Today, B2B buyers aren’t just purchasing goods through catalogs and salespeople anymore. They’re turning to e-commerce sites and e-procurement hubs to purchase what they want. Amazon, Shopify, and other digital marketplaces are quickly becoming hotspots for B2B buyers.
To reach B2B buyers, companies must broaden their mindset about digital B2B connectivity. Read on to learn how to think beyond EDI so that you can maximize this new sales opportunity.
EDI Systems Still Matter
To think beyond EDI doesn’t mean that EDI systems don’t matter. They’re still very important to share information quickly and effectively between companies.
However, they’re not the only way of sharing information between buyers and sellers. That’s where digital B2B connectivity comes in.
What Is Digital B2B Connectivity?
The concept of digital B2B connectivity is built on two ideas: B2B connectivity and digital connectivity.
At Remedi, we define “B2B connectivity” as one business doing business with another. “Digital connectivity” refers to a company offering products on a website. Digital B2B connectivity, therefore, is related to B2B companies selling online.
Why Digital B2B Connectivity Requires Thinking beyond EDI Systems
As we mentioned at the beginning, EDI systems aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, there are some gaps in EDI systems.
For a start, they can connect to a limited number of data sources. Moreover, they’re too “heavy” to run on a mobile device. Third, they’re designed to process large batches of data; EDI systems can’t access specific information in real-time, such as the status of a specific order.
New Channels for B2B Buyers and Sellers
Here’s a roundup of the new channels that exist for B2B buyers and sellers:
- Amazon Seller Central – customers order from you through Amazon’s portal
- Amazon Vendor Central – you sell products to Amazon itself, which then sells those products to its customers
- Shopify – similar to Amazon Seller Central
- Marketplaces such as Target, Walmart, and Cabela’s, which utilize drop-shipping
APIs: Filling in Gaps in EDI Systems
Some of the new channels mentioned above work with EDI systems. However, to increase digital B2B connectivity, APIs can fill in the gaps that EDI systems create.
APIs offer instant information transfer, in real-time. If you want to know what the status of a particular order is, APIs can find that information for you.
“APIs can fill in the gaps that EDI systems create”
In addition, APIs connect to more information sources than EDI systems can. For example, APIs could share information from IoT sensors to tell you about the condition of your shipment. And, it allows for easier onboarding than EDI systems alone. In combination with EDI systems, APIs allow you to increase digital B2B connectivity and seize new opportunities.
B2B buyers will continue to purchase goods online due to the convenience. Participating in B2B marketplaces and portals doesn’t just give you a competitive advantage now – it allows you to stay relevant and sustainable in the future. Your EDI system and APIs help you make the most of this opportunity. Are You Ready to integrate?