- Next-generation of buyers and sellers
- B2B eCommerce set to grow
- What is the Metaverse?
- The role of B2B companies in the Metaverse
- Improved customer experience
- Leveraging AI for better personalization
- Improved omnichannel response
- Unified Commerce
- Implementing Omnichannel selling
- Adapting to growth in B2B marketplace selling
- Why B2B buyers consider online marketplaces
- Reasons for creating a mobile App
- What is cost optimization and how does it work?
- Why do B2B companies need a website?
- How to implement an effective visual merchandising strategy
- User-generated content
The past two years changed the way we did, well, everything. From work to school to play, we adapted it all to the digital realm. The way we conduct business was no exception. Before 2020, offices reserved remote work for indisposed bosses, long vacations, or the rare employee whose specialties outweighed their distance. But, for B2B companies, salespeople always operated out of the office. That’s because the best ones had the power to present, persuade, and close the deal in person. Granted, B2B eCommerce trends, of course, focused on investing in emerging technologies amid the gradual shift to online sales. However, the majority of transactions remained in-person, as many assumed it was what both buyers and sellers wanted.
Then pockets of COVID-19 outbreaks reared their ugly heads. Soon, a global pandemic shut down entire countries. As people became confined to their homes with no foreseeable end in sight, companies had to redirect their resources to move operations online. B2B firms followed suit.
B2B eCommerce Went Digital, Big Time
A year into the pandemic, eCommerce overtook in-person business interactions as the dominant form of dealmaking. In its “Busting the 5 Biggest B2B eCommerce Myths” report, McKinsey said that, as of 2022, 65% of B2B companies now offer complete eCommerce capabilities. After all, pandemic-induced health and safety restrictions pushed many industries to accelerate their digital transformation. Apart from in-person, telephone, and email sales, more companies spanning more industries provide an eCommerce option than ever before.
Two years into the pandemic, most will assume that, as governments lift safety protocols, more businesses will eagerly return to practices of the past. However, the McKinsey report revealed that both buyers and sellers actually still opt to transact via eCommerce—even when in-person sales options are available. Now, over 66% of corporate customers intentionally choose a digital or remote in-person engagement throughout all stages of the sales journey.
Regardless of why—whether that be fears of COVID or pure love for convenience—the truth of the matter is that eCommerce sales exploded in 2021. In fact, online sales on B2B eCommerce sites hit a jaw-dropping $1.63 trillion in 2021. Yeah, that is trillion with a ‘t’. This is 17.8% higher than the 2020s $1.39 trillion sales. Even more astonishingly, 2021 saw B2B eCommerce grow 1.17x faster than total US manufacturing and distributor sales.
B2B Ecommerce Trends Driven by New Generation of Buyers and Sellers
Leading the transition into eCommerce is the next generation of corporate buyers and sellers: Millennials. Also known as Generation Y, they now represent over half of the world’s population. As consumers, Gen Y holds the keys to the world’s doors. They are the largest spending generation on the planet right now.
Age and career-wise, a great majority of Millennials are now holding key positions in middle and upper-middle management. As purchasers, Millennials now have the numbers and authority to influence buying decisions. Recent research from Snap/Heinz Marketing shows that 13% of Millennials now make purchasing decisions for the companies they work for. Another 27% influence those who do. Furthermore, 17% are project managers, while 38% belong to purchase research teams.
With this much buyer power, Millennials can afford to change some of the rules. Among these new rules are a distaste for having to interact with salespeople during the early stages of the buying process. A whopping 86% of Millennials will deliberately avoid any form of sales interaction until they’re good and ready to make the purchase. This is mostly because, unlike GenXers and Boomers who prefer a team-oriented solution, Millennials prefer looking for solutions to problems themselves. This explains the increasing acceptance of and preference for eCommerce over other sales channels.
