B2B means 'business-to-business', and is also known as e-biz. It is e-commerce, or the exchange of products, services or information, between businesses. Since B2C (business-to-customer) has grown so rapidly that many customers around the world with busy schedules now do a large chunk of their shopping online, and even order their groceries online, it is not a surprise that the traditional B2B sector is ripe for disruption.
Evolving buyers’ expectations are pushing the need to develop B2C-like functionalities for B2B, and when push comes to shove, companies should wise up and move with the times. Of course, as with all changes and upgrades to the way things have been done for the last few decades, there will be teething problems, but this is a necessary part of progress.
Furthermore, the growth of the digital-savvy millennial workforce, mobile ubiquity and continual improvements in eCommerce technology is accelerating the process. The B2B sector is set for change.
To remain current, B2B companies must prioritise the development of easy-to-use buying experiences with real-time response. In addition, they must also incorporate intuitive options for repeat orders, and online accounts that allow customers to view their order history and status. Last but not least, all these functionalities must be integrated into a seamless system capable of responding to demands in real time. All these functionalities must be available across the spectrum of devices and buying platforms.
Evolving an Omnichannel Approach for Seamless Integration
An integrated approach to systems development will yield a seamless omnichannel – a multichannel approach to sales that will be able to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience. This seamless experience will be uniform regardless of whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop, laptop or mobile device, through the phone or in a physical store.
The goal is to create a system that enables a business to connect its many data points to deliver an omnichannel and personalised experience in its B2B dealings.
The first step is to implement a software platform that allows data to flow seamlessly across the supply chain, including commerce, customer relationship management, and manufacturing. This seamless connectivity will allow businesses to cross-sell and upsell, augmented by an improved understanding of their buyers’ requirements and needs.
First published in GEM Magazine, Issue 15 in April 2018