E-Commerce Growth in B2B
It is no secret that e-commerce growth has exploded in the past year, in part spurred on by the pandemic. Amid business closures and new safety measures, consumers have increasingly done their shopping online. Yet, this trend extends beyond business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. Business-to-business (B2B) commerce is also increasingly being conducted online. In a DHL Express whitepaper it was predicted that “by 2025, 80% of all B2B sales interactions between suppliers and professional buyers will take place in digital channels”.[i]
What’s the Deal, Why the Growth in B2B?
Globalization and digital commerce have been on the rise for a number of years. Even before the pandemic, in 2019, B2B e-commerce saw an increase of 18% reaching over $12 trillion, surpassing the B2C sector.[i] The pandemic has only accelerated this upward trend. Additionally, as younger generations continue to move into the workforce they bring with them their technical expertise and expectations for conducting business in a digital format. This has further increased the pace with which businesses are moving to conduct business online. “Millennials account for 73% of all professional B2B purchasing decisions”.[i]
B2B and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce
Recently Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce (D365 Commerce) for B2B. A release that was previously in preview. Leveraging their extensive e-commerce functionality in the B2C space they are extending much of the same functionality to a B2B audience. The 2021 release wave 1 “offers partner onboarding, order templates, quick order entry, account statement, invoicing management, and more”.[ii] Additionally B2B-specific functionality is being rolled out for such things as contract pricing, quotes pricing lists, e-procurement, product configuration and customization, guided selling, bulk order entry, and account, contract, and budget management.[iii]
Multi-warehouse shipping, an oft sought-after B2B feature is also being added to the D35 Commerce offering. With the pandemic’s impact on fulfillment being able to fulfill from multiple warehouses on a single order will help businesses stay flexible while meeting their customers’ needs. For more information see for example how to manage inventory level for multiple warehouses in Microsoft Docs.
What You Need for B2B for D365 Commerce
The addition of B2B builds on the D365 Commerce platform. An understanding of the Commerce site builder and the building blocks used to create rich and engaging B2C e-commerce sites, such as fragments and pages will give you a good starting point for creating your B2B site. Familiarity with Commerce headquarters will also serve you well. For B2B specific settings you’ll want to navigate to Site Settings > Extensions and configure ‘Enable customer account payments’ and ‘Enable order quantity limits’ appropriately. For example, for a B2B-only target audience, you would set the ‘Enable customer accounts payments’ setting to ‘Enabled for B2B customers’. Additional information on creating your account management landing page, creating business partner sign-up pages, order template pages, invoice pages and other useful instructions can be found under “Set up a B2B e-commerce site” in the Dynamics 365 Docs.
Need Help Digitizing Your B2B business?
RSM stands ready to help, please reach out to the e-commerce team to see how we can be of service to you. We are here to listen, share best practices, and help you move your B2B business online. RSM has helped a number of companies bring their e-commerce vision to life.
RSM offers end-to-end e-commerce and digital marketing capabilities, with decades of experience. Our team stands ready to help you in the B2B and B2C space, with integrating various third-party e-commerce platforms, from POS to ERP, extending and customizing ERP systems, developing ground-up solutions for your web store or customer portal, designing intuitive and inviting user interfaces and launching engaging digital campaigns.