B2B Ecommerce Is Set to Grow
The continued shift to eCommerce among B2B companies is inevitable. More and more Gen Y workers are replacing aging Boomers and GenXers in management positions. As a result, today’s sellers now apply a more methodical approach in their buying decisions. They prefer performing research on their own. Buyers will also delay engaging with the sales representatives until the last possible minute. However, these changes won’t deter the market’s growth. Facts & Factors estimate that the global B2B eCommerce market will grow from a $7.35 trillion industry into $18.57 trillion by 2026. An astonishing CAGR of 18.70% will propel that growth.
To capitalize on the growth opportunity of tomorrow, companies should look out for the hottest B2B eCommerce trends in the market today. Below are some of the emerging trends elevating B2B eCommerce in 2022.
Trend: Are You Ready for the Metaverse?
At this time, social media platforms can only offer users so many ways to interact—none of which have the power to closely mimic human behavior in real-time. This is why the folks over at Meta platforms—the parent company behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp—is keen on moving everybody to the Metaverse. Moreover, the Metaverse is not just one of the hottest B2B eCommerce trends, but a hot topic all over the wired world.
So, what is the Metaverse? For millennials and older generations who saw The Matrix, the critically acclaimed movie may give you an idea. The younger generations can probably piece it together with the help of a more recent film, like Ready Player One. At its core, the Metaverse intends to merge the physical and digital worlds. In this all-encompassing virtual realm, ordinary people represented by online avatars become limitless. The merging comes into play because these limitless avatars are controlled by human beings who are, of course, still very much subject to the human experience in real life.
In the metaverse, users can interact with one another, meet avatars of famous personalities, attend virtual events, and explore virtual worlds. It’s the ultimate escape… but also somehow in the very same breath, the ultimate connection. The catch is that you’ll need virtual reality goggles and controllers to navigate your way. Companies like Meta are feverishly developing a virtual universe to attract people as well as the accessories needed to access it from your couch. Though it currently stands as an unfinished project, the potential of it all is undeniable.
How Can Companies Benefit From Buying Into the Metaverse?
Though we don’t know exactly what the Metaverse will mean for us when it’s brought to fruition, many companies are already getting in on the action. Some enterprising companies have purchased virtual land on platforms like The Sandbox and Decentraland. Meanwhile, the popular gaming platforms Fortnite and Roblox also got an early jump on the Metaverse. Roblox’s recent virtual concert featuring Lil Nas X generated 33 million attendees, while Fortnite showcased rapper Travis Scott, attracting 12.3 million viewers.
Roblox also laid claim to one of the largest big-ticket items in the Metaverse so far: Nikeland. This crossover with the popular athletic apparel brand requires players to complete a series of activities within the platform. Completing challenges unlocks exclusive Nike-branded virtual items that a player’s avatar can wear.
This is where business comes in. Whether in the real world or the Metaverse, personalization remains a big desire. Nike and other retail companies will also offer virtual items for sale to customers who want their avatars to sport exclusive designs. The rarer the item, the more expensive it will be. Although transactions will require the platform’s virtual currency (for example, Roblox uses “Robux”), users will need real money to first buy virtual money.
In other words, once the masses troop to the Metaverse, marketers will be ready and waiting. They’ll have virtual stores open so people can buy virtual items for their avatars. Virtual landlords will be more than glad to host virtual events and turn a profit while doing so.
The Role of B2B Companies in the Metaverse
For B2B marketers, the Metaverse opens up a new world of business opportunities. Meetings can now take place in the Metaverse. Similar to pre-pandemic conferences, attendees can attend plenary events and take part in post-conference activities. Even better, these attendees will be doing it all from the comfort of their own homes, using VR and AR equipment.
Apart from software and equipment makers, other B2B companies can also offer connectivity assistance, remote assistance, training, and customer support. Given that millennial buyers perform extensive research on products they want to invest in, the Metaverse offers B2B marketers a fantastic opportunity to field-test products.
Trend: Focusing More on Improved Customer Experience
To reiterate, salespeople in suits talking potential buyers’ ears off over lavish lunches is a bygone era. And with more and more millennials running the show, it pays to revisit your existing eCommerce site to suit these generational changes.
According to research conducted by Gartner, B2B company buyers only use 17% of their buying time to meet with suppliers—and only 5% of that time is granted to each salesperson.
