B2B and Consumerization are here… and you’ll want to be prepared.
B2B and consumerization are becoming more and more intertwined. The B2B ecommerce sector has nearly hit the $1 Trillion mark.
B2B buyers will begin to experience purchasing and ordering in a B2C-like manner as they continue to transition their product discovery and buying behaviors to online and mobile.
Everything involved in the B2B process from print catalogs to sales calls is being replaced by a digital-first discovery process and are becoming much more buyer-centric. This is, in turn, simplifying the ordering process and converging B2B and consumerization.
How B2B Buying is Changing
Today’s B2B marketers need to think more like B2C marketers and it’s because they are marketing to an audience that is starting to behave more and more like a customer audience. The process of B2B buying doesn’t look like it did 10 or even 5 years ago and it’s a trend that has been happening for some time.
Thanks to 10ecommercetrends, this table explains some need-to-know facts for the B2B owner:
The US B2B e-commerce market could reach $1.1T and account for 12.1% of all B2B sales by 2020, and over $6 Trillion worldwide.
eCommerce platform vendors (Magento, Insite, Sitecore, Oracle, Hybris, more) are rolling out B2C-like functionalities that co-exist with complex B2B business rules (partial orders, volume pricing, etc.)
Of course we were going to talk about Amazon. With online stores becoming more and more ubiquitous, industry giants like Amazon are now actively shifting the expectation that users have during their online buying experience. This also includes the buying experience of B2B sellers and buyers.
Since Amazon has become the “Google of shopping” in several B2B environments, they are blurring the lines between B2B and B2C.
- In October 2017, Amazon launched Business Prime shipping — a paid annual membership program for businesses in the US and Germany.
- Amazon business has amassed over 1 million “Amazon Supply” subscribers in 5 years.
- Amazon Business, the marketplace where Amazon combines more than 30,000 sellers (and itself), had $1 Billion in sales in its first year and is growing 20% every month.
“50% of B2B buyers find personalization a determining factor for the suppliers they want to work with.”
This statistic makes it clear that customer empowerment is the first driver that impacts the activities of the ecommerce B2B, specifically with customer engagement.
B2B and consumerization are underway. This means that B2B companies must start regularly monitoring the shift of customer expectations and behavior and design consumer-like digital interactions accordingly.
B2B Personalized Marketing
Now that we’ve established the progression of the B2B sector, let’s discuss how their marketing efforts are also adapting to that of B2C.
The most crucial part to understanding personalized marketing is that it makes the buying experience more enjoyable for customers/buyers. It aims to change the way your customers experience shopping and it, therefore, changes the way they purchase.
There are stark differences between marketing to businesses and marketing to consumers, even though the goal and end result is selling to a person. We are seeing B2B ecommerce marketing techniques flirting with those of the B2C.
B2B purchases are based more so on logic and B2C purchases are more based on emotions. This is why personalized marketing has always been very successful for B2C and not always for B2B.
The problem is that B2B purchases are often large in quantity and sold to a high-level decision maker who have specific obligations and priorities (much unlike a regular consumer, whose purchases are very personal).
So, do B2B sellers need to adapt to more personalized marketing like B2C sellers? The answer is YES.
Studies show that “business buyers’ expectations for personalization and excellent support – regardless of channel, device, or stage in the journey – are rapidly evolving, influenced by their experiences as consumers.”
For instance, more than half of buyers said they would like suppliers to offer personalized recommendations across interactions.
B2B Buyers Embrace Digital
B2B buyers are adopting more online channels than ever: 70% of B2B revenues now come from customers using digital channels.
Knowing this, it is important for B2B to offer personalized recommendations across interactions to help their buyers reach buying decisions. Marketers must build a relationship before the sales process even begins. We are living in a world that offers a multitude of options, so personalization has become a standard of B2B marketing.
The Buyer Is In Control
In some ways, not much has changed. At the end of the day, marketing at its core is a function that exists to understand and influence the buying habits of the target market.
The shift that the B2B world is experiencing is that those buying habits do change over time and we are currently in the middle of a huge disruption. If you are in the B2B sector as a seller, you need to begin asking questions.
Am I paying attention to my customer and selling the way my buyers want to buy? Or the way I’m used to selling? Am I adapting to the rise of B2B and consumerization? Or am I stuck in the past?
Your answer may have a huge impact on your success as a B2B seller.
As an ecommerce, whether you are B2B or B2C, it is important to stay on top of industry trends, statistics and how to equip yourself in order to stay ahead of your competition.