For manufacturers, understanding the trends and defining a path to follow are critical. The coming years will bring more Agile and digital B2B eCommerce. Millennials want to buy fast and receive their products promptly. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) will also be prominent.
B2B enterprises are looking to expand their online presence, but what are the following significant trends? Here are a few that will significantly impact the industry in 2022. First, consumers are more open to online exploration. As a result, the Metaverse is influencing people’s purchase behaviors. Additionally, 75% of B2B buyers prefer to buy through digital channels. Therefore, digitization within B2Bs will be a top B2B eCommerce trend in 2022.
Second, B2B buyers are turning to marketplaces for inspiration and information. According to a recent BE Shaping the Future report, a third-party marketplace is used by 20% of US and UK buyers. Businesses can attract new customers and boost their sales through this channel. In addition, it’s a great way to test new products and reach global markets.
Third, companies are using marketplaces to reduce costs. A company can offer a wide variety of products from a single provider in a specific category, and the buyers can choose based on their needs. Some marketplaces even offer quantity discounts and multiple payment options.
Another B2B e-commerce trend that is making waves in the industry is omnichannel sales growth. Omnichannel sales will provide a seamless shopping experience across digital channels, brick-and-mortar stores, and mobile devices. Almost 94% of B2B industry players said that these new omnichannel sales models effectively drive sales.
Providing personalized experiences is a big deal for B2B buyers. This is one of the top B2B eCommerce trends for 2022. Incorporating product information management tools will streamline the buying process by collecting and distributing information across multiple channels.
The rise of small and medium enterprises is expected to drive this demand. The number of SME entrepreneurs is growing significantly across India, Russia, and South Africa. In addition, government programs such as Make in India and Start-up India are increasing the number of start-ups in the country. These trends will fuel the B2B e-commerce market over the next few years.
Supply-chain disruption will continue to be a significant issue. Clogged supply chains can affect the bottom line for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. This trend will force B2B companies to prioritize the end-to-end visibility of their supply network. They will also prioritize the ability to manage their suppliers and their shipments. They will also seek out multiple fulfillment partners and collaborate with freight forwarders. In addition, on-demand warehousing will be very attractive to businesses that require short-term warehouse space.
Millennials expect fast shipping options.
Fast shipping is a top priority for millennials when purchasing products and services. They don’t want to waste time waiting for their purchase, so B2B companies must offer fast shipping options. Today’s millennials expect fast shipping and same-day delivery.
Millennials are the largest group in the B2B market. While baby boomers and Generation X are still the majority, millennials now constitute more than 30% of the audience. Millennials value digital marketing over traditional marketing methods. Over 70 percent of millennial employees are involved in buying decisions.
As a result, retailers must keep their websites and e-commerce solutions easy to navigate. A great user experience will ensure that buyers will spend more money. Also, B2B e-commerce selling solutions must be easy to communicate with customers. This includes scheduling virtual meetings and showing off products in a virtual environment.
Importance of customer data
Throughout the past few years, B2B eCommerce has experienced unprecedented growth. Companies have been forced to adapt to new technologies, shift sales processes online, and utilize agile methodologies to keep up with the industry. Customer data management and analytics are crucial to a B2B organization’s strategy.
In the past, B2B buyers would visit trade shows to interact face-to-face with suppliers. This made it easier to discuss quality and pricing. But, with the introduction of B2B eCommerce, the buyer’s experience has shifted significantly. Despite the changing landscape, quality and price remain equally important for buyers. Moreover, the importance of transparency will continue to grow for B2B eCommerce businesses.
Customer data plays a vital role in customer experience. Today, customers expect personalized experiences, and businesses that do not understand what their customers are looking for are at a severe disadvantage. By collecting and analyzing customer data, B2B businesses can make buying as fast and convenient as possible. Personalization enables companies to understand customers’ preferences and tailor products to meet those needs.
Another significant B2B eCommerce trend in 2022 is flexible payment options. Businesses must offer their customers flexibility in how they choose to pay. By allowing customers to make payments through various channels, B2B businesses can make better decisions and predict customer behavior.
Self-service portals are an increasing trend for B2B eCommerce. They allow customers to browse products, compare options, and even place orders. In addition, these portals can also provide sales reps with the information they need to recommend products. Customers will appreciate this convenience. It will also help companies increase their revenue by increasing their conversion rate and customer satisfaction.
In addition to the growing importance of customer data in B2B e-commerce, the ever-increasing hybrid work movement is a significant challenge for companies. In an office-based environment, employees are all present, but data may be inconsistent or missing altogether in a home-based setting. In such cases, companies will need to adjust their tracking strategies. They will also need to find new ways to gather data about their website visitors.
Impact of artificial intelligence (AI)
AI is a powerful tool for predicting customer behavior and preferences. It can make suggestions based on purchase history, contextual information, and third-party data. AI is transforming the world of e-commerce. Using this technology, online retailers can target frequent rice buyers with personalized offers. They can also recommend supplementary products to accompany the rice. One example of an AI-enabled digital assistant is the Google Duplex tool. This tool can create grocery lists and place online shopping orders.
AI also has the potential to improve customer service. Analyzing data and identifying patterns can help businesses improve marketing processes and sales. A report from Business Insider estimates that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human. AI-based chatbots are becoming one of the hottest trends in marketing today. According to Forbes, chatbots can increase sales by up to 67%.
AI requires extensive data management. However, it can improve customer experience, increase conversion rates, and streamline business processes. Companies must invest in the correct data and ensure it is up to date. Moreover, they must create a culture encouraging data management and literacy.
AI-enabled chatbots also have a significant impact on customer service. These intelligent agents can help customers find products quickly and provide 24/7 customer service. Additionally, chatbots can collect valuable data about consumer behavior and increase conversion rates. One example of such a chatbot is Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa.
While the technology is still in its early stages, it is already influencing various aspects of B2B eCommerce. Its adoption by businesses will boost revenue and reduce costs, according to an industry report published by McKinsey & Company. In addition, AI enables hyper-automation of warehouse operations, which will help eCommerce companies manage their inventory.