[CONTENU PARTENAIRE] FEVAD – Federation of e-commerce and distance selling – released the main e-commerce figures in May for the 1st quarter of 2022. It notes a 15% drop in sales compared to 2021 for B2C e-commerce. In contrast, there is a 19.6% increase in B2B sales. And for good reason. The Covid crisis has greatly accelerated the digitization of business-to-business commerce. The Advisa agency, which brings together e-commerce specialists from the AODB group, observes that two thirds of current e-commerce projects concern B2B. Olivier Kubler, founding CEO of Advisa, explains this development and how the agency is responding to it.
What is the weight of B2B e-commerce activity?
When the media releases key numbers for online sales, the articles usually deal with sales to individuals, known as B2C e-commerce. The global volume of this sales channel is considerable in France, the milestone of 100 billion euros in revenue reached in 2019🇧🇷 But while the B2C results are impressive, those of online sales between businesses (B2B) are even more so, as FEVAD estimates its turnover at €150 billion, or 1.5 times more.
It is not surprising when it is estimated that the average B2B basket is 25 times higher than that of B2C (1,500 euros vs 60 euros). With enormous growth potential, when we compare French B2B e-commerce with that of our German and English neighbours, where it is estimated to be 4 times higher with 600 billion euros in both markets.
What are the differences between B2B and B2C eCommerce sites?
One might think that an e-commerce website is aimed at both an individual and a professional. It’s true that designers are working to converge the customer experience (Cx) to bring the B2B (long frugal) to the standards imposed by the B2C online sales champions. Because yes, the professional buyer from Monday to Friday is also private at night and on weekends.
But B2B e-commerce has many particularities that make it much more complex. The prices presented in B2B are most often customized according to existing commercial agreements🇧🇷 Prices are often hidden and are only shown after the customer has been identified. They may also vary depending on the volumes ordered or discounts negotiated. B2B order invoicing is linked to commercial contracts and usually extends 45 to 60 days🇧🇷
Another important difference: the customer file🇧🇷 In B2C, the customer is a single natural person, usually with a single address. A company can have several sites, which correspond to the headquarters, branches, distribution network. Finally, in B2B, there can be different interlocutors, with different rights (the preparation of the baskets by a preparer, the validation of the order by a buyer, etc.).
What are the reasons for the acceleration of B2B e-commerce? How far will he go?
Covid has given an unprecedented boost to online sales. In addition to this exceptional jump, the virus triggered fundamental transformations, both in the habits of buyers and in the organization of companies. According to forecasts, French e-commerce could double in volume by 2026…
And the same goes for companies that, during the confinements, saw their buyers and sales teams stuck at home. Companies with an e-commerce system were able to maintain part of their activity, while those that did not have adequate tools hurriedly activated their digital transformation, accelerating their roadmap.
Also because the new buying habits over the internet or via EDI flows are already well established. And companies are gradually imposing this channel on all their suppliers.
The wheel of B2B e-commerce is turning and becoming the norm, and it is up to companies to adapt to it in order to continue developing their sales.
How does Advisa help companies that want to digitize their online sales?
Advisa has a long experience in e-commerce. Since the creation of the agency in 2002, we have supported numerous brands in online sales, both in B2C (for Arena, Rykiel Parfums, LIDL, Playboy, Dassault Aviation, Cuisine Schmidt, etc.) and B2B (for Puma, Wolf Tools, Yanmar, Kuhn, De Dietrich, Objetrama, etc.). Our experts use this experience on a daily basis to optimize the efficiency of trading platforms and maximize return on investment for our clients.
Throughout our collaborations, we identify and analyze the various factors for the success of an online sales project. This allowed us to structure our teams to answer each key question of a project: strategic consulting, experience design, technology development, application maintenance and acquisition, and loyalty marketing🇧🇷 From a technical point of view, we focus our expertise on the following e-commerce platforms:
● Magento Commerce, international leader in e-commerce sites;
● Prestashop, French leader in e-commerce sites;
● Drupal Commerce, for specific hybrid devices;
● And since this year BigCommerce, the only SAAS B2C and B2B platform.
