Recently published Forrester reports project B2B e-commerce sales in the U.S. will exceed a trillion dollars in 2019, for the first time ever. And this is by the narrowest definition of B2B sales, i.e. transactions Forrester calls employee-initiated purchases conducted on their suppliers' websites. For context, B2B e-commerce is about twice the total revenue of B2C sales generated by all retailers combined. (Including Amazon!)
Manufacturers are leading the way in B2B e-commerce with almost 70% of manufacturers selling online in one form or another. The trend is clear: E-commerce is the fastest growing sales channel for manufacturers that have embraced it accounting for over 50% of B2B sales including EDI, e-procurement, and e-commerce websites.
Working with manufacturing clients in multiple industries we see confirmation of Forrester's findings: B2B e-commerce is increasing in importance, especially for clients expanding into new markets, introducing new products and connecting directly with potential customers. This is not to say manufacturers are giving up on trade shows, distributors, field reps and call centers.
However, the emphasis (and investment) is shifting to support their online initiatives. These forward looking manufacturers understand the importance of having robust, secure, easy-to-use websites, supported by online marketing to help them reach their target markets, quickly and cost-effectively.
So while B2C e-commerce gets most of the hype, B2B e-commerce is where the real action is.