B2B e-commerce is now growing dramatically

The reason for the growth has recently been the coronavirus pandemic. However, the trend has been maturing for a long time.
  • June 16, 2021

Posti has commissioned a study on the growth of B2B e-commerce. The study highlights that the role of B2B e-commerce will be substantial in the future. Digital subscription channels have come to stay, and their importance will grow in the future.

However, not everyone benefits from the growth of B2B e-commerce: just riding the crest of a trend wave is not enough, says Petri Koskinen, Head of Payments at Collector Bank Finland.

– Differentiation and utilization of growth require new skills and practices. Ease of shopping is the alpha and omega also in B2B e-commerce. It creates a positive shopping experience for the customer.

From being a recipient of orders to an e-retailer

In the past, B2B e-commerce has been perceived primarily as ordering, rather than as trading online. In order for B2B order recipient to become a retailer, he must offer the customer a pleasant and easy shopping experience, Koskinen emphasizes.

At the heart of the path of change are online marketing skills and the ease of buying and especially paying.

– A business buyer wants to pay with an invoice because it is easy and causes the least administrative work. Plus, it’s safe. We operate on the “pay only after the products have been delivered” principle, Koskinen says.

He adds that cards and other payment methods for consumers are not always the optimal solution because not all buyers have a business credit card, for example. A business invoice reduces the need for cards and personal payment methods and makes it easier to record purchases.

Now the time is right for B2B e-commerce growth

Enterpay’s CEO Jarkko Anttiroiko says that the reason for the growth of B2B e-commerce is logical. On the consumer side, coronavirus taught how to shop online. The same people who shop online as individuals also want to buy the products and services of the companies they represent just as easily.

– As in B2B e-commerce the size of one-time purchase is larger than on the consumer side, it is likely that B2B e-commerce will clearly overtake the growth of consumer e-commerce in the near future, Anttiroiko states.

He says the time is now ripe for B2B e-commerce both technically and mentally.

Pioneers are speeding up B2B e-commerce

Collector Bank and Enterpay are pioneers in enabling B2B e-commerce. Both companies have been working together for years to streamline B2B e-commerce.

Collector acts as a financier and takes care of the invoicing process. Enterpay in turn, makes the shopping experience as smooth as possible and ensures that the payment transaction is secure for the buyer and seller.

– It is illustrative that, measured by the number of payment transactions, Enterpay’s growth has been one hundred percent in the first half of the year compared to last year, Anttiroiko says.

B2C brands grab a part of the B2B e-commerce

Consumer e-commerce and B2B e-commerce are thus living the moment. They also affect each other.

– Familiar brands in the consumer market will grab their share of B2B e-commerce. If B2B intends to utilize the e-commerce boom, it must act quickly, Collector’s Koskinen encourages.

The pioneers of B2B e-commerce include the electronic, tool, hardware and food commerce. Instead of receiving passive orders, brands familiar from the consumer market in these sectors know how to acquire customers and to sell to them online.

For example, Power has excelled in consumer e-commerce and now also in B2B e-commerce.

The Finnish model has been exported to Norway in an advanced form

Collector Bank, Enterpay and Power have been cooperating in Finland for many years with good results. Power has also utilized the proven solution in Norway.

– Instead of copying a model that worked well, we took a step forward and took the business buyer’s payments to a whole new level, Enterpay’s Anttiroiko says.

– With the new model, paying by invoice doesn’t require any extra clicks. All data searches and security checks required for payment are carried out automatically in the background and the invoice is not even offered as a payment method, unless selling on credit is not possible for one reason or another.

Differences between B2B and B2C e-commerce

· Many may think that e-commerce is mostly about products and services targeted to consumers.

· The image is prevalent, as big e-retailers marketing to consumers are spectacularly featured. The truth is different.

· In fact, B2B e-commerce is already a bigger phenomenon. It is just hidden from the customers’ eyes.

· The biggest difference between consumer e-commerce and B2B e-commerce is that B2B e-shops most often operate in a closed ordering system.

· In both B2B and B2C e-commerce, ease of shopping plays a vital role.