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Approaching B2B eCommerce as an Omni-Channel & Growth Opportunity


If you have not read our last article on The Golden Jubilee – Celebrating, Reflecting & Planning 50 Years, go check it out to have a better understanding on this sharing.


Majority of us have individually engaged in eCommerce one way or another and these behavior patterns are likely to result in more online transactions in the coming years. We understand the mechanics of B2C eCommerce intimately and enjoy the ease of finding products, integrated services as well as on-demand door-to-door delivery. At New Prosperity Electrical (NPE), we are on the reiteration process to improve our eCommerce user experience (UX), making it faster, easier and more efficient over time. Consequently, these expectations of “normalcy” get redefined all the time, raising these levels of benchmark.


Today, more and more of such buying experiences has been heightened for business buyers too. In fact, the truth is that B2B eCommerce has been steadily growing to multiple times the size of B2C – accounting for $9 trillion in sales in 2018. Bear in mind, this was reported factually two years back. We are continually focusing on comprehending the drivers of adoption to enable us to succeed in this evolving and disruptive channel and these are what we have gathered:


Trends affecting B2B eCommerce


There are a growing number of trends that are prompting various businesses in the value chain to jump on the bandwagon, invest heavily in this channel and generate interests among new players.


  • Digitization of business buyers. When you think of the term “digital”, customarily, the conventional wisdom tends to point to the Millennial group as it illustrates 73% of them are directly involved in the small value procurement or purchase decision-making at their companies. However, it has been shown that digitization goes beyond the Millennials, as evident in the emergence of the Perennials. Indeed, digitization is not a generational trend; instead, it reflects the shift in mindset among cross-generational customers who are interacting with technology more than ever.


  • Every touchpoint, always on, always available – Omnichannel. A survey was conducted with a sample size of 7,000 business buyers and consumers. It was found that 80% of the business buyers expect companies to respond to them in real time, providing the ‘instant gratification’. Across every channel type— this may range from emails, messaging apps, mobile in-app support, chat plugins etc. and majority of business buyers indicated that they expect a response in less than one hour. Otherwise, they will search from another alternative company who can handle the request. ‘Omnichannel’ eCommerce moves beyond the buzzword to operational reality.


  • High expectations for personalization & efficiency. As a consumer, you would personally expect online stores and their Customer Service teams to know your preferences prior to your request, assist in product search, present relevant and customized content, offer cross-sell and upsell products, provide a seamless checkout and expect next day delivery. Business buyers now have similar expectations for the purpose of efficiency and production. 65% of the business buyers say they would likely switch brands if a company didn’t make an effort to personalize experience with them.


  • On-demand, more convenient experience. Business buyers value time and convenience even more than active consumers do, expecting friction-free user experiences starting from product research, product specification comparison, checkout process to delivery. With 68% highlighting their preferences for gathering information on their own, business buyers expect relevant information to be easily searchable and presented in a transparent, consistent, and engaging manner. At the same time, business buyers have heightened expectation for speed of product delivery: 60% of industrial buyers demand delivery for all orders within 48 hours or less.


  • Customized, specified Business User demands. Business buyers may not necessarily be the end-user of the requested or purchased products, hence they would need to have detailed product data and specifications. B2B eCommerce sellers must also account for the buyer’s typical workflow: the need for superior or parent category, accompanying technical support, relevant upselling or cross-selling propositions, catalogue completeness, competitive pricing according to Customer or Account Type, in-stock status and shipping needs.


We notice an exponential rate of change driven by technological advancement. This amplifies the need for companies like NPE to prepare ahead of time. In parallel, expectations of both sellers and buyers in the value chain have also become more sophisticated and demanding. With such seismic changes in the eCommerce and digital landscape, companies throughout the value chain would need to accelerate and step up or they will lose market share.


B2B eCommerce Takes Shape at New Prosperity Electrical (NPE)


For the subsequent posts, we will continue to share and discuss about the positives and impact of the new age B2B eCommerce. These contents would include the challenges, opportunities and the dynamics in this industry. We will also incorporate New Prosperity Electrical (NPE)’s response to these changes and evolution – how we are innovating, building new capabilities, collaborating with new partners as we continually refine and accelerate our digital transformation progress. We have initiated the need for cross functional teams to be working closely with our partners in creating a B2B buyer centric playbook with the intent to drive ecommerce adoption and sales from businesses and end users.


To hear more about how New Prosperity Electrical (NPE) is innovating and building new capabilities as part of our digital transformation journey, follow our blog and social media platforms to exchange intellectual thoughts. We have posted our first strategy in detail and will be posting the next two strategies in detail, so do continue to watch this space.


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References

Duddy, S. (July 3, 2017). UPS study reveals eCommerce disrupting industrial distribution. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ups-study-reveals-ecommerce-disrupting-industrial-simon-duddy/


Digital Commerce 360. (2018). Mapping $9 trillion in U.S. B2B online commerce. Retrieved from https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2018/04/17/mapping-9-trillion-in-u-s-b2b-e-commerce/


Digital Commerce 360. (2017). Online self‑service edges out reps for B2B buyers. Retrieved from https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2017/05/26/online-self-service-edges-out-reps-for-b2b-buyers/


Made with Merit. (2016). The Next Generation of B2B Buyers. How the Millennial Business Buyer is Changing B2B Sales & Marketing. Retrieved from https://madewithmerit.com/reports/Millennial_B2B-Report-Merit.pdf


Sweezey, M. (2017). 80 Percent of B2B Buyers Expect Real-Time Interaction. Retrieved from https://www.convinceandconvert.com/online-customer-experience/buyers-expect-real-time-interaction/



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