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B2B eCommerce

October 2020 B2B Ecommerce News Roundup: Trends in Manufacturing, Distribution, Supply Chains & COVID Updates

November 3, 2020 | Oro Team

Coronavirus is spreading at an unprecedented speed. As we finished off October, the past week brought a large increase in new cases in many areas. The uptick in infections is forcing many countries to reinstate lockdowns while at the same time continuing widespread testing.

Data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) demonstrates the global infection rate is fast approaching 50 million, and the global death toll could reach 2 million before a vaccine is approved. So far, WHO estimates that roughly 1-in-10 people worldwide may have already been infected, a number that’s more than 20 times greater than what’s been reported.

With statistics like these, fear of infection will remain a pressing issue for people around the world. In fact, a study by YouGov revealed that 55% of US citizens are very or somewhat scared of contracting COVID. What does it mean for B2B eCommerce, sales, and customer behavior? Keep reading to find out more.

The past month not only brought us a global resurgence in COVID-19 infections but also developments in B2B commerce, manufacturing, distribution, customer experience, supply chains, and online marketplaces. Here’s how B2B eCommerce businesses, customers, and the overall industry are faring in these unpredictable times.

October 2020: World Economy, Holiday Shopping, and B2B eCommerce

Lockdowns in the EU expected to impact the economy

The UK, Germany, France, and Spain, the largest economies in the eurozone, are entering November with tougher lockdowns. While restrictions vary by country, they range from simple recommendations in Germany to mandatory checks and monitoring in the case of France and Spain.

EU lockdown map

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China’s economy not at pre-pandemic levels yet

The Chinese economy is continuing its recovery from the devastating first quarter of 2020. This growth puts the economy back on track closing out the fourth quarter of this year. China’s growth has been about 6% per year and even with pandemic lockdowns will end up at about 4.9% for this year.

China economy chart

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Prime Day kicks off the start of the holiday sales season

Amazon’s Prime Day is off to a great start as many holiday shoppers began making their purchases early this year. And a Salesforce survey finds that 60% of customers now prefer to interact with brands online with only 40% preferring interaction through off-line channels. More importantly, the survey finds that COVID-19 has changed the expectations shoppers have for the digital capabilities of brands.

Shopping behavior slow start

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Speed and agility necessary for proper crisis management

Operating with speed and agility are essential for effective crisis management. Speed within existing product domains and agility to enter adjacent domains. And not all speeds are the same. Sloan Review describes the differences between recognition speed, decision speed, and execution speed.

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CDC’s “close contact” rule is creating confusion

Previously, the CDC considered a “close contact” those who spent 15+ consecutive minutes within 6 feet of someone who was a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Now, the 15 minutes exposure time is assessed cumulatively over a 24-hour period. This challenges employers as they work to maintain workplace safety.

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Marketing and Customer Experience in B2B eCommerce

How to meet the needs of B2B & industrial buyers

Some suppliers think the buying cycle consists of two stages: when the buyer realizes the need for a product and when the purchase is made. Thomasnet, with research from Strategyn has broken down the complex process of industrial buying into 15 steps. Read the article and refer to this handy infographic of the buying process.

Workflow purchase chart

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Manufacturing News in B2B eCommerce

Are tariffs benefiting US manufacturing?

Back in January 2018, the Trump administration levied tariffs across sectors, covering nearly half of all US imports from China. As a result, the share of U.S. manufacturing demand met by American-made goods increased for the first time in 6 years. Discover how tariffs are driving reshoring.  

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Distributor News for B2B eCommerce

Distribution industry still in manual mode

According to a report by DigitalCommerce360, more than half (53%) of all distributor sales are still done manually by paper, fax, email, and phone. That’s a huge opportunity for distributors looking to grow in the digital space. And with 2021 projected to feature aggressive growth to offset 2020 declines, distributors need to work as efficiently as possible.

Distribution manual processes

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Supply Chain News in B2B eCommerce

Medical supply chain concerns continue

One-fifth of 200 respondents believe it will take between 1 to 2 years for the global medical supply chain to recover from the pandemic. 32% of respondents anticipate it will take six to 12 months for the global supply chain crisis to resolve itself and 66% felt the US would be able to manufacture and distribute a vaccine at scale within 1 year of FDA approval.

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5 trends that impacted packaging in 2020

As the year comes to a close, Processingmagazine reflects on the impact the economic slowdown had on manufacturers and the packaging challenges different sectors face. The B2c and B2B food industry continues to see growth and should continue to plan for production increases while adjusting for increased curbside deliveries.

beverages food packaging

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Payment News in B2B eCommerce

Is COVID reshaping payments?

When the 2008 financial crisis hit, buyers shifted away from using credit cards. The pandemic kick-started the same trend, with nearly 90% of customers favoring debit over credit. Alternative payments and buy now, pay later lending options can positively influence customer loyalty.

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Mastercard eases payments for businesses

The B2B payments market is expected to see staggering growth well into 2024. Mastercard is responding by launching Mastercard Track in it’s Asia-Pacific market. This B2B payment solution allows buyers to pay with their commercial cards even if the seller doesn’t accept credit card payments. It’s a revolutionary new way to process B2B payments. 

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B2B Marketplace News & Developments

Grocery B2B marketplace raises series B2 round

Marketplaces continue to grow as a destination for B2B buyers. Here’s yet more proof of the power of the marketplace. Jumbotail, an online B2B food and grocery marketplace based in India, raised $11 million in a Series B2 round to be used in expansion and seeking new partnerships.

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Apptega’s CyberXchange B2B cybersecurity marketplace

Marketplaces aren’t just a place to sell physical products. Services and digital products are well-suited for marketplaces too. Now companies looking to automate cybersecurity and compliance programs can turn to Apptega’s CyberXchange. This is the first B2B eCommerce marketplace dedicated to safety, cybersecurity, and eCommerce PCI compliance for customers looking to address their security challenges.

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Brex launches instant payouts service

Online sellers know all too well the cash crunch that happens while you wait for payouts from sites like Amazon and Shopify. Brex is easing the crunch with an instant payout service that allows online sellers to tap into revenue earned immediately instead of waiting weeks for funds to come in from Amazon and Shopify. Brex’s solution is initially aimed at eCommerce businesses currently selling on Amazon and will soon expand to many other eCommerce platforms.

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Hope You Enjoyed This October 2020 Roundup!

And that’s it for this month! We hope you enjoyed our October 2020 roundup and found it informative. Have we missed an interesting story? Would you like to submit an article or an interesting trend, story, or statistic you’ve caught in the B2B eCommerce space? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter or in the comments below. Don’t forget to keep checking the OroCommerce blog for more updates!

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