Tag Archive for: digital commerce

Imagine a B2B salesman without a phone. It would be like a doctor without a stethoscope or an artist without a paintbrush.

The telephone has played such a significant part in B2B sales that it has nearly become synonymous with the whole industry. Prospecting, qualifying, nurturing, and, on occasion, pitching and closing are all done using it.

However, evidence shows that its time in the spotlight may be coming to an end. According to McKinsey research, 77 percent of B2B decision-makers prefer videoconferencing over talking on the phone with vendors.

It’s perhaps a bit early to be permanently disconnecting your phone line, however, with 53 percent of marketers reporting greater ROI from inbound engagement (vs. just 16% for outbound), sales teams are spending more time talking to warm leads and less time talking to cold prospects.

SEO isn’t a choice

Consider this statistic: “Organic online search clicks outweigh sponsored web search clicks by roughly 12 to 1” When someone searches the web and discovers some of your material as a consequence of that search, you get organic web search clicks (on the first page normally). This isn’t a sponsored search. They haven’t found an ad you’ve purchased for that phrase. This indicates that, on average, more visitors (12 to 1) are discovering connections to existing material on a company’s website.

Buyers Stats

Below are some interesting buyer statistics that you should be aware of, especially as we transition into the digital space more and more.

Marketing Stats

By 2025, the market for customer experience management is predicted to increase, reaching $14.9 billion. B2B clients want the same high-quality experience as B2C customers, and businesses can’t deny it.

Brands must use consumer data, AI, and machine learning to completely customize B2B purchasing experiences. Many B2Bs may find that their employee experience is an excellent place to start when creating a distinctive experience. Many workers today work from home, and providing them with an online experience would empower and inspire them to give better customer service.

Most B2B companies would agree that marketing is critical to their success and that a strong marketing effort, much like in B2C, may help bring their brand in front of more people. Help to convert those individuals into leads. And, as a result, more sales. However, since a quarter of B2B companies spend just 5 percent of their overall expenditure on marketing, the belief is not inline with the budget and despite the fact that marketing generates a steady supply of leads, just 8% of respondents claimed they dedicated more than 15% of their resources to it.

Nearly half of B2B companies stated they want to increase their content expenditure in the next year. Only 4 percent of respondents want to cut down on their expenditures. Which only goes to demonstrate that in the B2B industry, content marketing still has a high potential ROI.

B2B marketers spend 50 percent of their time developing content to raise brand recognition and interest (Content Marketing Institute.) It’s tempting to believe that B2B content should be dull and formal. However, the fact is that B2B purchasers are still people. Reading material from a brand, like reading information from any other person, may help decision-makers get to know, like, and trust you better. Knowing what content to deliver and when is the key to getting in front of those key decision makers.

Being able to map out a customer’s full eCommerce journey to anticipate every step of the way is imperative in order to achieve bottom-line outcomes. Learn more about Friend of Commerce’s marketing suite and how we can help you see results quickly. 

Ready to get started? Tell us a little bit about your company, the challenges you are looking to solve, and we’ll be in touch right away. Follow our blog and subscribe to our communications for more tips and trends on digital transformation and B2B commerce.

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Traditionally, B2B purchases included a complex sales process involving several contributors and decision-makers. This frequently convoluted process involved study, assessment, and stakeholder involvement, followed by more research, evaluation, and stakeholder engagement before reaching any final judgments.

While some B2B journeys are still this complex, the system is evolving. During the pandemic, face-to-face meetings and in-person activities were halted, therefore these channels for decision-making were closed. Many of us—even buyers—now have less time than ever before in the frenzied, chaotic world that has arisen over the last few years. This means that the previously time-consuming B2B purchase journey has been simplified.

Buyers must still go through basic processes in the purchasing experience, such as defining a business need, researching solutions, evaluating possibilities, and finally making a decision. The difference today is that purchasers are conducting more online research on their own than in the past, and this research cycle looks to be getting faster and more effective.

This is a drastic change from not even ten years ago.

When you needed a printer for your office, for example, you’d look through the circulars, phone a few places, maybe ask about the best costs, and then place your order. More than likely, you’d have a long-standing relationship with an “office supply guy” who would drop by on a regular basis to see if you needed paper or supplies. Now? You don’t need “a guy,” you just need the web! And what is the web full of? Office copier ratings! You can find the best copier in a matter of minutes, see who has the greatest advertised pricing, then make a phone call when you’re prepared to buy.

McKinsey revealed in an October 2020 study that 70 to 80 percent of B2B decision-makers favored digital or remote contacts over face-to-face meetings. The top three reasons were safety, cost savings on travel, and simplicity of scheduling. From locating new suppliers to ordering goods and services, digital interactions were favored at every point of the purchase cycle.

