Back in 2019, 13% of total B2B sales were driven via eCommerce in the USA. It was projected back in December 2019 by Forrester that the percentage would grow to 17% by 2023. With the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is now projected to exceed that number. So what are the key drivers taking the industry there?
While the Pandemic has been very disruptive around the world, businesses had to adapt to new rules and regulations, which pushed the envelope on all fronts with some not surviving, others innovating, and some transforming altogether. Below are the key areas where the digitalization of B2B eCommerce is trending and require consideration when evolving in that space.
Progressive Web Applications
Unlike Mobile Apps which require installation on your smartphone, Progressive Web Apps (PWA’s) can deliver a faster, wider-reaching, and engaging experience with the following key advantages:
- Installable on your Home Screen of your smartphone
- Push Notifications available
- Shorter development cycle in delivering the PWA vs. Native Apps.
- PWA’s are fast which is a key component for the audience and SEO
- Background for PWA’s: https://web.dev/progressive-web-apps/
- How to get started with a PWA: https://codelabs.developers.google.com/codelabs/your-first-pwapp/#0
There are many areas of a business that can take on further with automation from communicating to clients to taking various processes and enhancing their steps with scanning, tracking, data transferring, reporting, notifying, organizing, and visualizing. It is not just reducing time on a particular process, but also taking that process and give it measures, alarms and notifications when something goes wrong while making it easy to learn from previous cycles of that task/process.
With AI (Artificial Intelligence), customer engagements, which are initial interactions, like online chatting have key time-saving advantages in the triage of client interests and needs. With an increased customer experience with immediate guidance on what they are looking for, the guidance can take the client to support materials such as FAQs, How-To’s or chat to support staff or billing.
Product Recommendations based on client orders help other clients to consider if they would need to accessorize the items they are interested in purchasing. This AI tool is a learning tool based on your eCommerce traffic and greatly enhances both the experience and basket size and conversion.
Self Service and Social Media
With today’s Social Media, 5G rolling out, Smartphones everywhere B2B customers spend more time in educating themselves before engaging with your establishment via various available media – both competitive and native to your business. FAQ’s, How-To guides in both written and video can significantly assist the clients' engagement in not only having a productive conversation but also assist in elevating the conversion process and strengthening the relationship.
Marketplace Diversification and Reach
B2B Buyers have various reasons to chose their particular marketplace depending on what they are used to, the tools for trading, and reports they can retrieve through their accounts. Marketplaces offer different tools in their process especially when it comes to the transaction of goods, terms of the transaction, and logistics choices.
Increasing your audience reach is a logical step, yet it does add complexity to which you can also automate and consolidate the channels via an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). It is being said that the B2B marketplaces will increase the reach of a business by a factor of four between 2018 and 2024.
Customer Retention and Incentives
While this is nothing new when it comes to good marketing practices, it is the method and interaction with your client base that has evolved. Keeping in mind that your chosen eCommerce platform offers a variety of tools to subscribe, offer coupons, track purchases for points, referral rewards, and partnership VIP club groups.
It is the use of Social Media and the combination of Content with solid marketing principles that make Customer Retention that much more effective. This combined with stronger data analysis of your client base, the business can better target the B2B client with personalized and engaging conversations that are relevant based on time (sales cycle length), Seasonal or Product relevance based on events that the client undergoes.
With the above 5 key items trending and deepening the B2B eCommerce landscape for the current Pandemic environment one must recognize the evolutionary progress of how human interactions merge with technology. Technology alone cannot bring us to a better way of B2B engagements, but how we spend our time when it is being spent and how effective it delivers for your business is how we can measure success. Considering the various categories above to your business to improve and deliver a better experience can only deliver that success to both your clients and business.
Additional information can be found on eCommerce trends for 2021