Do You Understand the Digital Pressures Changing the B2B Market?
The volume of B2B e-commerce in the U.S. is predicted to be a staggering $1.2 trillion by 2021. This enormous growth is the ongoing product of many disruptive forces acting on the current marketplace, including rapid technological adoption, changing customer behavior, and increasing competition. Manufacturers are facing more pressure than ever to open digital commerce channels as a strategy for driving sustained growth. But how exactly do you establish those channels? Who are they built for? What are the best practices?
Manufacturing leaders’ first response might be to mimic what’s been built in the B2C space. B2B will likely be twice as big as B2C by 2022. However, while many of the same principles apply, the landscape is different, with unique challenges and opportunities. Businesses and individual consumers purchase for radically different reasons and therefore make purchase decisions in completely different ways. Successful B2B businesses are less about appealing to consumer emotion (the “heart”), and instead focusing more on providing as much useful information as possible (the “head”) to help buyers make better business decisions and increase ROI. And of course, comprehensive customer service is crucial, including a robust mobile experience.
Just as important is knowing who your buyers are and how to speak to them. Today, around half of all B2B researchers are millennials. As 18-34-year olds, they expect the managed journey and consistent online experience that they have grown up with. In this rapidly evolving marketplace, it is crucial to learn from industry leaders who are pioneering new strategies.
Establishing a successful e-commerce program requires careful planning. As you proceed, ask yourself:
- What is your strategy for driving sustained growth through digital commerce?
- How are you building out your platform to accommodate the increasing use of mobile devices in the purchase process?
- How are you catering to the millennial researcher audience?
- What’s your plan for securing internal buy-in?
The landscape is rapidly changing, and B2B marketers are in an exciting position to create a whole new digital world. Stay curious, keep learning, and always take advantage of partners that can guide you in best practices!
Opinions expressed by contributing authors are their own.