The landscape of B2B is changing. Accelerated by COVID-19, buyers are showing a shift in how they prefer to purchase from vendors and in turn defining a change in strategies for these companies. The message is clear- still omnichannel, but more online. With online, customers are looking for increased personalization, more convenience, a renewed focus on service, and shopping on marketplaces.
Is your business ready for a world where online is the main channel and your buyers are digitally minded? Keep reading for insight into trends we are seeing with B2B buyers that can help create a clear strategy forward.
B2B Marketplaces are quickly going mainstream as a sales channel.
Sales on B2B Marketplaces shot up 131% in 2021. They are projected to grow at a similar pace, up to $130 billion in 2022.
Marketplace growth is undoubtedly attributed to the ease and convenience which they offer to buyers. Done correctly, marketplaces provide a very functional environment, when speed is of the essence. In particular, buyers can find answers on products that they might not be able to anywhere else. Product detail pages with enhanced text and visuals can improve the experience and answer questions before buyers even turn to reviews.
By combining online shopping, assortment, competitive prices, efficient delivery, and an improved experience in a single platform, it retains buyers' attention and even increases loyalty to that marketplace. Although eCommerce sites have significantly improved, marketplaces offer an unbeatable experience, optimizing everything from search to delivery of multiple vendors in one place.
Our team at Echidna increasingly has B2B companies ask about the possibilities of creating their own marketplace. Done correctly, offering ease and convenience for customers, the marketplace is an excellent option. Building a marketplace enables companies to extend product ranges, expand into new markets, and innovate with must less risk. Companies can also improve product availability by working with multiple sellers to strengthen their fulfillment options with less investing.
With that being said, marketplaces do operate quite differently from traditional eCommerce business models and require expertise to successfully launch, manage and harness their true potential. Contact the team at Echidna to learn more.
The B2B buyer is increasingly intolerant of a poor experience. They know as consumers that digital experiences can offer lightning-fast delivery, easy returns, and availability- they are coming to expect the same in their B2B buying roles. Focusing on being service-led and making sure your buyer expectations are being met when it comes to the online shopping experience truly brings a competitive edge and increases loyalty.
Listen as our client, Construction Specialties talks about Echidna's approach to UX/UI design.
Personalization is a key area to focus on for those B2B players not looking to enter the marketplace arena. Buyers are craving these experiences and companies can set themselves apart by getting this right. For B2B correct categorization of accounts, roles within each account, and geographic location is important. By correctly segmenting, you can make sure the right content, offers, and experience is brought forth.
While B2C provides clear roles between the seller and buyer engaged in those transactions, B2B is a smorgasbord of roles interacting in behaviors, tasks, collaboration, purchasing, tracking, receiving, shipping, and so many other known interactions that are uniquely configured for the business they’ve operated for sometimes decades.
B2B also has the most potential for creating personalized and convenient experiences for customers. Unlike consumers, business relationships often have an established service model that provides expanding services based on the knowledge already shared between their partnership with and services to the businesses they serve.
Paradoxically, another excellent way for non-marketplaces to set themselves apart is by taking an omnichannel approach. B2B buyers, much like the consumers they become after work hours, are increasingly looking across social media, YouTube, and a range of other channels. If you spread your strategy across as many of these as possible with relevant and engaging content, you maximize your chances of buyer engagement and improved loyalty.
Following the pandemic, companies need to review their customer experience across every touch point, ensuring they remove frictions and maximize opportunities. B2B buyers are craving seamlessly integrated experiences across physical and digital.
Echidna has deep expertise in working with companies to create a modern commerce foundation. With deep market knowledge, Echidna offers companies a variety of services to help optimize digital strategy, identify new growth opportunities, and improve conversion rates. Contact us to discuss your next phase of growth and innovation.