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Changing Dynamics Of B2B eCommerce And Its Impact On Indian SMEs Online marketplaces have made business-to-business buying and selling extremely easy, cost-effective and expeditious.

By Brijesh Agrawal

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Thanks to the advent of e-commerce, India's B2B sector has never been as vibrant as it is today. Online marketplaces have made business-to-business buying and selling extremely easy, cost-effective and expeditious. Whether it is about sourcing supplies for their business or expanding their customer base, SMEs on both sides of the spectrum are rejoicing at the steady growth they generate through these B2B marketplaces.

No wonder then that Indian online retail in this realm is set to grow by 2.5 times by 2020 to touch Rs 45 lakh crore (as per a recent report by eCommerce consultant firm - Ecumen.in). With the changing dynamics and upcoming trends in this space, B2B buying and selling in India is only set to scale at an explosive rate and take smaller businesses along with it in this growth wave.

Challenges of SMEs in India

Over the years, SMEs have been doing business the traditional way and have been grappling with issues ranging from price, accessibility, middlemen and high turnaround times.Besides these procurement-related problems, SMEs have also struggled with other challenges such as high cost of credit, technology access, market access, poor infrastructure, inconsistent taxation and paucity of adequate funds.

How B2B marketplaces are helping business buyers

B2B marketplaces are creating an eco-system where SMEs can fulfill their buying requirements in a time-bound, cost-effective and reliable way. Today, an SME based in Kota doesn't need to spend a couple of days traveling to Jaipur, scanning several shops, placing a large order and waiting for it to be delivered.

With B2B online retailers, the orders can be placed within seconds using mobile phones. Logistics turnaround times are short and businesses have no reason to harbor doubts about e-shopping as they did before. In fact, some leading marketplaces are also giving them the assurance of guaranteed dispatch time.This further adds to their peace of mind when placing an order.

Appealing easy-to-use design interfaces across web and mobile are being leveraged to attract customers. From telescopic pricing, enabling volume buyers to enjoy special bulk discounts,allowing quick re-ordering of the same products and two-step payment processes,B2B marketplaces are going the extra mile to make the customer experience absolutely seamless. That's not all, business buyers are also able to take advantage of festive deals, hot-selling products and more which further enhance their propensity to turn to online platforms to procure all the materials and supplies that they need for their business.

How sellers stand to win?

B2B sellers are benefiting as these marketplaces are offering them unprecedented reach. By enhancing the propensity of businesses to buy from online platforms, they are helping sellers amplify their customer base beyond geographical and temporal limitations.Some of the leaders in the space are now also arranging for storage and warehousing facilities for sellers so that they are more inclined to come online and reap the benefits of B2B e-commerce.

Big Data & Analytics is being used very widely to identify micro-markets and break down the customer pool by sector, company size and other vital parameters. Data analytics is helping the sellers listed on the platform to understand the expectations of their customers and to reach out to them through these insights in a more targeted fashion.

The future

As one-stop shops for businesses to fulfill all their buying and selling needs, the B2B space is showing steady signs of evolution. There has been tremendous headway in terms of technology & logistics that have made these platforms extremely popular with their target customers and have become the default behavior of many SMEs to meet their business requirements in a transparent and easy fashion.

In today's vibrant yet competitive landscape, SME businesses need a strong infrastructure to rely on, when it comes to meeting their business goals. There is a pressing requirement for platforms that eliminate intermediaries and reduce costs. B2B e-commerce is therefore, that essential bridge which will power the growth of SME suppliers and buyers.

Brijesh Agrawal

Founder & CEO, Tolexo.com

Brijesh Aggarwal is the founder and CEO of Tolexo.com. 

Tolexo.com, India's largest online bazaar for Industrial products, a brainchild of Mr. Brijesh Agrawal who has been leading IndiaMart for 19 years.

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