For B2B sellers, the information sought by buyers should be readily available to them. When they conduct their independent research, that critical information about your company’s products, services, and even values should immediately show up on the internet.
In addition, existing buyers usually replenish quantities or make slight modifications to institutional orders. Redesigning your eCommerce to be more utilitarian helps make this reorder process easier for users. Flashy websites with increased load times and unnecessary clutter will not only waste your customers’ time but also your resources.
B2B Buyers Embark on a Journey
Unlike previous generations of buyers who look at sales representatives as authority figures, the millennial buyer prefers personal research. This means they need the resources to complete the six-step buyer’s journey on their own. It is as follows.
- Problem identification. There is a problem that needs fixing.
- Solution search. Who can solve this problem?
- Listing requirements. What does the product need to be able to do?
- Supplier identification. Can the product/service legitimately achieve this goal?
- Validation. We’ll feel better with our final decision if we double-check it first.
- Concurrence. Everybody needs to sign off on the purchase decision before we call the supplier.
Helping buyers complete this journey helps create a positive customer experience. Remember that the modern buyer will greatly limit their interaction time with suppliers. They want the responsibility of informing themselves. Enable them to do so.
Trend: Leveraging AI for Better Personalization
Personalization was one of the biggest B2B eCommerce trends a while back. Despite a limited desire to interact with sellers, buyers still want personalized solutions. They still want assurance that sellers only offer solutions that are tailored to their particular problems.
To this day, personalization remains a big deal. What’s trending is the depth of personalization available to sellers thanks to improving technology. Over the years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have steadily improved in their abilities to deliver better analytics and insights. For B2B companies, this can be a godsend. Improved AI and machine learning give them a clearer, more detailed picture of what buyers want. By sifting through buyer behavior, they can extract meaningful insights that open up more hyper-personalization possibilities.
A recent MoEngage survey found out that buyers actually don’t mind receiving more frequent messages from sellers, as long as the messaging remains consistent. 27% of survey respondents reported getting frustrated with brands that send inconsistent messaging on different channels. Another 27% said they get annoyed after receiving irrelevant content or product messages.
AI and machine learning can lead the way for companies to get to the root of buyers’ sentiments. Through careful analysis of purchase behaviors and their interactions on your eCommerce site, sellers can create hyper-personalized messages to better respond to their unasked questions.
How Can AI Improve B2B Ecommerce Personalization?
The use of AI and machine learning in eCommerce can provide in-depth insights into your customers’ behaviors. They include the following applications:
Improved omnichannel responses. Automating communication channels to respond faster to customer concerns helps improve customer experience. AI and machine learning can improve the responses provided by chatbots and automatic replies.
Refined, deeper analytics. A deeper analysis of your customers’ low-level behavior, such as site browsing or buying behavior, can help create deeper personalization strategies. Instead of just determining what buyers what, insights can also determine the frequency and patterns of their purchases, their common customer service concerns, and other products or services they’re considering.
Automated tasks. AI and machine learning can help identify processes and tasks that buyers frequently perform when they’re in the process of purchasing or reordering items. By making it more convenient for buyers to buy or reorder, the chances of doing so dramatically increase.
Trend: Seeing Customers Drive the B2B Selling Strategy
The increased acceptance of B2B eCommerce channels is on an upward trajectory. Gartner’s 2022 B2B Digital Strategy report expects eCommerce to lead all transaction types used by B2B buyers by 2023. However, this means that companies must make sure that their eCommerce sites will be ready to accept this increased workload. In addition, buyers will likely increase their expectations for a smoother digital selling experience. This includes providing them with self-service and assisted options along each stage of the sales journey.
Gartner also foresees the eventual integration of the front and back ends of B2B companies to create a unified commerce experience. This unified approach provides unprecedented convenience to buyers, as they can approach from any channel and shift to another at any point. Any significant improvements in the customer experience will ultimately increase customer loyalty and revenue.
