April 29, 2022

A new challenge for the B2B world: how to disrupt the market with digital commerce

B2B Digital Commerce

Nowadays businesses are witnessing great and crucial changes in their organization and marketing strategies. We are living in the era of digital transformation, where companies need to adapt their offer to new customers and market’s needs.
The pandemic forced organizations into the adoption of new digital approaches: customers want to be continuously in touch with brands and expect companies to offer more interactive experiences.
In this scenario, e-commerce and digital commerce are the best facilitators of the digital transformation process, offering innovative and disruptive user experiences.
Did you know the growth expectations for digital commerce applications are 8% in 2022? But the interesting fact is that the B2B business will see higher growth levels than B2C. What does it mean? Digital commerce providers should take into account the specific needs of the B2B market, while providing them with similar tools, strategies and experiences to B2C.

But what do we mean, exactly, by digital commerce? Digital commerce represents the evolution of e-commerce, where every aspect of online shopping becomes fully automated. We actually already spoke about it and its main differences if compared with e-commerce. Here is an article to jog your memory:

READ OUR ARTICLE ABOUT DIGITAL COMMERCE

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIGITAL COMMERCE AND B2B MARKET: AN OVERVIEW

Business relationships in the B2B market are complex and digital commerce between companies is not represented only by e-commerce, digital marketing and CRM systems. If we want to carry out a broader analysis of the digital transformation of the business-to-business market, we have to take into account the entire distribution chain and the involvement of the individual components in the digital transformation process. The driver of change in the B2B market, as well as in the B2C one, is obviously the customer. In this case we are talking about buyers of a company, manager, technician, small entrepreneur, craftsman, so in general resellers. Netcomm research in 2020 shows that B2B buyers have the same needs as e-shoppers consumers. What needs are we talking about?

Saving time
Finding new suppliers
Comparing prices
Receiving support
Delivery service

Interest and expectations for B2B digital commerce were already high but the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on salespeople, travel and supply chains. It induced more and more companies to consider B2B digital commerce as an alternative solution to innovate their business. Effective implementations of B2B digital commerce obviously bring significant benefits for sellers and their buyers. These benefits can be categorized in four areas: cost optimization, revenue growth, CX improvement, and digital transformation. In the next paragraph, we will explore all the benefits that digital commerce can have in the B2B market.

WHY DIGITAL COMMERCE IS SO IMPORTANT FOR B2B BUSINESS?

We said digital commerce providers should give attention to B2B business in particular, but why? According to a research, 89% of managers are growing a preference in investing on B2B marketplaces as a result of COVID-19. This is because they find better experiences through those channels and find remote interaction and digital services simpler and faster. Besides, according to Gartner, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers now occur in digital channels.       These facts and data confirm the growth predictions of digital commerce in the next few years and underline why the B2B market needs to adapt to this digital transformation.
What are the main benefits B2B market can obtain adopting a digital commerce strategy?
Surely, we understand that the B2B market needs to improve customer experience as it is already happening in the B2C one. It occurs that over 90% of B2B buyers desire personalized pricing and recommendations and over 50% of them are willing to pay a premium to receive these personalized offers. Digital commerce allows to offer this kind of services and simplifies purchase processes.  But let’s go deeper into the heart of the matter. Discover with us what B2B businesses can really achieve with digital commerce and how they can improve their offer:

TOP BENEFITS FOR BUYERS
TOP BENEFITS FOR SELLERS
B2B Digital Commerce

HOW TO OVERCOME THE MAIN BARRIERS TO DIGITAL COMMERCE ADOPTION

The adoption of digital commerce can really take B2B businesses to another level, but some barriers may still hamper the process. Let’s see what are the main difficulties they may encounter:

Offering a seamless multi-channel experience can be the right thing to do in this case. In this way, customers can choose the best channels to interact with the company according to their needs and preferences and the entire purchase process becomes more direct and fast. Offering chatbots services can also be useful to assist customers when they are confused during their journey on the website and, to minimize this confusion, taking inspiration from UX B2C sellers design could be a good idea.

Even if the majority of buyers and sellers in the B2B world says digital commerce helps them to find the best price, there still is a significant percentage of them that doesn’t find this process so easy. So how to intervene? The first thing to do is to ensure customers are offered the same price regardless of the channel they choose to purchase. Then, if in the sales process the company needs to apply a discount to win competitors, it should communicate it to customers via any channel available. Also, some AI or real-time pricing engines could be very helpful to find the best price for any specific situation in a short period of time.

43% of B2B sellers have no plans of selling their products online because they say they are too complex for that kind of channel. Digital commerce can actually overcome this problem. For example, companies can decide to insert the entire product catalog in the digital commerce channel, even if it is not yet feasible to complete the entire transaction online. When selling complex products, using visual configuration could be a good idea to simplify customers’ choosing process among different options. Again, companies can provide chatbots service to customers when they need more specific information about the complex products.

TRENDS AND SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR B2B

In the last two years, due to the pandemic, the leaders of the B2B market have shown more and more interest in digital commerce but, above all, they have acquired an awareness: sales and marketing must operate in parallel. Until now, most of the sales teams and marketing department have operated serially with marketing that generates and feeds demand through digital channels and sales that turn leads into actual customers. However, consumers don’t buy in a linear way, but they use digital and traditional channels in almost equal percentage. As a result, in the B2B world there is no shift from marketing to sales or from digital to physical. It is rather a parallel process. Now that companies know digital commerce and established their own strategy, what does the future hold?

B2B digital commerce

Omnichannel sales

Omnichannel selling confirmed its importance in 2021 and is a standard for B2B companies. The ability to buy and sell on multiple channels is an advantage for consumers and brands and a strategy that improves the customer experience as well as the productivity of the company itself.

Simplifying the customer experience

B2B commerce was initially based on the automation of simple reordering, but this approach is changing. A Gartner research has shown that buyers find it difficult to complete an order, as the approach used is very complex. In 2022, brands will use new tools and strategies to solve this problem and optimize the customer experience. The latter want to be able to configure complex products online and complete the purchase process on digital platforms.

Customer acquisition

Customer retention will remain a priority for companies, but the acquisition of new customers will be critical in 2022. We shouldn’t be surprised if B2B brands are implementing digital marketing strategies, just think that 72% of B2B buyers start their online experience. In all sectors B2B companies are taking advantage of the marketing tactics already used by B2C, experiencing huge success.

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