Electronic commerce between companies is growing at a rapid pace in our country as well. Here’s how SMEs can take advantage of it. Maybe the start was slightly delayed, but also in our country, the B2b eCommerce has now reached considerable volumes.
From the data of the 2021 report of the B2b eCommerce Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano, it is clear that of the 2,200 billion euros generated by exchanges between companies, about 20% is the result of online purchases. That is to say that, to date, about 500 billion of turnover of companies is generated thanks to online sales with other entrepreneurial realities, both from our country and from foreign countries.
How Much Is B2b Ecommerce Worth For Companies?
Specifically, the turnover of B2b eCommerce among companies reached around 360 billion euros (16% of the total), while that with foreign countries reached 136 billion euros (5% of the total). Encouraging and constantly growing figures: over the last seven years, the value of electronic commerce between foreign companies has increased by 10% per year.
And, even if the progression is slightly decreasing, it is easy to assume that the share of e-commerce turnover compared to the total is destined to grow further in the coming years. In short, electronic commerce is destined to become one of the primary sources of income (if not the absolute first) for the production sector of our country.
How To Do B2b Ecommerce: Extranets, Portals, And Marketplaces
In this scenario, e-commerce platforms are becoming increasingly important. To reach customers (i.e., other companies), businesses must rely on a platform that allows them to “display merchandise” and sell it. On this front, the possibilities are varied but can be traced back to three macro-categories: extranets, portals, and B2b marketplaces.
The first two avenues involve the creation of an ad hoc e-commerce site, where the company sells its goods, products, and services. A solution indicated mainly for large companies, with a critical budget available: it will be necessary to set up the platform (and, perhaps, buy the license for the venue itself), have staff who deal exclusively with management and maintenance, and invest in advertising and marketing, to get traffic to the site.
If you choose to use an existing marketplace instead, it will be easier and cheaper to go online. Therefore, a solution suitable for SMEs who would like to start selling their products online and aim at the internationalization of their activities. A B2b eCommerce marketplace reproduces the same user experience as an e-commerce portal for “individuals.” There will be a bulletin board, a search engine, and dozens and dozens of “ads” to choose from.
Furthermore, there will be no need to invest in marketing and advertising to promote the platform: a marketplace already has a dedicated team to improve its visibility and online indexing. You will need someone to create the ads and upload them to the platform, waiting for the first customers to “find” them in the marketplace database. And, in case you don’t have time (or you don’t have the technical skills), you can always contact specialized agencies.
For example, you will have the opportunity to publish your products on the B2b marketplace of Alibaba.com, an e-commerce giant active in 190 countries, 18 million buyers, and with support for 16 different languages. IOL provides SMEs with two other plans, Standard and Premium, which vary according to the needs and characteristics of the company that would like to start selling on Alibaba.
In this way, companies will have access to one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, with the ability to interface with buyers from all over the world. Not only that: SMEs will have the opportunity to negotiate sales prices directly with the various Buyers and have a direct relationship with them, without intermediaries.
On the other hand, it will make its specialists available to create an advanced corporate showcase on Alibaba, devising an “ad hoc” marketing and communication strategy to promote products on the Chinese marketplace. Depending on the chosen plan, you can take advantage of value-added services such as page promotion, data analysis, and much more.
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