Unified commerce is the fusing of backend systems with customer-facing channels into a single platform. This allows customers to approach the seller through multiple channel options. Meanwhile, the seller enjoys a complete and unified view of the entire sales system. This allows managers to gather even more extensive data for deeper insights needed to make better strategic decisions.
The pandemic already tested the effectiveness of unified commerce. According to Adyen’s 2020 Retail report, 50% of unified commerce companies experienced more consistent transactions during the pandemic. Not to mention, customers spend 40% more online.
Trend: Implementing Omnichannel Selling
Many businesses initially thought that the omnichannel approach by B2B companies during the pandemic was a workaround. However, the results proved otherwise. Letting customers choose between traditional, remote personal transactions, and digital sales ensured that nobody got left out. As more buyers preferred either remote interaction or digital self-serve channels, these options became permanent additions to B2B companies’ offerings.
Omnichannel selling wasn’t just convenient for customers stuck at home during the pandemic. Gartner reported that customers wouldn’t mind spending money on a digital site. 20% of B2B buyers said they are willing to spend more than half a million dollars on a fully digital sales site. Another 11% would fork over a full $1 million if a business had that digital option. This realization effectively destroyed the conventional wisdom that big money orders require the personal touch of a salesperson.
While B2B buyers welcome the innovation of an omnichannel system, sellers still have expectations to fulfill. Buyers won’t hesitate to switch to another seller if the digital sales site does not perform as expected. Transactions should be seamless and easy to execute. In addition, the presence of a responsive customer service team to resolve technical issues is a must. Failure on the part of the B2B company to provide a less than satisfactory experience is enough for the buyer to abandon the process entirely. If that happens, it’s highly unlikely that an in-person intervention can bring them back.
Trend: Embracing the DTC Selling Model More
Many emerging B2B eCommerce trends were a result of workarounds designed to overcome the pandemic’s limitations. Among these trends is introducing the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) model. For those unfamiliar, DTC is an eCommerce model that removes the middleman from the equation. By taking the order directly and delivering it to the customer, the company doesn’t have to share the revenue with resellers or distributors like Amazon or Walmart.
During the pandemic, many major manufacturers pivoted to DTC to make their products cheaper (no middleman stocking fees to supplement) or to simply make more money. It also gave companies better control over the customer experience. As a result, they got to understand their market and their customers better. Some middlemen like Amazon even limit the customer information they share with manufacturers.
DTC Results in Companies Improving Their Margins
Since shipping directly to clients removes a few steps, it’s less expensive. At the same time, the absence of additional fees or markups from retailers allows you to sell items at lower prices without sacrificing your profit margins. Nike is a foremost example of a large company pivoting to a DTC model. Doing so increased the sports giant’s margins. What began as a 38% margin using wholesale distribution became a 62% margin using the DTC model. All in all, Nike stands to gain 3.3% in its overall margins if it continues to utilize DTC in 2022.
Even as the pandemic winds down, many companies will likely continue implementing the DTC model. eCommerce sales during the pandemic for DTC companies grew by a whopping 45.5% to top $111.54 billion in sales. This includes both online-only and major retail brands. By 2023, eMarketer expects DTC to continue growing and hit $174.98 billion by end of 2023.
Trend: Adapting to Growth in B2B Marketplace Selling
Even with the presence of many B2B online sellers, some buyers still drifted toward online marketplaces that cater mainly to the DTC model. The likes of Amazon and Alibaba creating a whole section for B2B buyers should also serve as a wake-up call for B2B companies to step their game up. In this case, Amazon’s Amazon Business and Alibaba’s AliExpress are now hunting for B2B buyers looking for better deals than the ones they have from B2B sellers.
Choosing between an established marketplace or a specialty B2B company often indicates the factors that the buyer wants more. Both come with pros and cons.
Why B2B Buyers Consider Online Marketplaces
Partnering with an online marketplace does carry certain benefits that traditional B2B companies can’t match. For one, marketplaces have the customers many B2B buyers also want. Getting a desired product or service at competitive rates while also having access to a list of potential clients is something worth considering.
