A report last year from Forrester Research found that spending by U.S. businesses on B2B eCommerce during 2013 was more than twice the amount spent on B2C online sales. B2B eCommerce reached $559 billion, versus $252 billion spent on B2C transactions.
These numbers reveal a fundamental change taking place in the world of B2B transactions. Purchasing managers are increasingly putting down the thick catalogues that traditionally served as their “bibles,” and instead looking online for the same access to product and pricing information they access for their own personal shopping needs.
The reality that the B2B eCommerce market is twice the size of the B2C market is causing many businesses to retool their B2B marketing and “outreach” efforts, with many companies redesigning their websites and mobile outreach to provide B2B shoppers with retail experiences that more closely resemble B2C transactions.
So too is eCommerce changing the face of B2B product returns. A recent article in Forbes discussed how managers who place B2B orders online, expect the same high quality service they receive when they shop for themselves. This extends to expectations that B2B returns will be easy and hassle free.
Changes in B2B returns management is the focus of a new white paper from Purolator International: “B2B Returns: Finding Value and Opportunity in a Well-Managed Returns Process.”
As the paper discusses, while B2B returns generally fall within one of the same “buckets” that have always defined B2B returns: Defective Products, Product Recalls, End-of-Life Merchandise, Obsolete/Unsold Merchandise, or Warranty Returns, manufacturers are realizing new ways of evaluating those returns. Whereas returns were traditionally seen as a drag on the bottom line, businesses today are committed to capturing value from those returns.
Undamaged products, for example, can be sold in an outlet store or via eBay. Useable parts and components can be salvaged and made available for resale. Other goods may be remarketed and sold overseas.
Businesses that cater to the B2B market are enlisting the services of their logistics partners to help better understand their opportunities, and to develop customized approaches to fit their unique situations.
To find out if your business might benefit from a new B2B returns process, please click here to download Purolator’s new white paper.