To gain a clearer picture of the transformations at hand as we enter 2020, we can look at the numbers – according to Forrester Report, B2B eCommerce Sales will soar over twice the sales of B2C by end of 2020, with over $1.3 trillion profit in the US alone. With over 63% of B2B buyers researching their purchases online before committing to a deal, it is essential to understand your B2B buyers are your B2C buyers as well, and the same sort of appeal and utility found in a B2C solution will be required to captivate and delight a B2B buyer. As a result, entering the new decade, a B2B business without an effective ecommerce solution is only going to lose traffic to peer competitors. BORN presents its thoughts on two major trends, – modern personalization and headless commerce, that should be considered in any B2B solution.
An information-rich digital trail is left behind after a buyer visits a website. B2C sites have used remarketing technology for years with great success, and buyers are going to expect B2B sellers to start using similar methods of retargeting and personalization.
In BORN’s experience, one of the best ways for B2B brands to maximize their use of personalization is to require account creation before checkout. This ensures that a buyer’s information such as order history, billing information, and pages visited are always logged. As a result, B2B retailers are able to more easily personalize relevant content and implement preferred pricing to each customer.
Single sign-on is another powerful B2C tool that BORN regularly advises its B2B clients to adopt. The ability to order more products without having to go through a sign-in or checkout process has the same effective utility in B2B as B2C. These email follow-ups offer the user suggested similar products for purchase via a simple click connected directly to their account. This system not only aids B2B brands in selling more products, but also reminds clients of deliveries in their area and enables them to secure products from the best warehouses as needed.
In the past, features like required account creation and single sign-on have required overhauls of both the frontend and backend of a store’s ecommerce solution. This proposition helps explain why headless commerce has become such an attractive option for both B2B and B2C retail – the headless approach allows the presentation layer,or “front end” of the ecommerce site to be separated from the commerce logic, or “back end”. By decoupling these layers, brands can make continuous updates without disrupting day-to-day business needs. While headless commerce has surged as a staple in the B2C world, its flexibility and utility makes a compelling case for its use in B2B as well.
Some of BORN’s clients have benefitted from the headless approach as they had to integrate a rich, engagement-focused content experience with a conversion-focused expansion of their ecommerce presence. Existing data sources, such as ERP and CRM, can successfully integrate with a flexible ecommerce platform in order to add rich utilities like elastic search, social commerce, shipping, payment, unique B2B portals, loyalty programs, customer groups, and even CMS. As a result, clients with little or even no ecommerce offering can benefit from a digital transformation that enhances their existing systems.
All in all, the B2C space has seen deep disruption in the direction of better customer experience, and now, B2B businesses must be ready to revise their strategies in the same direction.
Much of this change is rooted in a changing of the guard; within the next decade, millions of B2B buyers will be retiring and replaced by younger prospects whose online purchasing expectations have been set by CX-focused consumer sites. Meeting the expectations of a millennial buyer while also having an interface that is intuitive enough for B2B buyers who may not have as much online purchasing is an intersection where design matters.
Because of the above, these robust digital experiences, a long staple of B2C commerce, are now finding a home in B2B markets. As mentioned earlier, buyers across verticals are expecting and value greater self-service in their buying experience. By building out a rich content library that thoroughly demonstrates the use case of their products, B2B businesses will find themselves at an advantage among younger B2B buyers. Building out this experience should include considerations for mobile as well as desktop. Efforts that fail to capture modern conveniences will fail to capture modern buyers.