Covid-19 Pandemic Can Bring Breakthrough In B2B e-commerce

B2B e-commerce has received an unprecedented boost in traffic and sales just in a few weeks.

Covid-19 the global pandemic has been troubling the entire human race since December 2019, and prevention is the only cure as of now. Many cities are being locked down to control human crowding, and break the chain of coronavirus contamination. Usage of hand sanitizers, disinfectants and masks are highly recommended to clean out the chances of being exposed as this coronavirus spreads more via hands coming in contact with your face than via air. With lockdown, it is obvious that business will face a major loss - however if you are primed for e-commerce - you can still sustain!

B2C e-commerce has experienced a big surge in traffic and orders for daily use products like groceries, bathroom essentials, personal care products and many other consumer items. People prefer to buy online than risk themselves or their family by going to crowded places like a supermarket or any grocery store. This online trend will continue to grow for the consumer industry, however, for the travel industry, 15-20 per cent year-on-year decline can be expected in their revenue. Online travel sites are cutting down on their marketing activities, as result facebook and google can expect a significant drop in their gross gains from travel ads. Since more people remain at home, online television networks like Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar observe more subscriptions this year.

Coming to B2B business, worldwide it largely works on a distribution based model wherein customers get their supplies from local dealers or distributors of different brands via offline purchase system. E-commerce which works on online purchases has been disrupting this offline system of the B2B industry, though at a slower pace. However now with the lockdown amidst corona spread, industries are moving to online buying options to prevent human contact. As a result, B2B e-commerce has received an unprecedented boost in traffic and sales just in a few weeks. The resistance to online B2B portals has been foregone and companies are in a true sense now preferring e-commerce. The several benefits of e-commerce in B2B will now be realized, that is, easy purchases, convenience, low prices, transparency, doorstep delivery, and easy access to a plethora of brands and products.

At least 30 per cent increase in traffic has been observed by B2B e-commerce sites, especially for the life science industry, pharma industry as the demand for products to do research on coronavirus has massively increased. While buyers have turned to online, many suppliers have adapted their strategy to foster online sales, dedicating a portion of yearly budget to digital marketing and communications. The current corona situation is imposing digitization of any B2B business, it could not only mean by e-commerce but also apps, digital communication or any media that would help to communicate with the buyers and generate sales.

Digitalization of the supply chain is an important aspect in e-commerce or online sales so that there is clear information for the availability of goods right from the manufacturers to the buyers. E-commerce is about transparency, and real-time availability, so it's highly important that suppliers implement digitization in their logistics and supply.

Currently, a majority of the suppliers are mandated to work from home amid Covid-19 pandemic. For those who have been utilizing digital media would be able to remotely manage work to some extent. However, those who are not already in the digital business, need to think over and plan to reform their business model to adapt to this new era of e-commerce and digital business. It's time to be innovative, use data analytics, AI, latest digital technology and unlock the potential of digitalization and e-commerce in B2B business, as this trend is not temporary. It is essentially a breakthrough that would continue far ahead in future.

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