The economy is seldom static—a myriad of factors affect its performance on any given day. For businesses, navigating such a dynamic landscape can be great during economic peaks. But it gets challenging when the economy has taken a downturn. During such times, B2B digital commerce can expect reduced spending, increased price sensitivity, and an overall decline in the demand for goods and services. How will you successfully maneuver your business around these obstacles?
The key to striving during economic declines is to keep consumers convinced that your business is where they’ll find the most value. You do this in two ways: provide an excellent B2B customer experience and optimize your website. These are the essential steps to boosting customer retention, increasing your return on investment (ROI), and gaining an edge over your competitors.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to excel in digital commerce—even during the most trying times.
Analyzing the Economic Landscape: How an Economic Decline Impacts Digital Commerce
Digital commerce isn’t insulated from economic declines. In fact, in 2022, experts forecast that eCommerce revenue would shrink year-over-year. This was largely due to eased quarantine regulations following the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers once highly reliant on digital commerce slowly returned to other forms of commerce.
When an economic decline strikes, you can expect a few things. First, reduced demand, increased costs, and disrupted supply chains will inevitably lead to decreased revenue. Grocery prices go up, but fewer people can afford them, so grocery revenue decreases.
Economic downturns can also trigger what’s known as a “cash flow crunch,” where your outgoing expenses exceed your incoming revenue. This isn’t a good position to be in, as it means your business isn’t generating a profit.
These are great challenges, but they’re not insurmountable. One of the biggest favors you can do for your business is to plan ahead. You may not know when the next economic downturn will hit, but you can be certain it’ll happen at some point. Start preparing now.
Embracing Agile Strategies To Navigate Shifting B2B Market Dynamics
There’s no way around an economic decline. So, if you want to come out the other end still thriving, you must adjust to the increased competition and be willing to educe costs and accommodate consumers in new ways. This means embracing agile strategies to navigate the market dynamics.
Agile businesses are customer-centric. You should always be in tune with the needs of your customers. If their needs change, your business should adapt accordingly.
Innovation is also an important part of being agile. During recessions and economic downturns, many businesses struggle due to a lack of innovation. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas, especially if you’ve got the data to support your decisions.
To facilitate creativity, don’t let too many isolated silos develop. Instead, allow the different parts of your business to collaborate. These interactions encourage ideas to be shared, leading to innovation. When implementing changes, pay careful attention to your key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine whether you’re moving in the right direction.
The Digital Commerce Technology Race: Who Will Win?
More businesses than ever are turning to eCommerce, but don’t take this as a sign that everyone is happy. According to a Digital Commerce 360 survey, 27% of eCommerce companies were looking to switch eCommerce platforms in September and October of 2022. What’s behind this change?
Some businesses have moved to headless eCommerce. This method involves separating the front-end of your online store from the back-end. The biggest benefit is that user-facing elements can be easily edited or updated without interfering with the complicated back-end components.
Other companies want to utilize composable IT architecture. This platform features reusable components, allowing developers to build applications quicker and easier.
These changing market dynamics affect legacy digital commerce providers such as ATG, Hybris, and Magneto. If they want to have an enduring influence, they’ll have to adapt to these changing preferences and find ways to fulfill the shifting needs of their clients.
Enhancing Customer Touchpoints: Creating Memorable Experiences Across Digital Channels
During economic downtimes, your customer experience becomes more important than ever. Buyers have their belts tightened, and they want to ensure they’re getting the most value for their hard-earned money. You can convince consumers that your business is still the best choice by providing a smooth customer journey.
Ensure that there’s no friction at any of your touchpoints—the points of contact between consumers and your business. According to one recent survey, 87% of online shoppers said they’d abandon a cart if the checkout process is too long or complicated. What’s more, 55% would abandon their cart and never return to that site again.
Your goal is to have a seamless purchasing process. Remove any obstacles and have as many auto-fill forms as possible. It’s also smart to send customers reminders if they leave items in their shopping cart.
Going the extra mile by offering a personalized experience will also make consumers feel valued. Digital commerce retailers can achieve this by remembering a client’s preferences when they visit your online store. Or show them personalized product recommendations.
Leveraging Data Analytics: Utilizing Insights to Drive Informed Decision-Making digital commerce, this includes providing live chat support so your clients can easily get assistance. For instance, maintain active digital channels to keep lines of ctommunication open between your business and the public. Use social media to share latest news with customers and answer their questions.
Leveraging Data Analytics: Utilizing Insights To Drive Informed Decision-Making
Economically challenging times put great pressure on your business’s budget. It becomes much harder to take risks and make errors. A costly mistake can quickly become a business-destroying problem when funds are low.
To survive the economic storm, you need to make the right moves. Digital commerce makes gathering the data you need to make informed decisions relatively easy.
You can learn a lot about how customers interact with your online store through eCommerce analytics. For instance, track the entire customer journey to see what happens at each point, from when clients discover your business until they purchase. Watch the trends—they’ll show you which aspects of your digital commerce work and which don’t.
The eCommerce metrics you pay attention to will depend on the nature of your business and what you intend to achieve. However, few performance indicators tend to be universally useful. Take your shopping cart abandonment rate—if it’s high, there’s a friction point somewhere in the customer journey.
Your customer retention rates are also important. It’s much costlier to gain new customers than it is to retain old ones. Make sure you provide an experience that makes clients want to return. Other useful metrics include your bounce rate (how many consumers leave after only browsing one page), customer acquisition cost, and customer lifetime value.
Emphasizing Value and Differentiation Strategies to Highlight USPs
As previously mentioned, economic downturns lead to greater competition. So, it becomes more important than ever to make your brand stand out and prove to customers that they’ll get the most value from your business. Emphasize your unique selling proposition (USP) and ensure the public knows what sets you apart.
What’s unique about your business? Now’s the time to highlight it. This could include stellar customer support, unique pricing options, exclusive rights to products, and personalized shopping experiences.
There are a few businesses that have managed to emphasize their USP very well. Consider, for example, the many investing platforms out there. Robinhood stands out by appealing to the everyman and allowing customers to start investing with as little as $1. Or sometimes, your USP is your brand’s quality. This is the approach Death Wish Coffee takes, claiming to be the world’s strongest coffee.
Want to effectively advertise your USP? Here are a few more examples of businesses you can learn from:
- Nerd Fitness: Offers health and weight-loss guidance to a demographic that’s often neglected.
- Bee’s Wrap: Stands out from the crowd by making food wrap made from organic cotton and beeswax.
- Patch: Makes gardening and keeping plants in your home easily accessible.
Don’t Let Economic Challenges Get Your Digital Commerce Down
When the economy isn’t doing well, it’s easy to adopt a defeatist mindset. Instead, see it as an opportunity to grow and discover new ways to appeal to customers. This requires your business to be agile enough to adapt to changing digital commerce market trends.
Gather customer data analytics to uncover what customers want. This information will guide your decisions in the right direction. In addition, continue to stress your business’s unique selling point. That’s the key to remaining competitive during trying economic times.
Of course, you also need an online storefront that will catch the public’s attention and give you easy access to important analytics. Zobrist has extensive experience creating enterprise-level eCommerce storefronts and mobile commerce applications. We’ve also managed services for clients seeking $100 million+ in online revenue. Our eCommerce solutions include headless eCommerce, integrated analytics, and powerful cloud hosting options.
Let us take care of your B2B eCommerce. We’ll connect you to your target market, provide seamless payment methods, and give you the tools you need to manage inventory and track data analytics. Contact us today!