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Black Friday: Are B2B Buyers on the Hunt for Bargains?

The date marked on every merchant's calendar — Black Friday, November 24th. However, it's not just the B2C e-commerce sector that is excited. There are clear signs that in recent years, the Black Friday trend has spilled over into the B2B business domain.

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Like every year, expectations are high for the Black Friday weekend. In the US alone, over $20 billion was transacted last year on these promotional days in the B2C sector. And when looking at Germany, 2022 saw over two-thirds of customers stating they were either likely or very likely they would make purchases on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But it’s not just the B2C e-commerce sector looking forward to the holiday sales anymore. Amazon Business annually offers discounts of up to 50%, and many B2B retailers are following suit. So, with the Friday after Thanksgiving marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season as one of the most crucial days in B2C commerce, this raises the question, does the same await the B2B sector?

66% more orders on Black Friday

At Billie, we recorded around 66% more orders on Black Friday 2022 through our Buy Now, Pay Later payment method for business customers compared to the preceding four weeks – a significant peak and an indication that the key B2C sales days in the year are increasingly playing a role in the B2B business. This is supported by the findings of a report from the Berlin-based market research company Hopp, which conducted a survey of 100 German B2B online retailers in 2018. According to the report, 70% of participants gained new customers through Black Friday discount promotions. 75% of companies significantly increased their revenue, and around a third of the retailers saw Black Friday as an opportunity to reach customers not accessible through other marketing channels. Will business customers soon expect B2B special offers on Black Friday and similar days? The signs point in that direction.

No Black Friday without digitization

Black Friday is not the first trend to spill over from the B2C sector into B2B business. They all share a commonality: the way people shop in their personal lives has rapidly changed in recent years. And with these new habits come new expectations for business purchases. This is most evident in the realm of digitization. Similar to B2C, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are shifting further into online stores. However, the level of digitization in B2B commerce is not where it could be, and it lags behind B2C. In the professional context, rigid payment processes, a customer journey full of manual steps, and long delivery times are met with resistance. But buyers now have different expectations: The '2021 B2B Buyer Report' shows that 90% of B2B buyers would switch to a competitor if an online store does not meet their requirements. A study by the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management in cooperation with Billie also revealed that B2B buyers desire more automation and simplification of payment processes.

While some B2B retailers and marketplaces have already figured out how to boost demand through special offers on seasonal promotion days, others are just jumping on the bandwagon. But foremost is the question of how the digitization of B2B commerce can be accelerated to meet the growing demand for B2C-like and modern customer experiences in general. Ultimately, If processes aren’t digital, seamless, and in-line with customers’ expectations, even the best Black Friday offer will not reach its full potential.

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