Challenges SMEs face in the digital B2B Space
Being a small business in this fast-paced world is a big challenge, and when adding a global pandemic to the mix, many small businesses have been left facing new obstacles they had not anticipated. Businesses have had to learn to pivot from thriving in the offline world to the online one, from creating a digital presence to building their credibility virtually and understanding new methods of customer acquisition. Growing a business in the digital B2B space is far more challenging than expected. The B2B market operates primarily on trust, given the higher ticket sizes, and the desire to cultivate a long term relationship with the other party. These relationships have been built through physical interactions. The pandemic, however, has forced the industry to move from relying on physical interactions to online ones.
This is where the challenge lies, how does a buyer in India trust that a seller in South Africa has the quality products he is looking for and will deliver them safely without ever meeting the seller?
Trust needs to be built at every stage of the customer journey and in every interaction.
1. Building Trust and Credibility
Without credibility, attracting and retaining customers becomes next to impossible. As a seller, your customers need to trust the quality of your products and services and establishing this trust is challenging and can take time.
Besides relying on word of mouth alone, businesses need to use content to drive trust. Having more information on a product or service gives buyers a greater understanding and drives buying decisions. It also removes the suspicion that information is being ‘hidden.’
Using demo videos or “How-to” articles help deliver information about your product to buyers in an engaging way. Sharing objective content consistently is paramount to building trust and creating an authentic brand. Moreover, good quality content can be read and utilised months after publication, creating a long-lasting outcome.
Another way to cultivate trust is through providing services like Escrow that add a layer of security for both parties and eliminates risk. The escrow service provider, as a trusted third party holds the buyer’s funds until the seller fulfils their obligations of the deal and upon verification, the funds are released to the seller.
2. Finding Your Buyers and Sellers
Without trade fairs and other events designed to bring buyers and sellers together, the industry has resorted to needing to source new sellers or buyer’s.
Unlike the B2C world where there are several established marketplaces, the B2B space is much more fragmented and difficult to navigate. There are so many different marketplaces, it is overwhelming for both buyers and sellers to discern which platform would best suit their needs.
Furthermore, the B2B buying process has slowly evolved over the years with 70% of buyers starting their research online. Having a digital presence is of utmost importance however it is hard to build one overnight.
This is where trusted B2B marketplaces are paramount. Joining a marketplace increases your visibility and gives you a digital presence to display your product and access a wider array of buyers. Now that an SME is digitally present the next challenge is enhancing visibility – because after all if the buyer does not know your products exist how can they purchase from you? This is where Proxtera steps in, connecting multiple marketplaces through our technology to increase product visibility, helping sellers reduce the work required on their part to find buyers. On the buyer’s side, Proxtera reduces the need to search multiple different marketplaces by consolidating all the results in one location.
3. Financial Flexibility
As a small business, consistent cash flow is critical for continuity and yet unpredictable cash flow is a challenge perpetually faced by many small businesses. Having financial flexibility gives a business the ability to embrace new opportunities when they arise.
Obtaining a secure cash line has typically been a hurdle for SMEs however, in the last few years SMEs have found a reliable and flexible financial solution for their business.
Companies like INFT provide SMEs with the ability to secure a business cash line, make cross-border payments for a small fee, manage their finances and working capital digitally. INFT financial solutions enable SMEs to sustain their business and take on new opportunities.
Instead of worrying about whether a bank will be able to meet your quick business needs, SMEs can rely on businesses like INFT which have solutions catered to SMEs. Proxtera has partnered with INFT to provide our customers with quick financing solutions to enable
Learn more about INFT’s business cashline here.