2021 B2B Digital Commerce Survey Finds Online Channel to Be Major Growth Driver

Despite the pandemic, B2B companies around the world reported increasingly positive trends for the year

2Checkout (now Verifone), the leading all-in-one monetization platform for global businesses, has released The State of B2B Digital Commerce survey findings. 2Checkout conducted a global study with over 1,000 companies to understand the main priorities and challenges related to B2B digital commerce operations and strategies. The COVID pandemic continued to be the biggest challenge for companies with decreasing revenue, while a focus on online operations proved to be the biggest lever for companies experiencing growth.

Key Findings:

  • For 2021, more B2B companies reported YoY revenue increases while fewer registered a decrease, which signals a slow but steady recovery for the post-2020 pandemic year.
  • A focus on online channels was the number one contributing factor cited by companies that achieved growth.
  • Companies used a greater mix of channels to reach their prospects, with online direct a priority. Assisted sales and email were next.

Insights from the report include:

    • Factors impacting B2Bs – A focus on online channels was the number one contributing factor cited by companies that achieved growth, impacting 70% of respondents, with 45% attributing it to a transition to an online channel and 25% the scaling of their online presence. 54% of respondents considered COVID-19 to be a significant factor influencing their growth. While the impact of the pandemic is slowly declining, it continues to be a significant factor for 75% of the businesses experiencing revenue losses.
    • Revenue growth – A solid 47% of the companies surveyed experienced a YoY revenue increase for 2021, while 36% remained flat. Only 16% experienced a decrease, less than the 19% that reported declines in 2020.
    • Challenges – Difficulties with expanding to new markets or regions topped the year’s challenges for 45% of respondents. Longer sales cycles were cited by 29% of respondents. The primary challenge for the remaining 18% was the difficulties with growing client lifetime value.
    • Priorities – In line with growth drivers, 50% of respondents stated implementing and improving direct online sales (via self-service) as the priority. 39% noted the launching of new products, followed closely by a focus on client retention at 38%.
    • Main areas of investment – Marketing activities (62%), product development (46%) and sales processes and sales automation (42%) were high on the B2B investment list, which mostly mirrored what was reported for the previous year.
  • Commerce channels – Carrying over the digital momentum from last year, more B2B companies reported direct online sales for their websites (73% versus 55% for 2020). Assisted sales, a long-time favorite in the B2B space, also registered an uptick, with roughly 21% more companies focusing on this channel than last year. Overall, orders were placed across more channels, signaling companies’ willingness and ability to experiment on any touchpoint where prospects are present.

“It’s no surprise that the online channel is a huge growth lever for the B2B world. Business buyers expect an experience with quick gratification and more self-service. Commerce automation with tools such as CPQ will play an increasingly important role in B2B sales, alongside assisted support and other channels. Challenges, such as longer sales cycles or difficulty in expanding to new markets, can now be easily overcome through a solid online strategy. These survey findings match what we saw with our B2B clients that were able to successfully grow despite the pandemic,” said Alexandra Badea, VP of Marketing EMEA, Verifone.

The State of B2B Digital Commerce is based on the responses from over 1,000 participants from around the world and was conducted in July-August 2021. Respondent profiles include executive/owner, sales VPs and professionals, eCommerce managers and other B2B roles. 2Checkout continuously tracks trends and statistics, empowering merchants to make better business decisions.

For more insights, please view the 2Checkout 2021 infographic on the State of B2B Digital Commerce.

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