What Do Buyers Want From B2B Online Purchasing Channels?

  • Optimized transactions

Companies now realize that simply having a website is no longer sufficient. To meet buyers’ demands and expectations, and to reduce their reliance on offline purchasing channels, e-commerce platforms must offer more than simple buy-and-sell operations.

As a result, many B2B organizations are entering what can be called the second stage of e-commerce maturity, in which improved online customer experience is the new priority. Not to mention that B2B buyers are also consumers accustomed to smooth B2C purchasing experiences. An enhanced user experience is now required for B2B online purchasing.

  • A simpler buyer’s journey

In accordance with the consumerization trend, B2B buyers anticipate a better overall online purchasing journey. Many B2B purchasers have mentioned that their most recent transaction was tough. The intricacy of the buying process itself is a major cause for this, with B2B buying groups often consisting of 6 to 10 decision-makers, each of whom gathers information irrespective of the others.

With so many components, technology is the greatest approach to simplify the B2B buying experience. Sellers make the research period considerably easier for buyers by delivering the relevant information at the right moment.

Customer data platforms, customer relationship management systems, and creative management tools, as well as technology that unifies your marketing, sales, and experience teams, enabling team cooperation across numerous products, campaigns, and markets. These tools aid in the delivery of information and data, allowing vendors to provide customized, relevant information to purchasers at the correct time. 

  • Online sales platforms as information sources

Buyers want to be able to obtain information such as shipping and return information, payment terms, price, and invoicing online. Naturally, it’s no surprise that individuals nowadays prefer to get their info online. However, consider the impact that an online information portal could have on your organization even before making a purchasing choice. 

Your online sales channel can also be used as a framework to host other critical sources of information that purchasers use throughout the information search stage of the purchasing process. Customer feedback, marketing content, and case studies are examples of this.

What Are The Advantages?

  • Cost savings

Even in its most basic and fundamental form, e-commerce tackles the cost-savings issue by removing the time and resources required to take and manually add offline sales orders. Cost reductions can be gained even further with ERP-integrated e-commerce due to decreased time and effort necessary to monitor and synchronize online store data.

  • Efficiency of transactions

If the main obstacles throughout the B2B purchasing process are data availability and order mistakes, ERP integration is the obvious solution. You can leverage Dynamics to pull real-time ERP data (such as inventory and product data) into your web store to keep your audience fully updated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This detailed product data can also help to reduce order mistakes caused by improper products, inventory, or account record keeping.

  • Customer satisfaction

When it comes to online purchases, there will always be a margin for error, and it is likely that you will not be able to supply all of the information that every single buyer may require online. This is why, in addition to addressing existing e-commerce difficulties to the best of your ability, it’s critical to work on an effective cross-channel strategy. By doing so, you can not only reduce the number of clients forced offline as a result of technical issues but also create a streamlined experience for those customers who choose to switch between online and offline channels.

Let’s Recap

Demonstrating that you can satisfy your buyers’ needs at various stages of ecommerce offers you a competitive advantage and increases your chances of getting chosen as a supplier in the first place. Furthermore, launching an e-commerce channel can assist your organization. By providing what your clients require online, you will reduce the pressure on your sales and support employees. This provides them more time to concentrate their efforts on expanding your customer base, target markets, and, ultimately, revenue. 

Investing in an e-commerce platform is a win-win situation for both your company and your customers. Fortunately, you can work with experts like Friends of Commerce to ensure your digital transformation gets you there. 

Ready to get started? Tell us a little bit about your company, the challenges you are looking to solve, and we’ll be in touch right away, and follow our blog for more tips and trends on digital transformation and B2B commerce.

Consider being a mom-and-pop shop in America in the early 1980s. At the other end of town, a massive mall has unexpectedly opened up. Forty-plus years later, we’ve all seen how the majority of these stories ended. With the emergence of Walmart, Costco, and Target, the tradition of local, family-owned businesses began to dwindle swiftly. Why are we discussing this now? Because the e-commerce platform is to our generation what malls were in the 1980s.

As your average B2B buyer becomes more technologically sophisticated, the need to transition your company to a more effective, efficient, and scalable e-commerce offering cannot be overstated. Homegrown methods that have worked for some organizations are adequate up to a point, but because the name of the game these days is scaling, oftentimes these homegrown systems simply lack the capabilities to maintain consistent expansion cost-effectively. 