At the same time, an Amazon Business, AliExpress, or DH Gate listing also means getting to see how your products fare against the competition. A simple search allows company executives to see how your offerings stack up versus others in terms of price, features, and availability. In some cases, the marketplace can generate a handy comparison guide while you’re secret shopping.
Finally, marketplaces carry some weight in terms of credibility and trustworthiness. Despite carrying hundreds of thousands or even millions of products, Amazon Business can step in and resolve issues when a supplier doesn’t hold up to its end of the bargain. Especially with niche products, B2B sellers will have trouble offering the same kind of guarantee.
Why B2B Sellers Remain the Better Option
In contrast, B2B sellers also have certain advantages over their larger competition. Firstly, buyers can expect better and more personalized service from standalone companies. In contrast, Amazon Business or AliExpress will merely assign you a ticket number if you have some concerns. The level of personalization often extends to its online tools, which are designed for clients like yourself. Search tools will often provide additional search options that are specific to their line of business. Meanwhile, online marketplaces will provide a one-size-fits-all service menu to members.
Other personalization options that just won’t be possible in marketplaces include enjoying special rates, discounts, and even white-label options. If personalization—or the lack of it—is a deal-breaker for passionate buyers, a marketplace is not the way to go.
Trend: Embracing B2B Mobile Commerce
Surprisingly, mobile versions of B2B sites remain among the popular B2B eCommerce trends. Considering that over half of all global internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, eCommerce sites should also offer a mobile option. In fact, the Boston Consulting Group estimated that more than 70% of search queries for B2B businesses originated from smartphones.
Companies can safely assume that customers will use smartphones at some point in their B2B dealings. Current estimates place the number of B2B businesses with mobile applications at 65%, and that number’s only going up. However, companies need to make a distinction between B2B sellers with a mobile app, those with mobile sites, and those with just plain websites. Having a mobile app gives companies a decided advantage. Quality mobile apps can speed up transactions by as much as 20%. At the same time, B2B mobile apps help generate higher engagement in the form of queries, traffic, and even lead generations.
Reasons for Creating a Mobile App
Surprisingly, many B2B companies create a mobile app for reasons other than sales transactions. According to Bugsnag’s The Rise of Mobile Apps 2020 report, the primary purpose for creating a B2B mobile app is to sustain customer loyalty (63%). Ensuring that buyers have a 24/7 channel to send questions or follow-up transactions is best served by the creation of a mobile app. Other major reasons include digital enrollment (54%), sales enablement (47%), employee productivity (46%), and brand awareness (46%).
Trend: Using B2B Ecommerce for Cost Optimization and Revenue Growth
Moving towards digital commerce provides a host of benefits for B2B companies. Foremost among these are improved cost optimization, order status reporting, revenue growth, customer experience, and digital transformation.
As more processes related to the purchase become automated, there will be a lesser need for manual input or multiple data entry points. This makes purchase information more accurate and less prone to errors. This also allows a smoother transition of orders from one department to another. Fewer mistakes and fewer interventions mean a more efficient and faster operation.
In addition, eCommerce AI can learn customer buying habits over time. This allows the system to flag anomalies (such as an extra ‘0’ or wrongly-placed decimal point) that normal checkers can’t recognize.
Order Status Reporting
By using automation, orders can be traced within the system for easier, faster, and more accurate client updating. Instead of customers having to make several phone calls or partake in the dreaded back and forth of email, they can simply log into the system and check on their order’s status.
Many B2B purchases come as either new or refill orders. In many cases, B2B buyers will periodically order the same products in the same quantity. By making the site easier to use and reorder, buyers can perform these tasks in a single sitting. A simplified system encourages regularly-scheduled orders and reorders. A shortened sales cycle ultimately helps increase revenue generated from repeat buyers.
What Is Cost Optimization and How Does It Work?
Optimizing costs for your B2B operation isn’t simply a matter of cutting costs. Instead, it’s looking for more efficient ways to add more value to what you spend. To do so, companies need to thoroughly review their processes to determine if there are redundant or inefficient areas.
