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Strategy and Transformation

2015 B2B Commerce: Optimizing the B2B Experience to Match B2C Expectations

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Prior to the digital age, manufacturers and suppliers produced thick, printed catalogs, employed armies of sales and account managers to build relationships and close deals, and staffed warehouses to deliver on their customers’ needs. Today’s B2B commerce transactions typically involve multiple organizations and cover a complex range of applications that enable organizations to form both offline and online relationships with suppliers, customers, distributors, resellers and other partners.
Many B2B organizations have established an online channel and are focusing on how to grow online sales in order to maximize revenue.  A study conducted by Frost & Sullivan projects that B2B eCommerce sales will reach $12 trillion globally by the year 2020. To succeed in the new B2B landscape, companies are going to have to shift the way they think about the end customer and their buying experience. In this blog series, we will post the top 4 trends that are driving B2B companies to re-platform and rebuild their eCommerce sites to satisfy the growing demands and high expectations of their customer.
Optimizing the B2B Experience to Match B2C ExpectationsStat6
As B2B buyers become more empowered, they are demanding the same type of experience as B2C consumers: control, transparency, inventory visibility, product information, and convenience. The B2C customer experience has put tremendous pressure on B2B commerce, and buyers are no longer satisfied with fragmented experiences – they want a seamless one. The path to purchase is no longer linear and offline.  Today’s buyers are transitioning their product search and purchases from traditional, offline channels to digital (i.e. web and mobile) settings and companies that do not adapt their technology to their buyer’s needs will fall behind.
We can see this happening in the B2C world as companies adapt more digital technologies to create seamless experiences to satisfy customers. Customers move between a multitude of touch points that did not exist before, researching product information and reviews, checking social networks, and posting/tweeting about their experience through the entire shopping journey on a wide variety of social channels and communities. B2B companies can utilize social channels to help expand their brand, engage with different communities, express a vision, promote products and offerings, and offer customer service and/or support.
What can B2B companies do to match the B2C Experience?            

  • Develop and implement strategies to meet the high demands and expectations for B2C-style offerings and buying experiences
  • Understand the buyer’s B2B shopping journey
  • Provide deeper levels of product information and rich content
  • Manage and track communities and social interaction
  • Deliver targeted and personalized experiences that grow sales and retention

Click here to download the Top Trends guide!

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Heather Bowman

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