Leading B2C companies have started designing their own platforms for MSMEs
The Covid-19 pandemic brought economies all around the globe to a standstill. As countries imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, businesses struggled to ensure that their products reached end users. Similarly, customers tried to adhere to social distancing protocols while struggling to ensure that their basic necessities were met.
It was e-commerce that helped bridge the gap between demand and supply by ensuring a smooth and safe flow of inventory. According to the Shopify Future of Commerce 2021 report, 85 per cent of the younger consumers (18-34 years) and 90 per cent middle aged consumers (35-54 years) shifted more of their spending to online shopping since the announcement of the pandemic. It is unlikely that they’ll ever go back to shopping offline again.
Besides accelerating digital adoption, the pandemic forced business to reduce supply dependency on China and other foreign players as well. Looking for ways to become self-reliant and diversify their supply chains has become extremely vital and Indian manufacturers – OEMs and MSMEs - need to take advantage of this sentiment. To fast-track economic growth, manufacturing enterprises need to turn their attention towards accessibility, affordability, and availability. While B2C e-commerce ensures accessibility by enabling delivery to the majority of locations across the country, B2B e-commerce facilitates affordability and availability by making the supply chain more efficient.
How B2B E-Commerce Platforms Can Help Manufacturing Enterprises In India?
B2B e-commerce platforms can help MSMEs in procuring raw material by providing quality material at economical prices and with a quick turnaround time. Before the advent of e-commerce, manufacturers had to travel all over the country to procure raw material. After bargaining with the seller for a fair price they had to wait for weeks before their orders were delivered. The chances of breakage and pilferage were also high.
However, with the arrival of B2B e-commerce platforms, MSMEs can order raw materials within a matter of minutes and get them delivered to their factories or manufacturing units in just a few days. A few leading marketplaces even give the assurance of a guaranteed dispatch time which further augments their peace of mind while placing an order. Additionally, since a variety of products are available on a single platform, B2B e-commerce also saves a lot of time.
Other perks like telescopic pricing, special discounts on bulk orders, lenient payment terms, credit facility, are also offered by B2B platform to incentivize online purchases. By providing robotic process automation solutions, these e-commerce platforms help reduce manual labor by automating standardized process and repetitive routine orders.
MSMEs will also be able to expand smoothly through B2B e-commerce platforms. Some of the entry barriers faced by manufacturers are high distribution channel and logistics costs. By facilitating digital adoption, B2B platforms can help MSMEs overcome these barriers and help them in reaching new markets. They can reduce the expansion costs by approximately 60 to 80 per cent. Not only that, with B2B e-commerce, manufacturing enterprises can reach a 70 per cent broader customer base by penetrating deep into remote locations across the country.
Additionally, a full-stack B2B e-commerce platform can play a vital role in the improvement of supply chain efficiency for sustainable growth. It can leverage big data and analytics to build technology-led supply chain financing solutions for MSMEs. This will help fill the credit gap for MSMEs in an economical and effective way.
B2B E-Commerce Platforms Can Empower Kirana Stores
B2B e-commerce platforms are not only empowering MSMEs but Kirana stores as well. With a market share of 96 per cent, Kirana stores are the backbone of the food & grocery distribution in India. However, managing one requires owners to take care of a number of operational complexities and challenges such as lack of technology, lower margins, stringent payment terms and delivery delays, among others. B2B grocery platforms can help retailers by providing end to end solutions like higher margins, timely delivery, better payment terms, technology, providing access to working capital, etc.
B2B E-Commerce Platforms Can Streamline Warehousing And Logistics Services
Customers these days have become very demanding. They demand a seamless shopping experience at the lowest possible price coupled with fulfillment transparency and quick delivery. Accommodating these demands can be challenging for retailers, distributors and manufacturers. By offering full stack solutions, B2B e-commerce players can help retailers in streamlining their warehousing and logistics services. They ensure operational excellence by managing physical movements in the end-to-end supply chain, i.e., from the origin to the customer location.
B2B E-Commerce Platforms Ensure That There Is No Hidden Cost Involved In Procurement
Since there are no middlemen involved in the B2B platform, as the enterprises purchase directly from manufacturers or authorized resellers, there is no hidden cost involved in material procurement. Additionally, the entire process of GST computation is automated. There are no man-hours wasted in manually calculating the tax which helps in reducing the total procurement cost. The amount of paperwork that needs to be taken care of is also reduced which helps in eliminating errors.
In today’s competitive environment retailers, manufacturers and suppliers need a robust and reliable infrastructure in order to fulfill their business goals and become profitable. B2B platforms can play a major role in helping them build efficiency and unlocking their true potential. To be successful in 2021 and beyond, enterprises need to improve their supply chain and commerce process by leveraging the technology offered by these platforms.
With a goal to take advantage of the huge potential in the Indian B2Be-commerce market, apart from the existing B2B companies, leading B2C companies have also started designing their own platforms for MSMEs. Understanding this untapped potential of the B2Be-commerce industry, the government has allowed 100 per cent FDI in B2B e-commerce which has led to successful global B2B e-commerce companies like Walmart and Amazon showing interest in the India B2Be-commerce industry.
The author is Founder, Khojdeal
Disclaimer: Views expressed are the author’s own and Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.