Consumerization of B2B and engagement of Buyers



Ecommerce B2B: the importance of customer empowerment

  • By: Tecla

The success of the “digital fair” in the B2B sector is growing fast: online research and interaction have become part of the B2B customer experience, alongside the traditional sector fairs, widening their network of customers or suppliers, and enabling the stipulation of contracts and purchases in real time.

Alibaba, and now Amazon, have based their business model on this principle. The same principle is changing B2B relations of single companies that are increasingly involved in the direct management of a digital journey of engagement geared to buyers as an alternative to and/or alongside large marketplaces which obviously introduce margins and risks of competition.

The customer experience of the B2B sector is also increasingly mirroring the B2C sector, by virtue of the individual daily consumer experiences of the various interlocutors. In line with this trend, buyers’ needs are growing exponentially with similar expectations to those of the consumer. The B2B target expects its needs to be understood in real time and managed with personalization of the specific offer. If, for example, a buyer-client is talking on the phone with the sales person while browsing the company’s website and viewing product cards, the client expects his/her interlocutor to use this information to personalize the call.

 

"50% of B2B buyers see personalization 

as a decisive factor for suppliers with whom they want to work "

 

Il Customer empowerment is therefore the first driver which impacts on the activities, including of B2B ecommerce, and on the engagement dynamics of the sector: a true consumerization of B2B is underway and this means that each B2B company must regularly monitor the changes in the expectations and in the behavior of the customers and must be prepared to design digital consumer-like interactions.

 

"Il 52% of buyers use the smartphone during the search phase and to finalize the purchase"

 

While a consumer is often the only person involved in the choice to purchase, a process of B2B purchase often involves different roles and people. Furthermore, unlike B2C, the buyer must often respect workflow and approvals in the purchasing process, dependent on authorizations, budgeting and attributions to set projects or contracts. B2B companies must balance the tracking of change in consumer needs on one hand, while ensuring efficiency of operations on the other, making the necessary changes to the ecommerce flows.

In their own journey of digital transformation, companies must optimize the integration between backend systems, ERP, CRM and ecommerce, and synchronize the order management and supply chain management processes and ensure they “talk” to each other: for example, if the order management system is not synchronized when an agent from the contact center interacts with a customer on the status of a recent order, the agent is unable to provide an accurate reply. This means that the customer’s needs are not addressed and there will likely be no sale.

 

Guidelines for B2B ecommerce

In an increasingly omnichannel and interconnected context, what are the guidelines to maximize the performance of B2B ecommerce?

1) Data driven approach and Integration with back end systems, to create personalized and real experience based on substantial information such as definition of stock, future availability (inventory) and real shipment times.

 

"B2B companies with CRM integrated to ecommerce see a 20% increase in CRO (conversion rate) and 8.3% decrease in abandoned shopping carts."

 

2) Accuracy of product information: as for B2C, the theme of availability and correctness of product information is crucial and must be managed with Product Information Management to maximize purchase conversions.

3) Optimized Browse and Search to find information and products, connecting the search log to purchasing behavior.

4) Use technological tools, such as product configurators that simulate concrete needs, which help to support the buyers’ work and therefore to simplify it, aiming for loyalty.

5) Marketing automation and content marketing: use most of the contents from all the systems to create a unique and engaging experience which maximizes the business results, through timely communications activated by automatic triggers.

6) Create a strategic alliance with the IT in a way that spreads the need for transparency and integration between business systems throughout the company. Do not leave IT with the task of managing flows and contents, but make it more flexible to optimize the time to market.

 

Tecla designs customer engagement strategies geared to stakeholders to support the digital transformation of B2B companies, using  lBM WCS Commerce. for the development of the ecommerce platform

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