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How to survive the coronavirus attack against B2B companies

Author: Vasilis Stergiou / Date: Wed, 04/08/2020 - 18:00
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The Coronavirus epidemic unleashed a bloody attack on unprepared B2B companies, without any eCommerce functions and digital presence.

The Coronavirus epidemic unleashed a bloody attack on unprepared B2B companies, without any online sales functions and digital presence. But eCommerce is here to answer the call and maintain or even help increase the sales of COVID-19 affected B2B companies in traditional industries.

It was during the Athens plague in 430BC, which drove profound changes in the city’s laws and identity, to the Black Death in the center Ages, which transformed the total amount of class power in European societies. Then at the recent spate of Ebola epidemics across sub-Saharan Africa that illuminated the growing interconnectedness of today’s hyper-globalized world, public health crises rarely fail to leave their mark on how humans operate.

The world is fighting the rapid spread of Coronavirus, confining many visitors to their homes, and radically altering how we research and decide about future purchases. Business executives are already wondering which of these “temporary” adjustments will endure beyond the ultimate end of the pandemic, and what life may appear to be on the other side.

Perhaps one of the most critical questions you will need to consider is the fact as the “analog world” descends into crisis, online B2B established companies can be even better – gaining even more brand awareness – and reaching for your pie (together with your customers).

The “analog world” has been decimated, with traditional businesses including hotels, restaurants, and airplanes in crisis. However, the digital world is thriving. We will survive through this pandemic because of technology.

COVID19 B2B Traditional Industry

Everyone is sitting at home, and their window to the world is through their smartphone

Within the post-pandemic world, technology will be as ubiquitous as it is now, if not more, and Coronavirus affected B2B companies with a professional online presence will become even more powerful and dominant. That includes the smaller firms with an existing online brand experience as well as the massive names in your industry domestically and globally.

Before this, we saw a period in which people were increasingly more cynical and critical of technology. But, as the Coronavirus pandemic increases our dependence on technology, people will forget the hostility towards technology and privacy concerns, at least in the short term.

You’ve probably already heard that B2B eCommerce will grow significantly due to the COVID-19 outbreak locking people in their houses. And if you are a little careful, you’ll probably also agree that this is a rather general trend and one that needs some clarification.

That outcome of the Coronavirus pandemic will make traditional B2B industry companies that have never developed eCommerce capabilities or, worse, completely walked away from the online world, do a 180-degree turn and invest massive amounts of time and energy behind getting their online operations into competitive shape.

Although most of the top B2B companies in traditional industries have been in the eCommerce game for some time, it’s fair to say that only a few of them really have their acts together.

Coronavirus Effect B2B Traditional Industry

Here is how coronavirus is affecting B2B companies in traditional industries right now

The catering industry can be an epitome of the primary sectors wanting to resume work by going online. Besides, various other industries also have endeavored to migrate their services and offerings from offline to online.

Additionally, most real estate businesses afflicted by the Coronavirus epidemic established online sales channels, and a rising volume of realtors and marketing personnel have begun to sell houses online.

The auto retail sector also went online. SAIC Volkswagen, Geely, and Chery have all set up “exhibition centers” on their websites, mobile applications. On top of that, they have developed flagship stores on eCommerce platforms like Tmall and JD.com, plus many of them showcased their cars through virtual reality (VR) technology. BMW also joined live streaming, making the selling process more dynamic.

Some auto companies are providing non-contact sales. The ongoing service allows customers to have their vehicles delivered at their doorsteps after ordering online, and the rest of the formalities such as insurance contracts are handled by the dealership.

Some typically traditional industries, which didn’t rely much on the internet, have shifted to the online model too, like the interior decor sector. Easyhome, one of China’s most crucial home furnishing retailers, has presented over 1,000 brands through holding more than 1,000 live streaming shows on Taobao. The live streaming created substantial online traffic which has created new opportunities for traditional industries.

Although the online model was the “last straw” for B2B businesses amid the Coronavirus epidemic, an entire lot of established brands have achieved better-than-expected performance. This performance has verified online selling as a standard model for the traditional B2B industry in the foreseeable future.

COVID19 Attack Traditional B2B Industry

More Data to Support The Rise Of The Online B2B Business Model

Since February, Data showed that more than 100 new professions have emerged on Taobao live streaming, and the real volume of shops selling products on live streaming shows has increased by 50 percent.

Other eCommerce platforms such as Pinduoduo and JD.com have invited offline stores to go to the business enterprise online to replace lost sales caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. Through going online, traditional businesses have embraced the possibility of deepening interactions with consumers.