In the case of B2B companies, cost optimization should entail the reduction or removal of inefficiencies in the entire buyer’s journey. By replacing tedious manual processes with automated tasks, transactions can proceed faster and more accurately. In addition, it’s easier to track purchases without the need for constant follow-ups.
Implementing a Cloud-Based System Is a Cost Optimization Move
The foremost example of companies implementing cost-optimization measures is the decision to migrate business processes to the cloud. Cloud systems mean all files and documents get stored in the cloud, so there’s no need to refer to paper forms or head to the office to copy files. Cloud systems provide instant file updates and provide users 24/7 access anywhere in the world. Depending on your database setup, updating information on one document will update it across the entire corporate system—all at the touch of a button.
A cloud-based system provides convenient access and ensures that documents are updated and consistent across departments. At the same time, it also ensures that clients can make purchases anytime and check any pending orders. This system also saves on costs in terms of office stationery supplies and clerical work. The costs of subscribing to a Software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and server storage are offset by the inevitable faster sales cycles and increased revenue.
Trend: Marketing B2B Ecommerce: The Rise of “Page Composers”
Previously, conventional wisdom dictated that B2B companies leave the details of web-building to the experts. For a monthly service, somebody else can handle the tasks of designing, running, maintaining, and updating eCommerce sites.
Maintaining a strong web presence is a basic requirement for companies embracing the digital world. Though historically uncharted territory, there is a growing trend pushing B2B companies to independently maintain their own websites. Similar to the Direct-to-Consumer approach, taking control of your website’s direction might be a more efficient way to leverage your online presence.
But why handle the website development yourselves? As a B2B seller, nobody knows the market better than experts like you. You have a better understanding of your buyer personas, and therefore know what will pique their interests and what won’t. In addition, the availability of self-service tools and programs makes it easier for companies to undertake their own web tooling. This isn’t just about saving a few dollars on maintenance costs. It’s about having better control over your digital storefront.
Why Do B2B Companies Need a Website?
A B2B website is essentially the front door of your office. Customers see the entrance, check out the contents, and decide if they want to come or go. Having the relevant information available upfront can help sway buyers into exploring further.
Most of today’s buyers perform their own research, and an unobtrusive visit to your company site is probably one of the first things they’ll attempt to do. Upon checking the front page, they’ll already form impressions based on what they see. So, it’s a great idea to make not just the product catalog pages and eCommerce portal visible, but also what the company stands for. Also, having relevant content available on your website provides the kind of information buyers need to make an educated decision. Social posts are fleeting as most users engage, scroll, and forget. Websites can hold on to pages and even freshen them up (via periodic updates) as long as they’re needed.
Take Control of Your Website
Given that business usually gets 80% of its sales from 20% of its clients, B2B companies must seamlessly service their repeat clients. This entails maintaining a hands-on approach to personalized marketing—which is more complicated to execute in the hands of an agency, especially since time is of the essence.
For example, updating product catalogs to show exact inventory levels can be part of your eCommerce software. It should also have tools to help you quickly reshuffle display images based on customer preferences.
Trend: Leveraging Visual Merchandising
B2B companies that saw digital sales pick up over the last few years have learned the importance of maintaining product catalogs on their website or mobile app. This practice replaced the traditional printed catalog that salespeople would distribute each season—and because its reach far exceeds that of a printed catalog, also deserves ample consideration.
For an effective display of products and services, physical stores rely on effective visual merchandising strategies to maximize the visibility of products inside store premises. Carefully laid-out shelves, tasteful storefront windows, and items behind the counter are some classic examples of a well-designed visual merchandise campaign. Add in the complementing soft background music and the comfort of air conditioning, and you’ll see how easy it is to put shoppers into the buying mood.
However, replicating the visual merchandising experience online is a much different undertaking. Instead of focusing on the sights, smells, and ambiance of the store, eCommerce sites focus on making the site easy to navigate, consistent, and packed with value. The easier it is for users to arrive at their desired page, the better their customer experience will be. However, users are notoriously unforgiving of this expectation. Once a page exceeds the loading time of 2-3 seconds, it’s all downhill from there.
