Digital adoption has seen a steady increase since the beginning of 2020. Ecommerce quickly took the place of physical sales channels when brick-and-mortar shops were forced to shut their doors. B2B trade, a traditionally offline experience, is one area seeing rapid growth. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are accelerating their pivot to digital and taking advantage of ecommerce.
In the recent Alibaba.com US B2B SMB Survey, we found that 93% of 5,015 B2B companies are now conducting some portion of their business online, up from 90% in December 2019. Not only has B2B commerce become more digital, but 80% of respondents reported maintaining or growing online B2B transactions in the past six months.
Although well known for their technologically advanced production capabilities, manufacturers have been slower than other industries to adopt online sourcing and selling tools. In December 2019, US manufacturers’ online B2B trade volume lagged all other industries except construction. However, our recent survey shows US SMB manufacturers digitizing their operations at twice the rate of other industries during the pandemic. Their online B2B trade increased 8% — double the rate of the overall 4% increase in all industries over the same time period.
With manufacturers so new to online trade, many don’t know where to start. Creating and maintaining a strong online presence can be complex. There are several moving pieces: understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO), mastering ecommerce best practices, and building relationships with buyers and suppliers, just to name a few. That’s why we launched the Alibaba.com Digital Sprint for US Manufacturers — to help US manufacturers accelerate the digitization of their online marketing, sourcing, and selling, and thrive in the US $23.9 trillion global B2B ecommerce market opportunity.
This free four-week program offers tailored sessions twice a week taught by industry experts and Alibaba.com executives. The biweekly courses will cover:
- Week one
- Ecommerce 101: learn about the current ecommerce landscape for B2B SMBs and receive a checklist of items you need to get your business online.
- Digital marketing 101: covering the fundamentals of digital marketing
- Week two
- How to make your digital storefront shine: this course will teach you how to craft the perfect homepage and lead visitors to purchase.
- Closing your first online sale: we’ll walk you through the process of completing a B2B online sale — from agreeing on price and quantity to payment processing.
- Week three
- Optimizing your product listings: find out how to use copy and imagery to showcase your products in the best light, and learn sales tactics that help persuade buyers to make larger purchases.
- Digital marketing deep dive: build upon the digital marketing foundation you laid in week one and learn how to optimize your pages and campaigns.
- Week four
- Going global: learn how to assess if your business is ready to go global, and get tips from experts on how to take all your processes to the international stage.
- Maintaining a healthy ecommerce channel: develop the skills to nurture your online business and keep it growing for years to come.
The inaugural Alibaba.com Digitization Sprint for US Manufacturers will kick off in mid-November. If you’re interested in participating, apply here.
Having a standout digital storefront or website is important. But it’s no help to you if no one is looking at it. Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to appear on search engines and increase your visibility.