The Tipping Point in B2B Commerce: What Lies Ahead?
The world of B2B commerce is at an inflection point. The average business buyer is no longer indifferent to a detached, impersonalized, and disjointed buying experience. Today’s digitally-aware, hyper-connected consumers expect B2B sellers to personalize their customer engagement and orchestrate frictionless omni-channel buying experiences throughout their journey.
But B2B commerce was not always this demanding. What led to this transformation?
The e-commerce revolution has heralded a new era in the world of B2B commerce. According to a research, 93% businesses prefer to buy online once they’ve made their purchase decision. With the bulk of B2B purchases taking place through the e-commerce route, it’s no surprise that buyers are expecting Amazon-like experiences in their B2B transactions.
But how steady is this B2B e-commerce wave and how effectively will it sustain in the ever-changing digital landscape? Trends suggest that B2B e-commerce is growing at an exponential rate and according to Forrester, it is expected to surpass $1.2 trillion by 2021 in U.S. alone. This growth is even more evident from industry statistics. 74% of B2B buyers research at least half of their work purchases online. Over 70% buyers expect self-service access to their order and accounts. And a staggering 60% of B2B sellers reported an increase in selling with omni-channel customer experiences.
The opportunities are endless, but to make the most of it, businesses must equip themselves with the right tools and technology to meet the demands of the next generation of B2B buyers. Let’s have a look at the 4 key questions you must ask yourself to prepare for this emerging landscape.
1. Are you ready to deliver omni-channel buying experiences?
Today’s customers are omni-channel. To attract, convert, and retain customers, businesses must deliver seamless and continuous experiences across channels and devices. Brands must integrate their offline experience with the online customer journey and ensure a frictionless transition between channels. For the perfect omni-channel experience, people and technology must work in synchronicity to address customer demands and facilitate transactions.
2. Are you prepared to leverage Artificial Intelligence?
AI is beginning to make its presence felt in B2B sales. More and more organizations are looking to leverage AI for their projects. To prepare your organization for AI, make sure to start with use cases that leverage high-quality data, such as the products you’ve sold, the prices you’ve realized, and the customers to whom you sold. By avoiding the intangibles like individual interactions, quality of seller, and buyer sentiment, you’re able to focus and refine the algorithms around tangible outcomes.
3. Is your data house in perfect order?
A well-maintained data repository is a goldmine for any digitally-driven organization. It is also at the center of machine learning and AI applications. The right data can help you get a competitive advantage by developing closer relationships with your customers. It also enables organizations to capitalize on their machine learning and AI investments. It’s no surprise that clean, accurate data is the costliest commodity in today’s organizations.
4. Are you blending predictive analytics and machine-learning?
Getting into machine learning can be challenging, costly, and time consuming for any organization. Due to its complex nature, it also requires a workforce with specialized skillsets. Instead of assembling a team to build this functionality from scratch, brands must look for established software vendors to drive innovation in these areas. If you are looking to venture into machine learning, make sure you choose a vendor with a proven track record to be your strategic partner.
CONTACT JOE BRANNON
– Global Commerce Director
At TA Digital, Joe will develop strategies for growth, innovation, and execute commerce and omnichannel solutions using digital technology to enhance the customer experience. For more than 15 years Joe has been a digital transformational thought and implementation leader for large multi-national brands across the B2C, B2B, Retail and Customer Care Center landscape.
Email – [email protected]
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