How to Implement an Effective Visual Merchandising Strategy
Implementing an effective visual merchandising strategy in your B2B website or app means borrowing some best practices executed in real-world stores. The overall goal remains simple: provide the user with a trouble-free and enjoyable website experience. This lets them focus on the content. Everything else, including the sale, will follow.
Make Site Navigation Intuitive
The ideal brick-and-mortar store has a front entrance, well-defined sections, and display shelves and cases arranged in a certain, logical order. A cashier’s desk or checkout area sits unobtrusively in a designated area. Assistants are always an earshot away to provide service with a smile. The online store should follow the same principle. A welcoming front page shares any notable announcements or promotions. Sections are clearly labeled and easy to navigate. Checking out items and paying should be simple and hassle-free. Along the journey, assistance should be available via customer service chatbots or a service desk on standby.
Images Show Items at Their Very Best
Images in online stores should have the perfect balance of high quality and quick load times. There’s no point in featuring high-resolution images if they take more than 2 or 3 seconds to load, as there will be no one there to see them! When displaying items that offer a number of colors, variants, or sizes, it pays to have those images ready as well. Some customers want to see how items look in another color. Some want to compare sizes. Having these options available makes it easier and more convenient for buyers to make a decision.
One of the recently emerging B2B eCommerce trends, user-generated content (UGC) reinforces the fact that buyers trust other buyers over endorsers and influencers. In fact, TrustPilot reported that 4 in 5 buyers trust a fellow user’s reviews more than a paid user’s assessment.
Buyers love the idea of seeing user-generated photo submissions or honest reviews on their seller websites. Knowing fellow users are enjoying their experience with the seller’s products validates their choice.
Whether online or in physical stores, most buyers desire a hassle-free checkout system. Many online buyers find clumsy checkouts to be an annoyance worth abandoning shopping carts over.
However, streamlining checkouts often only require simple solutions. Offer a range of popular payment options (credit card, online payment, debit card, etc). Don’t make signing up a requirement for first-time buyers. Provide repeat customers with automated services to help them check out faster in the future.
Trend: Using Buy-On-Behalf for Customer Support
Another hot B2B eCommerce trend in 2022 is the growing popularity of Buy-on-Behalf, also known as OOBO, or Order-on-Behalf-Of solutions. In a nutshell, OOBO entails empowering customer service and support teams to close the sale upon being prompted by the customer. Oftentimes during interactions with customer support, there are key moments when buyers make the decision to buy. At this critical moment, asking buyers to log into their accounts to perform the checkout themselves can halt the momentum and jeopardize what was a sure purchase. Instead of asking customers to proceed with the sale, authorizing service agents to process the transactions themselves can ensure the close.
OOBO comes in handy for the distraught buyer who contacted customer service to fix a previous order, or to inquire if their purchase requires additional components. By checking on the buyer’s previous history, the agent can cross-sell complementary products to the purchase. Or, they can suggest upselling a product bundle that contains the necessary additions. This value-added convenience can help improve a buyer’s perception of the brand, which is way more important than many companies think. A State of the Connected Customer report revealed that 84% of buyers believe the customer experience is equally important as the products. Sellers will need to note the need to elevate their servicing. The same report also mentioned that over 50% of an average buyer’s suppliers fall short of their expectations.
The Bottom Line: Have a Smart Solution for Any Upcoming Trends
As the above B2B eCommerce trends show, it’s no longer enough for companies to offer great products and services. Sellers must devote more time and resources to improving the customer experience. Otherwise, customers won’t stick around long enough to progress past the first steps of the buyer’s journey.
Don’t worry, as always, Zobrist has your back. Whether you’re preparing for the Metaverse, unleashing omnichannel solutions, or improving visual merchandising, you’ve got to have the right tools. When it comes to data-driven, consumer-inspired online merchandising, nothing beats Zobrist.
To learn more about how our smart merchandising software can improve your company’s productivity, your customers’ experience, and your bottom line, contact us today.