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BtoB ecommerce – the elephant in the corner or the biggest drive for ecommerce?

In SONA President Ramaphosa also stressed that the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will provide enormous opportunities for SA BtoB companies throughout Africa.

BtoB is potentially a vast market, but little known, and lacks research (not considered so ‘sexy’ as BtoC), but it caters to the vast number of businesses around the world who are seeking and selling anything and everything from software and hardware to medical equipment, electrical components, specialised equipment, and other niche products. According to a 2017 Forrester Research report, B2B transactions will reach $1.2-trillion globally by 2023. A more recent report by Frost & Sullivan estimates that the number may be as high as $6.6 trillion. There is no doubt that this market is growing rapidly or that it offers massive potential for B2B etailers. Despite this potential, however, there is still a lack of understanding within this market. Many etailers assume that B2B and B2C ecommerce work in the same way. Although there are many similarities, there are also many unique challenges within the B2B market that require a highly developed strategy in order to see growth year-on-year. A number of mistakes are also made by B2B stores when preparing for their launch. These mistakes may not derail your entire campaign, but they can make it far harder to start seeing results.

  • Poor product content
  • No sales team support
  • No integration with other systems
  • Lack of mobile optimisation
  • No multi-channel approach
  • Failing to consider user experience
  • Overly vague requirements
  • Finally, an online BtoB strategy needs to clearly outline the company’s requirements in a way that lays out underlying goals. A vague strategy means no guidance on essential steps at any given stage. Whether that means battling to plan a social media advertising campaign, not having a plan for SEO, battling to move forward with lead generation or even struggling to plan product descriptions.
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Shahrain Coovadia

Shahrain Coovadia is a Cyber Security Consultant at Deloitte, South Africa. Prior to joining Deloitte she started a web-design studio, and worked at the University of Cape Town as a teaching facilitator. Shahrain graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours specialising in Information Systems. She currently facilitates web & database management for Ecommerce Forum South Africa (EFSA).

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