E-commerce has changed the fate of many B2C companies. Those that have adapted have thrived, while those that have not adjusted rapidly are no longer in existence.
The Internet’s growth disrupted a number of traditional business models. Web technologies helped create many of today’s B2C giants, including eBay, Amazon, and Google. As mobile became the more popular way of accessing sites and apps, businesses have also evolved, building new tools that change the way consumers work and live.
Today, there is virtually no business that can compete successfully without a robust e-commerce platform. What is new is that the same thing can also be said today about B2B businesses. E-commerce is poised to begin a dramatic shift in B2B; Forrester reports that B2B e-commerce will be twice the size of B2C e-commerce by 2020 in the United States alone.
Change in buyer behavior means better business
The change in B2B buyer behavior should not come as a shock. After all, B2B buyers are used to making online purchases. With access to Internet-enabled mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, there’s a new generation of buyers who are tech-savvy and want the same convenience in their work experience as they do in other parts of their busy lives.
B2B buyers are expecting the same kind of seamless experience as they have while shopping for a shoe or electronic gadget online. Forrester reports that more than 70% of B2B buyers research their work-related purchases online. B2B commerce is not only helping provide much-needed convenience to today’s digitally tuned buyers, but it also offers a low-cost sales channel for the B2B seller as well.
Digital commerce builds new organizational partnerships
More and more B2B enterprises are investing in building digital capabilities in line with their multi-channel commerce strategy. This focus on digital commerce seems to have an impact on the overall organization as well. Organizations including IT, marketing, sales, and operations are coming together to build this platform. A company that is siloed will not succeed. Building a robust B2B digital commerce platform requires strong collaboration across different lines of businesses within an organization. It also requires an organization to look at the objective holistically with people, process, and technology fully aligned.
It is all about customer experience
In this digital age, customer experience matters more than anything in both B2B and B2C. The B2B customer’s cost for switching vendors is as low as the B2C customer’s. Subscription-based business models help accelerate that trend. Especially in the B2B enterprise software space, services are increasingly available in the cloud, using a variety of subscription models to best fit customer needs. But because of the low cost of switching, businesses cannot afford to simply be transactional. In today’s digital age, a lost business customer is about more than just lost revenue. The loss becomes exponential.
One bad online customer review will cost a business dearly. Businesses – no matter what they sell, where it’s sold, or to whom it’s sold — need to be be very careful to design the right digital strategy. Digital strategy is no longer limited to the Web; it needs to be mobile-first and encompass all interaction types — Web, mobile, social, and contact center. For a customer experience to be truly omnichannel, the product offering, pricing, promotion, ease of access, and ease of delivery have to be consistent across the board.
To deliver exceptional customer experience, B2B companies need a holistic digital platform. That platform needs to be cloud-ready and secure, plus have the capabilities to build modern, customer-grade applications. At the same time, the platform must be able to quickly integrate with existing on-premises and cloud solutions. The platform needs to be agile and scalable to accommodate the needs of global expansion.
For more on blending physical and digital elements together to wow customers, see Customer Experience: OmniChannel. OmniNow. OmniWow.
Blog originally published on Trendsynopsis.