We know how B2B buying habits are changing. How should business vendors respond?
Last week we took a look at the ways consumer shopping habits over Thanksgiving weekend can predict the way B2B buyers make business purchasing decisions. Now let’s look at how a B2B vendor can respond to those changes using Cyber Monday as a guide.
Where did Cyber Monday come from, anyway?
Around the mid-2000s, research showed that the Monday after Thanksgiving was the busiest online shopping day of the year. Employees returned to their jobs after the holiday break and began taking advantage of high-speed internet connections at work to shop online.
What did marketers and retailers do about this new yearly phenomenon? Naturally, they branded it.
You probably even did some online browsing yourself as you made it back to work last week simply because the term Cyber Monday was floating around in the back of your mind somewhere — never mind that you already had a whole weekend full of retail overload.
Fast forward a decade. What can B2B learn from Cyber Monday?
This year’s Cyber Monday was the largest online sales day on record in the US at over $3 billion. Shoppers have made it clear that they prefer the convenience of online retail to the in-store mayhem that takes place immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Although many customers have come to expect special online pricing year-round, consumers still associate Cyber Monday with online discounts and promotions. B2B transactions don't always lend themselves as well to this sort of thing, but B2B brands who also deal in consumer retail have already been offering deals specific to business purchases for some time now. Grainger, Home Depot, and Amazon Business are just a few examples.
It’s not just Cyber Monday, either. In China, November 11 is an even bigger ecommerce holiday known as Singles' Day, and B2B sales nearly double on Chinese wholesale marketplace Yiwugou leading up to the event. Alibaba brought in a jaw-dropping $14.3 billion in sales over the course of the day.
For B2B, it's not just about discounts.
Not every B2B vendor is equipped to offer promotional pricing, but there are other ways to take advantage of these shopping holidays. If your customers are the ones ramping up their ecommerce efforts for Cyber Monday, consider offering them something that will make their efforts that much easier, even if it’s simply a piece of educational content about holiday conversions or handling increased web traffic. Email marketers, take note — everyone is checking their inboxes around Thanksgiving weekend.
B2B ecommerce finally has its day.
There’s no reason to stay on the sidelines the days following Thanksgiving, but these strategies don’t have to be specific to Cyber Monday.
A couple of years ago, Software Advice released a B2B buyers report that suggested B2B conversions peak during the month of February. And while December may not be the best month for B2B overall, the week before Christmas yields surprisingly good returns. Given that many budgets need to be spent by the end of the fiscal year, perhaps a well-marketed online promotion is the easiest way to gain a competitive edge over competing vendors whose sales teams may have already taken the holidays off?
If there is sufficient data to suggest that B2B online sales spike around a particular day throughout the year, then why not create a B2B-specific Cyber Monday or Singles' Day? Clearly, more research is needed, but don’t be surprised if B2B ecommerce gets its own shopping holiday sooner rather than later.