COVID has taught us to be prepared for the unexpected. B2B eCommerce software is no exception, as are many other sectors of life. Following the commencement of the pandemic, tendencies have arisen that differ from those predicted for 2019.
What is the future of B2B eCommerce? What are the most critical business trends, in your opinion? Keep reading to learn more.
Scaling with Existing Clients
Acquiring new clients is becoming more popular. As laudable as that objective may be, we seldom see it among the firms we engage with (primarily manufacturers running on SAP ERP).
Contrary to common opinion, we are witnessing the exact reverse. Companies are opting for a step-by-step strategy, beginning with existing clients. Launching a B2B eCommerce site to a captive audience of committed clients may be a quick win, demonstrating the promise of B2B eCommerce to internal stakeholders. After launching their current B2B eCommerce operation, businesses may increase their market share by using a scalable solution (one with built-in ERP integration).
Embracing the Right B2B eCommerce Strategy
Is Amazon good or bad for B2B companies? Well, it’s a cross between the two.
When it comes to B2B eCommerce, Amazon is a game-changer. However, it makes little difference to the company, which merchant receives the transaction for a specific web search. In general, Amazon’s goals do not coincide with those of any retailer. If a different product sells better, their algorithm will recommend it.
What does this all mean for B2B companies?
This implies you’ll need to plan out your B2B eCommerce approach. Amazon or a privately held B2B eCommerce store — or both — might be cited. The answer will differ depending on how commoditized your commodities are and how much B2B eCommerce data you wish to collect.
Connect the Dots with B2B Proof-of-Concept
To begin with current clients and work your way up, you’ll need a system that can provide them with real-time ERP data and logic. You won’t be able to conduct business with present clients if you don’t have B2B eCommerce features like tailored pricing or real-time inventory and credit status updates.
This eliminates the unconnected B2B eCommerce proof of concept right away. Immediately.
Deep ERP integration with a B2B eCommerce platform is difficult for many firms. Because of this complexity, organizations are increasingly addressing ERP integration as a serious matter from the beginning.
Client portals that can handle B2B eCommerce and are “rapid winners” are in high demand.
This was occurring before the pandemic, but COVID exacerbated it.
Many organizations, particularly those in the manufacturing industry, are apprehensive of massive B2B eCommerce platforms. A company may want to have an eye-catching catalog with all of the latest marketing tools, but going from zero to sixty will be difficult without high-quality product content or the ability to predict how their complex business procedures will translate to B2B eCommerce.
Manufacturers will have the cost savings (and political capital) to pursue B2B eCommerce if a portal works. Choosing a portal system that allows for both ERP connectivity and simple scaling up to full B2B eCommerce capability is critical.
Improving B2B eCommerce Efficiency
In general, the key factors listed promote B2B eCommerce adoption:
- A higher level of customer service is necessary.
- The need to increase income
- The need to reduce expenses and improve efficiency
In the corporate world, these incentives commonly coexist. A growing number of organizations, notably manufacturers, are seeking ways to increase productivity by placing and enquiring about orders through phone, fax, or email. (Using B2B eCommerce to replace such procedures, by the way, enhances the customer experience while simultaneously increasing efficiency.) For the time being, we must shift our attention elsewhere!
Although the global economy has begun to recover from the effects of COVID, business-to-business (B2B) life remains somewhat different. B2B firms are more pressured than ever before due to decreasing labor availability and unusually long order fulfillment lead times. Any cost or time reduction in the OTC (order-to-cash) cycle is an advantage, and B2B eCommerce is driving this.
Innovations That Enhance the Customer Experience
In complex B2B circumstances, chatbots aren’t as helpful without human assistance.
Although B2B eCommerce is a growing trend, businesses are reconsidering the usefulness of chatbots. AI-driven chatbots are a terrific complement to B2C eCommerce when clients have basic inquiries (and answers). Autonomous chatbots may not give clients the information they seek when ERP data and logic drive B2B settings.
As long as you have a natural person (or team) monitoring chatbot inquiries, you’re good to go. While automated replies might be beneficial, there is no assurance that the chatbot guides your consumer in the proper route (or answering with enough customer-specific intelligence to drive revenue).
Precise inventory levels are required in B2B eCommerce due to the lack of real-time ERP data. This requires real-time integration in ERP-dependent enterprises. Hence ERP integration is required.
Manufacturers place a high value on this feature. Manufacturers have realized that consumers would not use B2B eCommerce until they are assured they have claimed inventory when they make an order.
Thus, clients are never sure whether their items will be delivered on time.
Customers’ Growing Need for RDD Transparency (requested delivery dates)
The number of people that use B2B eCommerce is growing. Knowing whether or not something is available for immediate purchase isn’t enough. Customers are likewise interested in learning when their order will be delivered.
Shipping time isn’t the only deciding issue for companies whose whole operation is managed by ERP. Every stage in the supply chain has an impact on the delivery time of the order. Certain firms are feeling the effects of the ongoing COVID interruptions considerably more intense than they were before.
As a result, RDD (requested delivery date) logic is used in many ERP systems. Several factors determine when an order is fulfilled, such as whether the commodity is in stock and how quickly the supply chain can meet a demand that exceeds existing inventory levels.
To summarize, this is a handy calculation, and having it available in B2B eCommerce enhances the consumer experience significantly.
You won’t be able to apply RDD rules to B2B eCommerce if they aren’t already part of your ERP system. Furthermore, customers will be forced to contact customer support if RDD in B2B eCommerce is inaccessible to customers. When done in large quantities, this transforms a hands-free transaction (seamless order placing via B2B eCommerce) into a costly interaction (phone call, conversation, ERP check, callback, and order placement via phone or email, which requires another human intervention to rekey the order into the ERP).
B2B eCommerce Has Never Been More Robust
As a result of COVID, B2B eCommerce has grown commonplace across a wide range of businesses. Customers today anticipate more from B2B eCommerce than ever before, thanks to the new normal of skyrocketing digitization. Hence, online sellers must comprehend these new trends to chart a course for their company’s future.