Industry analysts believe the shift of businesses from offline to online is not merely a conversion of the sales platform, and it’ll bring in-depth transformation that spurs new models too. Simultaneously, it will broaden the area for future consumption scenarios and perhaps make the “remote working” a routine. Along the way of transformation, more cross-industry attempts predicated on “cloud” will probably take place.

New data implies that individuals are making deliberate and mindful decisions as it pertains to online shopping. A recent report on eCommerce trends for the Coronavirus affected B2B companies discovered that essential product categories like food, wellness and health, and pet supplies are increasingly trending upwards, while less basic categories like apparel and automotive-related items are trending downward.

Meanwhile, categories like electronics and health experienced a 91% and 109% increase, respectively, from March 10 to March 17. Specifically, in the health category, there are noted increases in-home exercise equipment, supplements, and well-balanced meals.

Traditional B2B Companies After COVID

B2B ecommerce, a strategic direction for the coming years

The majority of Chinese Coronavirus affected B2B companies have already moved from crisis response to post-recovery planning. Complete digitization, for manufacturers in all B2B industries, is at the forefront of many such plans.

IHL Group President Greg Buzek expects the current crisis to lead to increased investment into omnichannel (channel-agnostic) technologies:

“It is our view that the trends of ordering products and services online will double from their previous levels of expenses as a result of people avoiding crowds for the next 90 days”.

We can predict that the digital side of retail and B2B business will grow at a faster pace than all previous projections. Although it is a hard time for the world, it is proof that eCommerce is robust and can answer the big questions. Eventually, it is a positive thing for the long-term goals of the digital transformation of our society.

Many B2B companies believe that better eCommerce technology can help shape and improve the world of the future. Although, It’s the kind of statement that others read and think it is hyperbole or just a bold marketing claim. Alas, it’s becoming a reality.

Covid-19 B2B Ecommerce Opportunity

eCommerce Answers The Call For Maintaining (& Improving) Sales

While there are trying times for the Coronavirus affected B2B companies, we’re happy to observe that eCommerce happens to be solving lots of problems in real-time and is also potentially saving the lives of men and women around the world. eCommerce is robust and in a position to answer the best questions, which should give everyone on the market significant amounts of motivation to find answers to the present problems and then arrange for the future.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused the shutdown of more than 150 retail companies together with their brick-and-mortar locations, and many more individual units are predicated to follow globally. Retailers that depended on Coronavirus affected B2B companies for almost all their sales have found their revenues at a virtual hard stop. Without the support of online ordering, they might be waiting weeks (some suggest longer) to be capable of getting back to the business. For a few, that’ll be barely manageable, and for those who may have been teetering on the continuing business edge, this may be the ultimate straw to push them into insolvency.

The food and beverage industry is the manufacturing sector most vulnerable to changes in direct correlation with the patterns of household consumption. Although overall demand hardly fluctuates, consumer preferences considerably alter as time passes – requiring manufacturers to respond and adjust to evolving needs. The digitalization of R&D and manufacturing allows companies to make use of analytics and data as a competitive advantage. Similarly, one can measure the ROI of their marketing efforts, with digital marketing.

Coronavirus B2B Companies Ecommerce

The rise of ecommerce for traditional B2B companies

So what can your traditional business to business model do to overcome today’s industry challenges?

For starters, full data tracking and information management are essential to identifying your hot leads and improving the whole customer journey. Clients need to know all the details you can provide to them, in a simplified way, to make an educated decision.

eCommerce for the traditional B2B industry comes to answer this call. The trick is the fact that conventional businesses don’t need any regular online store. They need a web-based sales portal that is fully integrated with a CRM (and better still an ERP) to have the ability to identify the steps of your clients’ journey and potential BI (Business Intelligence) opportunities or threats.

The Opportunities For Traditional B2B Companies To Adopt eCommerce

B2B eCommerce is increasing, and it’ll only continue steadily to grow because of more sophisticated digital networks and more and more online buyers.

The U.S. B2B eCommerce market alone has doubled its worth at the start of 2020 (reaching $1 trillion), and with the COVID-19 locking down most cities on the globe, this number is expected to increase, drastically! The traditional B2B industries are to reap the benefits of these developments. Initial data indicate that increasingly more retailers prefer contactless or online purchases off their vendors, which is only going to increase.

Because of the explosion of the B2C market, it is clear that there surely is plenty of growth prospects of eCommerce for the Coronavirus affected B2B companies. Within a customer-driven industry, wholesalers and manufacturers should become aware of this trend and make use of it with their advantage by realizing a straight shorter time to advertise because of their products.

 

Note: "First published on PowerHouse Consulting Group blog"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasilis Stergiou

High-Performance Marketing & Strategic Business Development

An ultra curious person and entrepreneur by nature, I'm always trying to find the next best thing in Business Development, Marketing Strategies, Investments and Personal Development.