The richness of B2B e-commerce requires a lot of automated flows. Thus, we connect our customers’ e-commerce platforms to the business components of their information systems:
● Connection to ERP (for prices, stocks, invoices, etc.);
● Connection to PIM (for product information);
● Connection with DAM (for media);
● Connection with CRM (for customer data);
● PunchOut connection (for customer orders in EDI flow);
● Connection with OMS or WMS (for logistics and order picking).
Can Advisa commit to the results of the site?
We are accelerators and catalysts for the success of our clients’ e-commerce. Therefore, we launched a research program, “E-COMMERCE SUCCESS”, which, based on a holistic analysis grid, maximizes the project’s chances of success. Our Agile methodology allows us to support our clients in the continuous improvement of their trading platforms.
Since e-commerce is a rational discipline, the main indicators are factual: bounce rate, traffic, sales… Furthermore, our actions have direct consequences in improving the sales rate. This measurement of results allows us to build trust with our customers, in a sustainable way over time. We consider ourselves partners in the success of our customers and we are involved in achieving their goals.🇧🇷 Sometimes we even formalize a partnership relationship with a commission based on results.
What innovations are you implementing for your customers?
Among e-commerce trends, companies are increasingly inclined to migrate to SaaS solutions (Software as a service)🇧🇷 These platforms have many advantages for customers: they are quick to implement (Time to market), economical both in launching (configuration vs. development) and in operation (Cloud based) and allow for a regular increase in power.
Advisa has just integrated the BigCommerce solution, which is the only platform in the world designed for B2B and B2C e-commerce in SaaS🇧🇷 BigCommerce also responds to another challenge for the future: distributed architecture. We are gradually moving away from a model of complex monolithic applications to be developed towards more efficient and scalable distributed systems.
That’s why Advisa chose BigCommerce. Its disruptive “Open SaaS” technology is part of this “distributed architecture” model, with the platform being 98% open to APIs and a “composable commerce” approach. For example, it is possible to decouple the front end from the back office (headless commerce) and offer more immersive, more contextualized user experiences depending on the products🇧🇷 Technologies have evolved a lot in the last 20 years, and “MACH” architectures, breaking with these old architectures, represent the future.
What does the new acronym “MACH” stand for?
“M” denotes microservices and concerns the architecture in which each component, each “service”, offers a specific function, technically and functionally well defined. It can be individually designed, developed and deployed. We talk about components, sometimes “Lego™ bricks”.
“A” stands for API-First🇧🇷 It is an architecture where each solution, each component, each service will expose its own APIs and consume the APIs exposed by other components (or third parties/external services).
“C”, for cloud nativerepresents the architecture available in a Cloud, where the components are natively designed to be deployed in a Cloud (public or private) and take into account the characteristics related to these infrastructures (scalability, isolation, security, configuration).
“H”, for headless🇧🇷 This is the architecture where the “visible” part – the “front-end” is completely decoupled from the services and applications that expose services and data. This headless “mechanism” requires the use of APIs so that different applications (existing or developed, front-end or back-end) can manage contents and services, for some, and the visualization of those contents or services, for others.
The BigCommerce blog offers educational articles on the benefits of headless e-commerce: https://www.bigcommerce.fr/articles/headless-commerce/
Do you have a final word?
Advisa is a co-founder of the AODB group (Alliance Of Digital Builders), which brings together more than 200 specialists who serve 500 clients in France and abroad. AODB is the first large digital company that connects the world of specialized agencies with large projects
AODB’s spectrum of missions is broader than e-commerce🇧🇷 It is made up of all the expertise of its members (digital desk, extranets, portals, website factories, devops, marketing automation, etc.). AODB is growing fast! Every month, new specialists join the group to enrich it with their know-how. Group should double in size by the end of 2023🇧🇷 Advisa is the group’s subsidiary specializing in e-commerce.
This content was produced with SCRIBEO. The BFMBUSINESS editorial team did not participate in the production of this content.