B2B Digital Transformation: Top Features of B2B E-Commerce and Its Customers
The digital marketplace has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Increased migration of enterprises to e-commerce platforms, deeper internet penetration and ease of use are just some of the reasons for this market growth. In B2B E-commerce, businesses are able to reduce their costs and improve productivity by automating the trading process on the back of a digital marketplace and offering always-on customer service.
While this changeover from traditional to digital has altered the B2B marketplace, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process making industry transactions “more data-driven, and less dependent on traditional one-to-one sales activity”, according to the DHL Express whitepaper, “The Ultimate B2B E-commerce Growth: Tradition Is Out. Digital Is In.”
With these market disruptions in mind, customer expectation and buying behaviour are putting further pressure on B2B e-commerce companies to adapt and optimise their digital marketplaces. It is hence imperative to understand who the new customers are, and what they are looking for.
B2B’s new buyers – Millennials
2020 brought with it great challenges. That pushed the B2B supply chains to grow more flexible with digitally-focused ways of doing business. Therefore, if B2B businesses want to make cross-border profits, they need to quickly adapt to the changing buying behaviours of their customers.
With the Millennials dominating the B2B landscape today, they expect the buying experience on B2B platforms to be comparable with B2C platforms, such as a self-check-out online shopping experience. This is primarily because millennial buyers prefer to not engage with a salesperson and rather rely on digital reviews and desk research to carry out their purchasing decisions. Moreover, being digital natives and technology-savvy, they prefer to carry out these transactions on their mobile phones with a single-click checkout. This shift to the online shopping experience is driving B2B companies to focus on new digital solutions to be customer compliant.
Keeping that in mind, DHL’s whitepaper outlines some major features that will boost the customer journey on the B2B e-commerce platform.
B2B E-commerce Features “Must-haves”
DHL Express’s in-house team of researchers has conducted in-depth research and distilled the top five B2B e-commerce features which modern companies need in order to be successful.
1. Creating a strong digital infrastructure
Incorporating AI chatbots and machine learning is a must-have on the e-commerce platform in order to streamline complex B2B processes. For instance, online shoppers prefer to interact with companies that provide them with comprehensive details about the product, queries or existing account-related issues. Further, online buyers also prefer browsing through their order history or tracking order delivery in real-time. All this is possible through a sound digital infrastructure that will help B2B companies to exploit new business opportunities, and acquire low-volume product sales or difficult-to-reach customers across the globe.
2. Building a customer-centric website
Building strong customer relationships is the key to success for any e-commerce business. Therefore, you need to make sure that your website has a simple, yet comprehensive, on-site search engine that will enable customers to view and find products in the most efficient way possible.
Invest in solid UI/UX. It will help users navigate easily and find detailed information about items, such as the features, video tutorials, mega menus and competitor comparisons of various products. Smart programmatic features will also help both users and platform, keep a track of customer buying habits so that companies can predict what, when and whom to market their products to. This will also help you maintain an accurate inventory of products, thus improving the conversion levels.
3. Developing customised marketing strategy
Today’s customers expect personalised buying solutions that match their choices and preferences. So, if B2B e-commerce companies want to increase their profits, they’ll have to throw fresh and customised product recommendations to each of their new buyers based on data-driven assessments of their search behaviour on the platform. These product recommendations will help B2B companies display the right items to the buyers and earn additional income for their business.
4. Integrating an omni-channel sales approach
In order to deliver a streamlined customer experience, B2B e-commerce companies have to build a strong omni-channel strategy. This multi-channel sales approach can be done by focusing on providing a seamlessly integrated customer experience. So, whether the customer is shopping online from a smartphone or desktop, or by a telephone or from a brick-and-mortar store, the entire experience should be synced.
An easier way to do this is by understanding who the buyer is. Since 73% of Millennials now account for most of the B2B buying decisions, they look for convenient and simplified access to online product catalogues. They search for products on their smartphones, send quotation requests on the e-commerce portal and then reach out to a sales representative to negotiate the prices.
5. Partnering with trustworthy third-party logistics
Integrating with reliable third-party logistics can be immensely beneficial for B2B companies to maintain sufficient supply chain and on-time delivery of goods. DHL Express delivery takes pride in being the best when it comes to speed, convenience and traceability of a shipment.
With our Express courier services, you don’t have to worry about your cross-border e-commerce orders. Our in-house team of international experts are proficient in handling international shipments, thus increasing the competitiveness of a B2B e-commerce company. Additionally, we also have the expertise in managing and clearing your shipments from Customs authorities along with providing a real-time order tracking feature.
Willing to learn a little more about the features of B2B E-commerce?