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B2B E-Commerce and its Vast Opportunity

Business-to-Business e-Commerce or B2B e-Commerce is a term that is used for electronic market transactions between business organisations or companies. It covers a broad spectrum of applications that enables an enterprise or business to form electronic relationship with its distributors, resellers, suppliers and other partners.

B2B e-Commerce offers a range of benefits for buyers and sellers:

· Lower procurement and distribution costs as it eliminates the need for a mediator / middleman.
· With advancement in technology, electronic marketing is able to reach farther and wider markets for greater access to buyers and sellers locally and globally.
· Quicker reaction to customer inquiries
· Reduced capital commitment and less overproduction
· Error elimination throughout the ordering and production process
· Quality improvements in customer-service
· Worldwide access to up-to-date product information

B2B e-Commerce is one of the fastest growing sectors of the small business industry. It is also one of a possible solution to help SMEs, especially small businesses, to compete not only with their competitors in the industry but also with larger companies globally.
With the internet fast becoming the world’s most important source of information with a growing influence on consumer behaviour and decisions, it has become a platform for all types of businesses to promote and sell their products and services. With SMEs being the majority bulk of businesses today, the electronic commerce industry is expanding rapidly as more and more SMEs are adopting B2B e-Commerce. This, in turn, has resulted in the establishment of an increasing number of e-commerce firms catering to the needs of the SMEs, and thus, creating more jobs in the economy.
The adaptation of B2B in business transactions helps improve the speed of communication between buyers and sellers at reduced costs. This helps to open up new business opportunities both locally and globally. With the ability to enter international markets at a minimal cost, SMEs now have the opportunity to compete with bigger companies.
The e-commerce technology works well as a selling tool as it also helps the SMEs to generate more sales through its ability to better outsource unprofitable segments of business. It can help to outsource products that are not selling well, which conventionally requires effort, time, and costs to implement. However, through B2B, some of the costs can be reduced so that the company can focus on other areas of the business like product development. Additionally, with the usage of this technology, the product development, product processes, and business / market intelligence will see better improvement in due time.
SMEs will also be able to understand the market better as there will be direct interaction between buyers and suppliers online. For buyers, with the elimination of a mediator / middleman, direct purchase of materials as well as the establishment of a relationship with suppliers will result in reduced cost. With reduced costs, there will be greater savings for buyer companies that will, in turn, result in better bottom lines.
SMEs have always been struggling with labour intensive processes of running a business that adversely affect efficiency, productivity and organisational growth. With B2B e-commerce, SMEs benefit tremendously by reduced usage of time and resources through transactions done online. B2B e-commerce also allows SMEs to streamline warehouse, call center and other functions that have the potential to become choke points in the company's efforts to achieve targeted growth objectives.
B2B e-commerce allows SMEs to have the opportunity to leverage technology as a competitive advantage in the ever changing global economy. By using the right strategies, it can serve as a powerful weapon to enhance brand appeal, reduce the cost of operations and increase sales. Furthermore, it gives realistic and achievable targets for SMEs to achieve in improving and gaining better experience with their business customers. For today’s SMEs, B2B e-Commerce is the key to small business revitalisation and success in today's multichannel marketplace.

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