Putting a B2B E-Commerce Twist Into the SMB

By Steven Kramer
Apr 28, 2012 5:00 AM PT

Business-to-business selling on the Internet, or B2B e-commerce, is one of the fastest growing segments of the small-business marketplace. As businesses flock to the Internet to find vendors for essential products and services, B2B e-commerce is rapidly expanding, both in terms of total revenue and the number of small B2B firms operating in the digital space.

Putting a B2B E-Commerce Twist Into the SMB

Since approximately two out of three new jobs are created by small businesses, according to SBA estimates, the rising influence of B2B e-commerce in the small business sector has important implications for the U.S. economy.

But how is B2B e-commerce really impacting small businesses? And what are some of the specific benefits small businesses are capturing from B2B e-commerce strategies?

How B2B E-commerce Benefits Small Businesses

Consumers are drawn to e-commerce because it allows them to create digital connections with the brands and businesses that are important to them and offers opportunities for seamless customer experiences. In addition to connecting with e-commerce providers via traditional Internet connections, today's consumers are relying on a sophisticated array of tools and resources, integrating mobile and social channels into their online shopping behaviors.

In response to consumer demand, brands large and small are ramping up their multichannel strategies. Familiar e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay and Shop.ca are major players in the consumer e-commerce market, and countless brick-and-mortar retailers, including Best Buy, Home Depot and Wal-Mart, have captured consumers' attention in the digital space.

While the consumer side of the e-commerce marketplace has garnered most of the attention, the B2B side has been largely neglected. Yet for every small business that markets their products and services to consumers, at least three other small businesses sell primarily to other businesses.

By adopting B2B e-commerce strategies, small businesses gain several important advantages, many of which level the playing field and allow them to compete with larger companies.

Level Playing Field

By effectively leveling the playing field for small businesses, B2B e-commerce allows smaller companies to leverage technology as a competitive advantage in today's global business-to-business marketplace. With the right strategy, small companies can leverage affordable B2B e-commerce strategies to enhance brand appeal, reduce operational costs and broaden the impact of the organization's sales agenda.

Even more importantly, B2B e-commerce frees up resources to offer an achievable pathway for small organizations to target and accomplish substantial improvements in the customer experience. For many B2B sellers, e-commerce is the key to small business success and revitalization in today's multichannel marketplace.

Steven Kramer is the president of North America at Hybris, a multichannel commerce software vendor.

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