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When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough go to B2B

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Last year was a tough one for many retailers. There were at least 19 retail bankruptcies in 2017 including Toys “R” Us, Gymboree and Wet Seal. In early 2018, Sears announced it was shutting 39 Sears and 64 Kmart stores. Some in the press labeled it a “retail apocalypse.”

In a large part, the movement has been attributed to e-Commerce. As consumers continue to shift to online retail, Forrester Research predicts that e-Commerce sales will jump from 12.9% of all retail sales in 2017 to 17% by 2022.

While most B2C retailers have aspired to become more like Amazon and provide an omnichannel presence, there’s another option to boosting revenues: by creating a B2B e-Commerce presence. For success stories, look no further than Staples, whose B2B sales now account for as much as 60% of total revenues. At The Home Depot, professional customers comprise about 45% of sales and are growing much faster than the company’s B2C business. Warehouse club BJ’s also added a B2B business last year.

For some retailers adding an e-Commerce B2B unit should be a no-brainer. There are no Black Friday or 50% off sales for B2B customers, so margins are higher over the long term. Going B2B can also provide increased marketing opportunities and leverage of existing assets, like your supply chains or stores, so it’s worth looking at the benefits and logistics of making such a move. Many retailers, however, are unsure about how to go about making the leap. It doesn’t have to be a complex affair, and in fact, there are third-party service providers that can help handle many of the more involved aspects of running such a business.

Read the full article at to see what six components of B2B make it different from B2C.

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