Of all COVID related changes that affected our daily life in the past year, the booming of e-commerce was probably the least surprising. On a global scale, both B2C and B2B industries shifted to online platforms to sell products and services. According to Salesforce, 42% of B2B leaders feared not being able to handle these remote sales very well due to lack of digital infrastructure. Take a look at our B2B e-commerce trends 2021 or risk getting left behind by your competitors.
Worldwide social and economical restrictions made B2B e-commerce increase by 44% from January to August 2020. What’s more impressive, is that 8 out of 10 buyers will not return to traditional in-person sales after the pandemic ends. This is why 65% of B2B companies plan to invest more in e-commerce in the next two years, including those that were reluctant to do so the first half of 2020. In other words, even sceptics agree that digital transformation is inevitable if you want to stay relevant.
Covid furlough proves that productivity is not the same as being busy. Having to carry out full staff operations with only half the manpower leads to a stagnation in strategic development and business optimization. This is why having only a webshop no longer guarantees long-term success. Companies need to combine digital transformation with digital integration to reduce costs, save time and optimize their sales funnel. This means aligning marketing, lead generation, e-commerce, and customer service to smoothen out your customer’s buying journey and save you time and money. This trend leads us to the following challenge.
More than ever, your employees are e-commerce customers themselves. For example, they have been the ones getting frustrated over bugged webshop applications, slow online customer service and irrelevant, repetitive online advertising. These e-commerce experiences of your salespeople during the pandemic make them relate more to your customers. With streamlined order processing and sales funnels, you avoid causing these problems yourself. Also, it will give your teams more time to focus on strategic tasks. According to Salesforce, 63% of B2B sales leaders say that digital integration of e-commerce minimizes their operational workload. This allows them to work on tasks to scale up your business, like expanding markets and converting leads.
High-performing salespeople gravitate towards companies that prioritize digital innovation and integration. Hence, not investing in it will cost you top talent and lead them to competitors that do.
Statista projects that 73% of all worldwide e-commerce sales in 2021 will happen through mobile devices. That’s why customers need to have the same experience cross-device. The best way to do this is with Progressive Web Apps (PWA). These web applications work across all mobile devices and operating systems. They are already common practice for B2C webshops, and are expected to surge for B2B e-commerce in 2021, too. WPAs pose different benefits for companies, who only need to develop and maintain one generic application, and customers who enjoy better application performance across different devices, both on and offline. Now, where can you build a PWA? The Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform offers a quick and easy solution: it includes a Commerce PWA Kit with templates and built-in best practices to get you started. You can get in touch with the cynqed team at the end of this blog for more information!
Following our PWA prediction, you can’t expect all customers to accept a one-to-many approach, either. As Gen Z gradually joins the workforce, McKinsey says companies need to focus on what’s important to future decision makers: personalization, individual expression and dodging labels. You changed your one-to-all when Millennials came around, now it’s time to start exploring one-to-one. Manually mapping out every customer’s buyer’s journey and all of their individual touch points is impossible. Salesforce consolidates your customer data in a single, unified view and can use that data to provide customers outstanding experiences – when and where they want!
The B2B e-commerce landscape is changing as a result of worldwide economic and social Covid-restrictions.
65% of B2B companies plan to invest more in e-commerce over the next 2 years. This is because 80% of B2B customers say they won’t return to traditional in-person sales after Covid ends.
Companies that realize the importance of digital transformation and integration will stay ahead of the competition.
Important trends in this digital field are (1) the rising popularity of APWs, (2) the need for salespeople to work in a digitally integrated environment to save time and optimize sales processes and (3) the importance of an automated one-to-one selling approach through a CRM platform like Salesforce.