The Adobe Digital Economy Index reports that by the end of 2021, the worldwide online sale of goods and services will go up to $4.2 trillion. For the U.S., the Index predicts eCommerce sales to reach up to $930 billion by the end of the year. Experts believe that consumers will continue with the habit of online shopping even after the pandemic. Convenience and instant gratification are hard to resist.
On the other hand, as countries are rolling out Covid-19 vaccinations and more people are getting full doses, brick-and-mortar shops are reopening. Fully vaccinated people tired of staying home will be going out and visiting retail shops again.
Whether consumers buy online or in physical shops, good sales bring good news if you are planning to start a business-to-business (B2B) enterprise. Selling to sellers is always a good idea if your product is something they cannot do without regularly. Whereas selling direct to consumers usually means selling one or a few products at a time, selling to a business is often wholesale and continuing.
There will always be businesses to sell to. In the U.S., there were over 1.5 million applications for new businesses in the third quarter of 2020. That is twice the number of applications in the third quarter of 2019. It proves that despite the pandemic and the closure of many businesses, new ones will always come up.
Help Sellers Sell
When deciding on what to sell, focus on what businesses need to be able to sell their products. Packaging is something that almost all products need. Selling customized boxes with printed labels will always be lucrative.
To make boxes, you will need a die cutting machine. This cuts cardboard into a specified shape and scores folding lines for easy assembly. Inquire directly from die cutter manufacturers about reconditioned machines that are cheaper than brand-new ones.
To print directly on the cardboard or on sticker labels, you will need a printer. An offset printing press produces the best output, but it becomes expensive if the order is only for 500 pieces or fewer for a single design. Unless you intend to cater to big businesses, it is more cost-effective to use a digital printer. You can choose among various models that can print on cardboard.
Many consumers are now concerned about the environment. It will be a plus if the processes and materials you use are non-toxic and eco-friendly.
You will earn more if you can offer design services for labels. If you are not a digital graphic artist, find a good one and offer a partnership. This will ensure that you will not have unmet orders if the artist decides to leave. Making attractive packaging that reflect your customers’ brand image will help boost their sales. This will, in turn, keep them coming back to you.
It is best to set up shop online. This saves you the expense of setting up a brick-and-mortar storefront. More importantly, it will enable you to sell B2B across the country and on a global scale. A website will give you exposure to businesses nationwide and worldwide.
Of course, you need to spend on a website that is set up and maintained by professionals. It must be attractive, user-friendly, fast, and interactive. All relevant information the buyer needs must be available. Content must be authoritative and credible. The website must also offer as many types of digital payment options as possible. Customer experience on the website must be impeccable because the competition is just one key tap away.
For the website to show up at the top of search engines, you must invest in an ongoing professional digital marketing service. This must make your presence felt in various online channels that your target market visits. It must provide thought leadership articles in your industry, which is printing and packaging, and how this can help various businesses increase their revenue.
According to the 2020 B2B Buyer Behaviour Study done by Demand Gen Report from May to June 2020, business buyers first do a web search for their needs, followed by visits to specific vendor sites, and review sites. Almost half noticed suppliers’ ads, and these created a positive impact. When choosing a product, the top two factors they consider are its features and pricing. Next come reviews, followed by ease of use. They also prefer suppliers that show a strong grasp of the business landscape and solution, a strong understanding of the client’s business needs, a higher quality of online content, and timely responses.
In a survey by Episerver, business buyers listed how they wanted companies to make online purchasing easier. At the top of the list was having pricing on the website. Second was a self-service function that does not need assistance from a salesperson. Other features mentioned were ease of scheduling with a salesperson, one-click re-ordering, suggestion of complementary products, retention of log-in details, biometric log-in, subscription-based pricing, easy integration of technology, giving training to buyer teams, and having approval workflows.
Surveys have already practically provided a blueprint on what business buyers want from a B2B eCommerce supplier. As a business owner, it now up to you to create a business plan that meets these expectations. Do not forget to check if you are eligible for any government small business grants.