views, video (53%). In response, distributors like Grainger and Fastenal are investing in ways to provide the efficiency and information critical to the business buyer. More than half of B2B distributors and wholesalers surveyed have invested in digital infrastructures to meet buyers demands for higher quality product content, faster search, and more extensive inventory. With estimates that B2B ecommerce will have a 40% penetration within the next 10 years, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors who invest early and get ahead of competition will thrive, as long as they embrace their changing buyer and meet their expectations.

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    The Importance of Content for B2B Sellers 

    For sellers to position and market their product offerings effectively, product content must be properly leveraged and optimized as the market changes. Product information needs to be easily searched on marketplaces, and provide enough value to help buyers make an informed purchase.

    Consider the Food and Beverage industry and the impact of the USDA Child Nutrition Program: US schools have to provide specific meal requirements in order to subsidize their spend on meals for students. The USDA Branded Food Products Database was developed to provide open access to make it easier for schools to calculate if their meals are fulfilling the nutritional and caloric requirements to receive subsidies. Food and Beverage companies selling to K-12 schools must maintain to their product information to ensure it’s effortlessly found in this database and that the information is accurate.

    How Successful B2B Sellers Achieve Results

    To be a successful seller on digital channels, brands like ShurTech and Bosch are taking a three-pronged approach: centralized and consistent product content that is distributed to multiple end points and analyzed for improvement. Both sellers identified that they were not delivering the product content that would resonate with buyers. By centralizing their data, they were both able to identify any gaps or additional content needed to perform on their digital channels and create a consistent brand message. This first step made it easier to distribute their product information and identify where they needed improvement, from adding more imagery, bullet points, or video. Taking this three pronged approach has provided results for both sellers: ShurTech improved sales rank by 15% on Amazon, and Bosch saw purchase conversions by 4%.

    In order to achieve measurable growth on digital channels, B2B sellers must start with defining a product content strategy and then verify that it aligns with distributor or wholesaler partners. Understanding the needs and requirements of business partners will simplify and streamline B2B sellers ability to deliver the buying experiences their buyers desire.

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    Written by: Caroline Egan

    Caroline Egan is the Content Marketing Manager at Salsify. When she's not writing about how to win the digital shelf, she can be found waking up early to hit a work out class or cooking up a storm.

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