This is definitely one of the most prominent B2B ecommerce trends by the end of this year that will become even bigger in the next, so be prepared to deliver a true omnichannel buying experience. B2B sellers need to embrace that all their customers are now omnichannel and work to ensure they can accommodate them.
Forrester confirms that 51% of B2B sellers stated their omnichannel customers increased spending with them in the past year, with only 7% saying those customers decreased spending. Thus, gaining and retaining omnichannel buyers should be crucial for B2B sellers in 2018.
More and more B2B online buyers prefer to do their own research (68%, up from 53% in 2015). Needless to say that in this environment, the expectations of the digitally connected customers should influence an organization’s B2B selling priorities.
Organizations striving to be successful players on the B2B ecommerce market need to have a flexible, scalable commerce infrastructure to support an integrated selling platform.
The data indicates that B2B buyers do not seek to make every purchase via either self-service or full service. Instead, they switch to a mix of both modes in different purchasing scenarios. The new B2B ecommerce trends offer both self-service and human-assisted options and put extra effort into migrating B2B buyers online to convert them into higher value customers. eCommerce cannot be independent of traditional direct and indirect channel sellers. All the back-end data around products, pricing, contracts, rebates, and promotions would need to be consolidated, and the front-end touchpoints have to accommodate the needs of that channel. The best approach would be to start from the back-end and work your way to the front to keep consistency in the process while providing unique experiences for every user persona.
Forrester believes that B2B sellers should turn to flexible and scalable ecommerce infrastructures that can offer a full spectrum of options, from pure self-serve websites to full service delivered by sales staff and with hybrid selling models.
From a technological point of view, this means an organization requires at minimum, a B2B ecommerce platform, but also a strong CRM system, which would help create a comprehensive picture of the B2B buyer, their organization and their preferences. A CPQ system is also essential for expediting full-service sales and letting the ecommerce platform effectively support complex products and variations in product lines.