B2B Sales Are Going Online. Slowly.
Businesses change slower than consumers. Long workflows, extensive decision making structures and long-term relationships play an important role in how businesses procure.
But while many online B2B marketplaces flopped in the 1999-2000 bubble, online B2B sales is now taking off. And it’s not CEO’s buying bikes online. Some of the tech world’s largest “unicorns” – companies valued at over $1 billion dollars – are B2B, like Palantir, WeWork, Cloudera, Atlassian and Slack. Other companies, like Uber, Amazon and, of course, Alibaba, are increasing their B2B foothold. Notably, one of the reasons their valuations are so high is not (only) that they dominate their markets; they expand the total market. This can happen in logistics too. Easy, online freight doesn’t just make life easier for existing shippers, it introduces new companies to international freight.
These new, small companies are an incredible target market for logistics providers. According to trade.gov, 97% of US importers are SMBs, representing 33% of all US imports. These shippers already do business online, communicating with Slack, sourcing online with Alibaba, selling online with Amazon and now, booking online. And of course even big enterprises are hiring millennials who are bringing with them a bias towards buying online.
One of the best examples of how technology can change an industry is US trucking.
Twenty years ago, the industry was dominated by fax machines and phone calls. Today, APIs and online booking are commonplace, driving tremendous success. While it didn’t get the same attention as “sexier” startups, Coyote Logistics made headlines in 2015 when it sold to UPS for $1.8 billion dollars, only 9 years after it was founded. The driver of its success? Technology.
Advances in trucking digitalization (via PWC)