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Online corporate procurement: B2B e-commerce to reach $1 trillion

Corporate procurement has long since been a challenge for organizations of any scale. While it can be difficult to find a vendor that will provide for the company’s needs at an acceptable price, it is a necessary part of doing business.

Just as e-commerce changed the way consumers connected with retailers, so too has the world of corporate procurement felt the shake-up of online capabilities. Now, the online B2B e-commerce market is gearing up to reach a milestone.

“Within the next five years, the B2B e-commerce sector is likely to reach and exceed $1 trillion in revenue.”

Exceeding $1 trillion by 2020
According to recent Forrester research,within the next five years the B2B e-commerce sector is likely to reach and exceed $1 trillion in revenue. This would represent a doubling of the size of the current market, signaling the importance and popularity of corporate procurement through online channels.

“The majority of B2B spending takes place through wholesaler and distributor channels, which provide a varying array of value-added services such as storage, packaging, sorting and labeling,” wrote Forrester analyst Susan Wu in a recent blog post. “The future landscape of B2B commerce is changing on several fronts that could potentially impact how wholesalers and distributors traditionally do business, especially online.”

Wu predicted that shifts in the industry are now causing more B2B providers to seek out automation solutions, particularly as a way to prepare for and ease the transition of a corporate merger. In addition, Wu noted that marketplaces for a wider range of products are now being created to aid in addressing a variety of enterprise needs.

“Distributors’ and wholesalers’ product and industry expertise is valuable to more specialized retailers without a vast reach in terms of contacts,” Wu wrote.

The B2B landscape is changing due to increasing use of online channels.
The B2B landscape is changing due to increasing use of online channels.

Best practices for B2B e-commerce 
E-commerce is easing some of the pain points traditionally associated with B2B transactions and corporate procurement. However, there are still some strategies vendors can leverage to make a company’s experience with them even more pleasant.

E-commerce solution specialist Optaros recommended providing mobile capabilities, both for business customers and the vendor’s own staff members. Mobile shopping is becoming increasingly popular, and can help decision-makers that are continually on the go obtain the resources and materials needed for their organization. And with mobility integrated on a staff-wide level as well, employees can input the most up-to-date information via their smartphone or tablet even when they’re outside of the office.

B2B retailers should also offer self-service options for their enterprise clients. While some customers may be high-touch, others might be more independent and may prefer to manage their own accounts. With online self-service, these latter parties can take control of their B2B relationship with the vendor and ensure they are meeting budgets and not exceeding spending limits.

E-commerce is no doubt changing the way businesses go about their corporate procurement. However, it could still be helpful to have an ally on one’s side to help streamline and support the B2B purchasing process. This is where a partnership with iT1 Source becomes so valuable. iT1 Source is an expert in corporate procurement and can assist in making sure the company has everything it needs to meet and exceed its goals.

To find out more, contact iT1 Source today.

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