Those companies still sitting on the sidelines of digital commerce because they believe their market is more traditional and that their buyers aren’t interested in executing some part of their engagement online, are placing themselves behind competitors and losing out on cost-savings and revenue growth. This is truly impacting their bottom line

Landscape and Trends in B2B Commerce

Scaling up is more than just a math problem. It also entails using new technologies and solutions that will allow your digital commerce company to maintain its ground and hold its own in a sea of competition, ongoing innovation, and technological disruption. These current changes in the B2B commerce scene will help you understand why now is the time to adapt.

Raised Expectations for More Personalized Online Experiences

This is a trend driven by both B2B buyers and the evolving technology that underpins digital commerce. Because businesses frequently have repeat consumers, having predictive algorithms allows a company to build unique purchase patterns for each buyer. This adds another element of satisfaction to the customer’s experience and encourages them to make repeat and periodic purchases.

The Path of Least Resistance

While there are other advantages to investing in B2B  e-commerce, these three stand out owing to their relevance for a wide range of B2B setups rather than specific firms.

  1. Reduce costs across all channels

Significant cost savings can be realized by replacing manual operations that require staff’s time and also introduce the possibility of producing errors. This is true for all channels, including phone, email, 3rd party marketplaces, DTC, and even face-to-face interactions. Having the correct technology foundation that can enable efficiencies across your channels is paramount to managing costs, effort, and risks. 

Today’s modern eCommerce platforms can assist firms in replacing manual operations without investing heavily in customization and maintenance. This is especially true for platforms that are designed to serve B2B sellers right out of the box, allowing firms to get up and running quickly. More orders can be captured through the digital channel, resulting in less reliance on homegrown or legacy systems, which are not only costly to maintain, but have the added burden of security and privacy risks.

  1. Create easy-to-use purchasing experiences to improve customer satisfaction

Because the majority of B2B buyers are corporate representatives who are frequently repeat clients, the time required to conduct these transactions should ideally be low. The emphasis should be on providing efficient experiences for busy buyers, allowing them to find what they need online without having to call a sales or service representative.

E-commerce platforms, with the capacity to give customized navigation and precise product information, aid in the creation of a smooth path for B2B buyers. They can also help to reduce the time it takes to identify the proper product by using straightforward catalog browsing and simplifying repeat orders with reorder buttons and saved order lists.

Assisting consumers in discovering products and answering queries on their own time will result in a degree of customer satisfaction that will set your company apart from the competitors. The laggards that don’t embrace the efficiencies of technology and force clients to be reliant on middlemen and sales pitches will see their slice of the market shrink.

  1. Make your customer adoption strategy even better

Another significant advantage of e-commerce systems is the ability to track and optimize customer uptake. With the ability to see how buyers use and engage with the site, insights may be used to tailor the site to their specific needs.

Buying behavior data is very important. The good news is analytics may be tracked down to the individual level, and route analytics can be used to visualize their user journeys through the site. Furthermore, buying trends can be examined throughout different times of day to acquire a better understanding of their purchasing habits.

High customer adoption rates contribute to a higher margin and a higher return on investment (ROI) on marketing initiatives. 

How Do You Ensure the Success of Your E-Commerce Business?

Businesses who are considering Investing in B2B e-commerce, whether for the first time or to improve the performance of their channel,  should be aware of these helpful hints.

  • Implement a cross platform strategy

Because individuals are more tech-savvy these days, there is a high probability that potential prospects and clients will be engaging with your company on more devices than just their desktop. They may look for things they need on their phones or other portable devices, and then complete the order later from their workstation. This is why a company should implement a cross-channel e-commerce strategy to ensure that its content and catalog are available to potential customers across numerous devices and that experience is consistent.

  • Be up front on costs & offer flexibility 

Being upfront and transparent about the overall cost at all stages of the purchasing process is important. Typically in B2B, different clients are assigned different “price books” (discounts) based on purchase volume. With B2B, people could be buying things that are difficult to ship (think heavy industrial parts) or take time to assemble ahead of time (shipping time). So giving the client the flexibility to select the shipping method that saves them the most can be very important.

Why Are E-Commerce Platforms So Important Right Now?

In today’s B2B environment, your company’s customer-facing platforms must effectively hold the attention of potential buyers while meeting their expectations for world-class customer care and customized purchasing experiences. Custom configuring and quoting is also a very valuable B2B eComm component. Investing in an e-commerce platform that can manage all of these criteria is critical for businesses looking to scale and become future-ready. Fortunately, you can work with experts like Friends of Commerce to ensure your digital transformation makes an impact on your business. 

Ready to get started? Tell us a little bit about your company, the challenges you are looking to solve, and we’ll be in touch right away, and follow our blog for more tips and trends on digital transformation and B2B commerce.