B2B trends, much like their B2C counterparts, are not static. They evolve. And this evolution is a direct consequence of technological advancements and the shifting habits of buyers. For businesses, understanding these shifts isn’t just beneficial – it’s imperative. This article sheds light on the top five B2B eCommerce trends shaping the future of business transactions. Embracing them will lead to growth and up-to-date competitiveness for your company.
Today’s B2B buyers are more connected than ever, transitioning between multiple channels during their purchasing journey. Recent data reveals a significant shift: customers used an average of 5 channels in 2016, which increased to 7.5 in 2019 and further surged to 10 today. For instance, a buyer might start their journey with a Google search, move to a company’s website, engage on social media, and finally make a purchase through a mobile app.
While B2B has challenges of its own, there’s much to learn from the B2C sector. B2C retailers have long understood the importance of expanding touchpoints. A consumer might see a TV ad, research the product online, read reviews on a third-party site, and then buy the product in-store or via an app. Each touchpoint reinforces the brand and nudges the consumer closer to the purchase. Similarly, in B2B, widening touchpoints can enhance brand recall, trust, and sales.
Here are the ultimate advantages of the omnichannel experience:
- Consistency. Customers get a uniform experience, whether browsing a website, navigating a mobile app, or engaging on social media.
- Enhanced data collection. Multiple touchpoints mean more data, which can be harnessed to refine marketing strategies and improve customer experiences.
- Engagement boost. Offering various channels caters to different customer preferences, ensuring different audiences engage with your business in a way that suits them best.
- Higher conversion rates. A seamless omnichannel experience efficiently guides customers through the sales funnel, allowing them to jump from a website to an app and back without disrupting the purchasing process.
These benefits should provide reasons enough for businesses to embrace an omnichannel approach. They must adapt operations to account for the sprawling, interconnected purchasing journeys of modern B2B customers.
How can B2B retailers design an effective omnichannel experience? Here are some pointers:
- Understand your customer’s journey. Map out the typical journey of your customer. Which channels do they frequent? At what stages do they seek information, and where do they buy goods?
- Maintain brand consistency. Ensure consistent branding, whether it’s your website or social media outlet. This doesn’t mean identical content but a unified brand voice and message.
- Integrate systems. Your CRM, sales platforms, and marketing tools should be cross-integrated. This ensures customer interactions on one platform are reflected across others, allowing personalized engagements.
- Learn and adapt. Regularly gather data on customer interactions across channels. Use this data to refine your strategies.
The omnichannel approach is deemed a full-on future of B2B commerce. Integrated experiences give businesses expansive tools and opportunities to hit the individual spot for each customer out there.
This is why you should certainly prioritize adapting your business to the omnichannel era. Discover how Elogic can guide your B2B strategy, integrating seamless experiences across all touchpoints.
The scale of mobile commerce is staggering. In 2022, mobile devices accounted for nearly 59% of web traffic, and with 85% of US adults owning a smartphone, the potential for mCommerce is astoundingly vast. As one of the dominant B2B eCommerce trends for 2023, mobile shopping cannot be overlooked.
Core Web Vitals & UI/UX in eCommerce
Google’s introduction of Core Web Vitals has emphasized the importance of user experience in the digital landscape. These metrics help gauge the quality of user experience on web pages. In the context of mCommerce, such insights are paramount. The more user-friendly the page, the better the Core Web Vital score, enhancing the likelihood of that page ranking higher in search results. A slow-loading product page or a layout that shifts unexpectedly can deter potential customers, leading to lost sales.
Furthermore, the best UI/UX practices are no longer just about aesthetics. They guide the user from product discovery to checkout. A well-designed mobile interface, intuitive navigation, and clear call-to-action buttons enhance the overall shopping experience.
The rise of mobile payments
With advanced mobile payments, gone are the days of fumbling for credit cards or manually entering payment details. With platforms like Apple Pay and Google Pay, transactions are now just a fingerprint or face scan away. It streamlines the checkout process and adds security, as biometric data is hard to replicate.
Moreover, the importance of mobile payments goes beyond convenience. In regions where traditional banking infrastructure may be lacking, mobile payments offer an accessible solution, enabling a broader audience to participate in the digital economy.
Social commerce, traditionally a stronghold for B2C enterprises, is among the top B2B eCommerce trends. For B2B enterprises, the social shift offers numerous opportunities. A significant 46% of B2B buyers turn to social media at the onset of their purchasing journey. This trend underscores the role of social platforms in influencing research, reviews, and peer recommendations.
On top of that, these platforms provide a unique space for B2B businesses to engage with a diverse audience, from decision-makers to influencers and end-users. It’s a more interactive and informal environment, allowing for genuine connections. Businesses can consistently share content, testimonials, and product information to enhance their brand visibility and establish trust.
Different social media platforms offer varied tools tailored to enhance the shopping experience:
- TikTok. Businesses can leverage the app’s ‘Shop Now’ buttons and livestream shopping features to showcase products in real-time.
- Facebook. With the platform’s ‘Shop’ tab, businesses can display products directly on their social pages. Advanced targeted advertising can be a boon for reaching specific industry professionals.
