There’s no sugarcoating it:
The B2B landscape has reached a critical moment in time, in which digital presence and accessibility isn’t just suggested - it’s necessary.
Case in point, B2B e-commerce sales are projected to eclipse their B2C counterpart (reaching sales of over $6.7 trillion) as early as 2020. Additionally, nearly 70% of B2B companies are aiming to eliminate the use of physical catalogs, opting to go fully-digital in the coming years.
Oddly enough, however, CMOs of B2B companies say that e-commerce sales typically only account for about 10% of overall sales.
There’s a significant lesson to take away from all this:
If your B2B company begins focusing heavily on digital commerce, you stand a pretty good chance of quickly getting ahead of your competition.
That is, of course, if you shift your focus strategically.
The following article will detail three strategies and mindset shifts you’ll need to make in order to ramp up your B2B eCommerce initiatives, and why it’s essential to make these changes.
Let’s get started.
Go All-In With Your Digital Commerce Strategy
Though it manifests itself in a number of ways, the most prominent issue B2B companies face when “going digital” is that they fail to embrace it completely.
Let’s make one thing clear:
Digital commerce is not a fad. It’s the new way of things.
That being said, you simply cannot leave your e-commerce initiatives as an afterthought. You can’t approach it half-heartedly and still expect to see massive results.
We’ve talked before about how you can ensure successful implementation of a B2B
- Setting measurable and attainable goals
- Investing the necessary time, money, and resources into the project
- Maintaining your commitment to digital commerce for the long haul
Though each of these points is important, it’s worth focusing a bit more on the last one.
Many companies believe e-commerce is all about a “set it and forget it” mindset - as if it will merely run itself once you get it started. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reality is (as it is with all other marketing and sales campaigns), implementing an e-commerce business model takes time, and you shouldn’t expect to begin seeing results overnight.
But remember: If you start now, you’ll be ahead of a good amount of your competitors - and you will start seeing results before they do.
Provide a Multi-Channel Experience
Recall what we mentioned earlier, about the fact that many B2B companies are essentially doing away with physical catalogs.
At first, this seems like a no-brainer. I mean, we live in a digital world, and magazines (and etc.) are dying, right?
Without getting into the actual stats behind all this, it’s fair to say that this is all a bit shortsighted. Is eliminating an entire marketing channel really a good idea? Probably not.
On the contrary, consumers want a multi-channel experience now more than ever.
The thing with this is, it’s not necessarily about a preferred channel, either. It’s more about which channel is convenient for the consumer at a given moment in time.
In order to ensure a streamlined customer experience, you need to ensure they’re able to receive the same information about your products or services, regardless of whether they access this info via computer, mobile device, physical catalog, or face-to-face interaction with your team.
On your end of things, you also need to ensure that the data your customers submit to you remain up to date throughout each of these platforms, as well.
By making this happen, you streamline the processes on both your customer’s and your company’s sides. In turn, you’ll inherently generate more revenue while using up fewer resources in the process.
Use Digital Data to Further Streamline Processes
“Going digital” doesn’t just mean providing a digital experience to your customers.
It also means embracing how technology can help your organization streamline its in-house processes, as well.
Going digital inherently makes it easier to track your customers’ actions and engagements with your company in a number of ways:
You can quickly collect valuable information about your customers, such as their demographic and geographic data. You can then track how specific personas engage with your brand (e.g., which pages they visit on your site, what products they’re interested in, etc.). Once you understand this, you can begin creating content that these specific customers will find interesting and intriguing.
Additionally, you can easily keep track of information regarding your sales pipeline. This helps you learn what, precisely, gets leads to turn into prospects, and prospects to turn into customers. It also showcases what doesn’t work, in turn allowing you to focus on improving certain interactions along the customer journey.
Going along with what we talked about in the previous section, it’s not merely about reaching your potential customers where they are - it’s about doing so with the right offer, at the right time. Embracing technology and the digital commerce revolution makes this much easier than it had been in the past.
We’ve said it many times throughout this article, but it bears repeating:
Digital commerce is changing the face of the B2B landscape on both the consumer’s and provider’s side of things - and it’s doing so for the better.
While it may be intimidating to dive full-heartedly into the e-commerce world, especially as a B2B company, it doesn't need to be. For more B2B eCommerce insight, see Apruve's wide selection of valuable resources that can help you get on board with the digital revolution with ease.
Have a success story regarding your experience with digital commerce? Let us know in the comments section below!