There are many reasons why the world of B2B e-commerce is slated to enjoy unprecedented levels of growth in the near future. Although the decidedly ubiquitous nature of the digital community is certainly a factor, let’s also remember that the recent global pandemic has forced many real-world transactions to migrate into the virtual domain. We should therefore expect some rather profound changes throughout the remainder of the year. What should businesses of all sizes look out for and how will these evolutionary advancements impact the sector as a whole?
A Heightened Focus Upon the User Experience
The user experience (UX) has always represented a core component of any well-rounded e-commerce platform. This observation is now even more relevant than ever before. A growing number of transactions are being performed by individuals with a fair amount of technical knowledge (such as millennials). Therefore, outdated or otherwise clumsy solutions are quickly going the way of the digital dinosaur. B2B customers expect that their unique needs will be addressed within a timely fashion. So, we are witnessing a rise in more personalised services that can be moulded around the company (or the client) in question.
Rapid Order Fulfilment
One of the main intentions of any reputable B2B e-commerce platform is arguably the most recognisable. It should be designed to satisfy orders within a timely fashion. After all, there is no doubt that an order which is processed slowly will have a detrimental impact upon how the seller is perceived. It could even make all of the difference in the world between a one-off sale and the ability to establish a loyal customer base. Firms which employ legacy architecture run the risk of becoming associated with inefficiency. This is why 2021 is set to redefine the ways in which complex orders are completed.
Automated Marketing Solutions
It has been shown that 58 per cent of B2B companies are making it a priority to adopt automated marketing systems in 2021 (1). This should not be surprising to anyone who has even moderately followed the progression of the online community in recent years. The main difference is that even smaller firms are beginning to appreciate the importance of this approach.
The main purpose of marketing automation is to do away with many in-house approaches that are considered to have become redundant. Manual data entry is a perfect example. Businesses which are capable of adopting more agile software platforms will be able to streamline their ongoing marketing campaigns. Furthermore, they can devote more resources to other key concerns such as client engagement, pipeline management and CRM in general.
More Flexible Payment Methods
At the time that this article was written, credit cards were still the mainstay of online payments within the B2B community. It should nonetheless be noted that other options are gaining ground. Examples include e-wallets and some cryptocurrencies (to a lesser extent). Considering the fact that customers are likely to become even more choosy in regards to how they prefer to satisfy a financial obligation, it stands to reason that flexibility is key.
Any point-of-sale system should be able to provide a host of different options. This illustrates that the firm in question is keen to satisfy the needs of its client base. Furthermore, this malleability may likewise be able to accommodate for lesser-known payment protocols such as third-party payments.
Mobile E-Commerce Options
B2B e-commerce bundles must likewise be able to address the growing prevalence of mobile users. We are not only referring to customers in this sense. On the contrary, the notion of telecommuting has become commonplace over the past 12 months. This trend is predicted to continue into the foreseeable future. Employees should therefore be provided with unfettered (and yet secure) access to an e-commerce platform even when they are away from the traditional office environment.
This is the very same reason why mobile-responsive solutions are becoming commonplace. Thanks to their device-agnostic and cloud-based architecture, adaptability is no longer a concern. When we likewise take into account the fact that 5G connectivity is on the horizon, it makes perfect sense to assume that this trend will continue to represent a concern in the coming months (and years).
A Changing Digital Landscape
These are only a handful of examples of what we can expect throughout the remainder of 2021. Other variables such as P2P security, artificial intelligence and omnichannel marketing capabilities are likewise important to note. Still, businesses will need to make it a point to keep abreast of the latest changes if they hope to remain one step ahead of the B2B community. Those which are able to recognise and implement the observations outlined above should perform will in the future. As always, being prepared for what may come to pass is always a wise strategy.