7 B2B E-Commerce Trends to get you ahead in 2023
B2B E-Commerce is undergoing a true metamorphosis. To help you navigate through these rapidly moving developments, the following list asserts the impact and reach of the top 7 B2B E-Commerce trends for 2023 and beyond.
The European B2B e-commerce market grew from a fledgling niche to a market worth 1,333 billion US dollars in 2022, forecasted to reach 1,817 billion US dollars in 2025. This enormous growth makes B2B e-commerce impossible to ignore for B2B companies and B2B buyers.
The transition from traditional to digital sales was well underway when COVID-19 came along, which propelled the world into buying and selling remotely even more. By the end of 2021, only 30% of B2B e-commerce buyers preferred in-person interaction with salespeople. Everyone else chose digital channels over traditional, with 33% buying remotely and 36% choosing self-service. Today, it’s safe to say that B2B e-commerce is here to stay.
1. Proliferation of sales channels
The way consumers and B2B buyers are buying is changing rapidly. Next to the traditional email, social, app, search, webshop and advertising channels, a proliferation of technologies and internet-enabled devices pop up. Live chat, video conferencing, AR, VR and voice are emerging and becoming more and more ingrained in the customer journeys of certain industries and markets. Like voice enabling car commerce, for example. According to McKinsey, B2B customers say they are now interacting with suppliers via ten or more channels.
2. Omnichannel requires orchestration
Companies that manage to sell through more channels are likely to have gained market share in 2021, McKinsey states. But simply being present on these channels is not enough: you need to offer an experience that transcends each channel by identifying the customer and its phase in the customer journey. Creating such journeys requires data to flow between channels to enable a single view of the customer to personalize the whole experience.
3. Realizing B2B personalization is important, but hard
Research shows that investing in B2B personalization is a smart business decision. 77% of B2B marketers believe personalization improves customer relationships, according to Business Wire. But creating engaging, personalized human experiences is challenging to get right. A survey by Folloze found that 42% of B2B sales and marketing professionals report that their marketing efforts are not fully personalized, with only 39% saying their current personalization is somewhat sophisticated. In particular, the difference between personalizing email and taking it further to using tiered pricing, optimized product search and personalized recommendations. Many organizations have no next step towards building their initial personalization further.
4. Composable architecture that enables change
The foundation for the B2B customer experience is laid by the IT architecture. Rapidly changing customer expectations force organizations to become more flexible and agile. The increase of mobile usage led to the headless architecture to separate the front and back end, allowing rapid improvement in the mobile experience. Now, as the proliferation of sales channels impacts branding, content management and product management, the interest in composable architecture is rising. The composable approach breaks everything down into business functionalities that you can easily put together to create a commerce experience that differentiates your brand.
5. Marketplaces for extra reach
B2B is rapidly following B2C in the adoption of selling via marketplaces. Joining third-party marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba give massive reach and allows for D2C. According to Digital Commerce 360, B2B marketplaces will account for 30% of all global B2B e-commerce by 2024. Streamlining and optimizing product and customer data is required for marketplace success. Setting up either a private B2B platform for relations or a public marketplace gives a solid, competitive advantage but comes with its challenges.
6. Advertising becomes more difficult
The choice of setting up marketplaces is also raised by the imminent death of the cookie, which will make the reach of a wider audience more appealing. Privacy laws such as the European GDPR are preventing the unknowing tracking of customers, the collection of their personal data and the creation of profiles. And with Google phasing out the usage of third-party cookies in Google Chrome now, in 2024, tracking the effects of your advertising on the whole customer journey becomes a lot more difficult. The only answer to this is to focus on first-party data: the customer data you collect from interactions on your channels. But before your customers give you their personal data willingly, they want something in return.
7. Reshaping the B2B customer relationship
The biggest challenge is knowing how B2B buyers want to buy and how sellers want to sell. B2B buyers desire more channels, more convenience and a better-personalized experience as they learned to expect from B2C. Most B2B companies have answered this digitally with dynamic pricing, price negotiation options, subscription services and digital self-service. More than 90% of B2B companies report that their new go-to-market model is just as or more effective than their pre-pandemic model. But B2B buyers want a mix. They also value the emotional connection that transforms transactions into relationships. Tech and touch need to work together in a new hybrid form that fosters long-term loyalty.
Overcoming the 4 Key Challenges to your B2B E-Commerce Success
Identify and address the bottlenecks preventing your organization from reaping the maximal benefits of B2B e-commerce.
All trends lead to the customer
Trends are an important factor in gauging the development of the market but be aware that you don’t lose yourself in the process. Trends can be oversimplified or irrelevant to your business or niche. It takes some effort to recognize the current development that suits your needs the best. The key to success is always keeping your customer, the B2B buyer, in mind. Identifying and meeting the B2B customers’ needs are now and will always remain the key focus for B2B companies. Your company risks losing business and relevance if you are without a proposition that your customer values and is happy to pay for.
This is the second blog of our article series on B2B e-commerce. Click here for the next article.
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