- Instagram. The ability to tag products in posts and stories, coupled with the ‘Checkout on Instagram’ feature, offers a seamless buying process for all Insta users.
Take a look at BulkBookstore, an online retailer of bulk book orders. They’ve effectively utilized Facebook Shop, making their products accessible to their vast follower base. With just a click on the “view on website” button, followers are directed to the product page on their main site. Grade.us, an online review management platform, runs LinkedIn ads that prompt users to sign up. Unlike the conventional “Learn More” ads, these direct CTAs have shown promise in increasing free trial starts and reducing acquisition costs.
As purchasing behaviors shift, and digital platforms become central to the buying process, B2B companies must adapt. By integrating social commerce strategies, they can meet buyers right there and then, offering an efficient real-time purchasing journey.
You should totally harness the power of social commerce for your B2B enterprise. Let Elogic help you navigate and optimize your presence on platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, ensuring you connect with your audience in the most authentic ways.
Voice commerce is next in line among major B2B eCommerce platform trends. It enables one to make online purchases using voice commands rather than traditional methods like typing or clicking. This is facilitated by virtual assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. These bots can understand and process user commands, making online shopping a hands-free experience.
Here are the advantages of voice commerce:
- Convenience. Voice commerce epitomizes ease. Whether cooking, driving or simply relaxing, you can place orders without lifting a finger.
- Enhanced customer experience. Subscription platforms that support voice commerce, like Amazon Prime, simplify the ordering process and offer features like order tracking, exclusive discounts, and easy cancellations.
- Personalized shopping. Voice assistants can gather data from user interactions, helping create tailored product suggestions and a more personalized shopping experience.
While voice commerce could potentially revolutionize the shopping experience, it does pose certain challenges. One of the main concerns is privacy. With voice assistants recording and storing all interactions, there may be risks relating to data leaks or misuse.
Furthermore, product discovery options are somewhat limited with voice commerce. Unlike browsing a website or physical store, users cannot visually compare different products. The decision-making process relies heavily on accurate voice assistant responses.
However, as per Google, voice commands account for 20% of all searches. As technology evolves and trust barriers are overcome, voice commerce will likely become a staple in both B2C and B2B sectors.
For B2B brands, sustainable commerce represents a commitment to a future where business operations harmonize with environmental and social responsibilities. But what does this commitment signify for a B2B brand, and what are the tangible benefits of sustainable branding in the B2B realm?
Sustainable commerce is a mirror reflecting a brand’s core values and ethos. When a B2B brand adopts sustainable practices, it sends a clear message to its stakeholders: the brand prioritizes long-term planetary health over short-term gains. This commitment showcases a brand’s foresight, responsibility, and dedication to playing a part in global solutions rather than contributing to problems.
The tangible benefits of sustainable branding for B2B include:
- Enhanced brand reputation. Companies prefer to align with B2B brands with a positive environmental and social impact. Sustainable branding can significantly enhance a brand’s reputation, making it a preferred choice for eco-conscious businesses.
- Economic efficiency. Contrary to the misconception that sustainable practices are costly, they often lead to long-term savings. For instance, adopting energy-efficient systems or reducing waste can lead to major cost cuts over time.
- Innovation and growth. Sustainable branding often necessitates innovation. By seeking sustainable solutions, B2B brands can discover new business models, products, or services that cater to a growing market of eco-conscious businesses.
- Employee satisfaction and retention. Today’s workforce, especially the younger generation, prefers to work for companies that align with their values. Sustainable branding can attract and retain talent passionate about making a difference.
Sustainable commerce is yet another beacon of global commerce’s future. For B2B brands, it’s not just about adopting green practices but about integrating sustainability into the very fabric of their brand identity. It’s about recognizing the interconnectedness of our global ecosystem and making conscious decisions that benefit the brand and the world.
Looking for professional assistance on your path toward all-around sustainability? Contact Elogic to discuss your plan and acquire a trusty tech partner to lead you all the way through.
Are there specific industries within B2B that are leading the adoption of these trends?
Tech, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing sectors are at the forefront of adopting all the above-described trends in B2B eCommerce. Their complex supply chains, global reach, and the need for timely information exchange make them prime candidates for digital transformation.
How do B2B eCommerce trends compare to B2C trends?
While B2B and B2C trends share similarities, such as the rise of mobile commerce and voice-activated shopping, their application varies. B2B purchases usually involve more stakeholders, longer sales cycles, and higher transaction values. Thus, while the tools and platforms might be similar, the strategies and implementations differ to cater to the unique needs of B2B buyers.
How can businesses ensure data security with the increasing number of digital touchpoints?
With the proliferation of digital channels, data security becomes paramount. Businesses should invest in robust cybersecurity measures, conduct regular security audits, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
How can smaller B2B businesses with limited resources stay competitive?
Smaller businesses can focus on niche markets, offer hyper-personalized services, and leverage partnerships. By adopting a few B2B eCommerce growth trends that resonate most with their target audience, they can provide value and differentiate themselves. Collaborative tools, open-source software, and cloud-based solutions can also help them stay agile without crippling investments.