Even after COVID-19, most revenue is generated offline and relies on people, but the paradigm has clearly shifted to e-commerce. Digital transformation to meet customer expectations has accelerated across all B2B industries.
Offering net prices and availability online are a no-brainer for B2B companies. But the expected time of delivery, tailored products, and sequenced project deliveries are challenges typically handled by people. And while management and the finance department will see the benefits of e-commerce, people on the floor may doubt its efficiency and even fear for their jobs. The organization needs to grow along its digital ambitions.
Set your house in order
The primary challenge to getting B2B e-commerce right is to run an easy-to-use commerce site that supports complex business workflows and offers a personalized experience, payment and delivery options and quick checkout. All the traditionally offline processes that flow through the organization between departments and into the customer’s departments need to become digital. Only when the product, logistics and financial processes are digitized, can the order by telephone or fax be switched to online order. To offer the B2B e-commerce experience that B2B buyers expect, B2B companies need to set their houses in order. The four key challenges lie internally.
1. Laying and maintaining the data foundation
In the digital age, data is key. Qualitative data enables e-commerce and allows you to understand the B2B buyer better. The starting point for your B2B e-commerce success is considering the way you manage your data for products and customers. Read more about the data challenge in Blog 5 of this series.
2. Offering a personalized omnichannel experience
B2B buyers expect a personalized brand experience across all channels. B2B organizations need to put the customer first in their processes to accomplish this. All your channels need to exchange data in real-time to keep the customer conversation going and relevant to customer needs. Read more about the experience challenge in Blog 6 of this series.