Revolutionizing B2B Ecommerce with Modern Technologies

B2B ecommerce is transforming, becoming more advanced and poised for substantial growth, even amid a global economic slowdown. 70% of B2B buyers plan on spending more online prioritizing manufacturers’ own websites over marketplaces in search of high-quality detailed product content.

With ever-increasing buyer expectations fueled by B2C precedents and technology advancements, modern solutions are becoming pivotal in driving digital transformations and B2B ecommerce success.

In this article, we dive into the unique expectations of B2B buyers and the key features a B2B ecommerce platform should have to provide them with the best experiences.

What is B2B Ecommerce?

Business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce corresponds to the buying, selling, and related activities between organizations across a variety of digital channels. Different types of companies, ranging from manufacturers and wholesalers to distributors and retailers, participate in B2B ecommerce efficiently exchanging goods and services, negotiating contracts, and managing complex transactions.

B2B organizations benefit significantly from embracing ecommerce and establishing an online presence through their websites or marketplaces. From an instant global reach to increased visibility of their product portfolio, sellers get the chance to engage with new audiences in new ways with 24/7 availability. Through streamlining processes and increasing automation, B2B companies unlock greater efficiencies and cost savings while improving customer relationships.

Despite being a source of inspiration for innovative practices, the B2C ecommerce model differs from B2B in terms of its target audience and transactional dynamics. B2B ecommerce typically involves larger transaction volumes, longer sales cycles, and multiple stakeholders in the decision-making process including procurement teams, engineers, and managers. Orders, shipping, and payment terms usually require customizations per customer, followed by more complex returns and after-sales support processes.

What B2B Ecommerce Buyers Want

A 2023 survey revealed inaccurate pricing, slow load times, and poor customer support as the main B2B ecommerce pain points with 31% of shoppers abandoning carts due to technical issues. B2B buyers are B2C buyers at heart and have come to expect the frictionless journeys available in individual shopping. But, they also have distinct expectations around navigating the complexities of their business, saving time, and maximizing value.

Several emerging trends and shifts are reshaping B2B buying behavior. B2B decision-makers are increasingly adopting a digital-first approach, relying on online channels for product research, comparison, and purchasing decisions. With mobile commerce on the rise, they expect mobile-friendly interfaces and apps that enable them to make decisions and transactions on the go.

Overall, B2B buyers prioritize access to up-to-date information, fast transparent shopping flows, and personalized experiences throughout their digital interactions.

Easy Access to Detailed Product Information

B2B buyers often deal with complex products and solutions where clear and comprehensive product data helps them make informed decisions. They appreciate detailed product information, including technical specifications, visual aids, informative videos, feature comparisons, and relevant documentation. Accurate and transparent pricing is also a fundamental part of this, facilitating budget planning, fostering healthy negotiations, and preventing dissatisfaction due to hidden costs. Transparent pricing reduces the time buyers spend deciphering costs and enables quicker decision-making, which is crucial in the fast-paced B2B environment.

Advanced search capabilities are a must in going through volumes of information to quickly locate desired products or services without extensive browsing. B2B buyers expect precision and relevance when it comes to product searches taking into account their history and context for the best-fit recommendations.

Fast, Transparent, and Autonomous Buying

B2B buyers also want immediate visibility into the status of their orders and appreciate sellers who provide transparency into the entire procurement workflow. This includes order processing, fulfillment, and shipping stages, enabling them to anticipate timelines and manage expectations. Live inventory updates help prevent situations where buyers place orders for out-of-stock items, minimizing disruptions in the supply chain.

According to a McKinsey survey, 86% of B2B buyers prefer self-service tools over interacting with sales representatives, especially for repeat orders. Self-service tools not only streamline the purchasing journey but also empower buyers to access information on-demand, saving time and reducing friction in the procurement process. The autonomy provided by self-service tools allows buyers to independently navigate through product catalogs, check real-time inventory, place orders, and track shipments without relying on direct interactions with any human unless their assistance is required.

Simplified and Personal Omnichannel Journeys

B2B ecommerce buyers are increasingly seeking B2C-level customer experiences and personalization to enhance their interactions with online platforms. They desire a seamless and intuitive purchasing journey that mirrors the user-friendly interfaces commonly found in B2C settings. This includes features such as personalized product recommendations, tailored content, and a responsive, easy-to-navigate website. They expect a level of personalization that not only simplifies the procurement process but also anticipates their requirements, providing relevant suggestions and insights.

B2B buyers face intricate and multifaceted purchasing procedures that often involve a combination of digital and traditional methods. As a result, they expect platforms to provide unified experiences, allowing them to seamlessly transition between online and offline interactions. B2B buyers want tools that streamline the complexity of their procurement processes and adapt to their organizational roles. Solutions that offer a holistic approach, integrating online functionalities with offline capabilities like in-person consultations or showroom experiences, are highly valued. The ability to merge these two realms cohesively ensures that B2B buyers can navigate their procurement processes with efficiency, regardless of whether they are engaging online or offline.

Must-Have Tech Features for Modern B2B Commerce

Modern technologies play a pivotal role in enabling B2B ecommerce businesses to meet and exceed buyer expectations. By providing advanced features and capabilities that enhance the overall customer experience, they allow organizations to stay ahead of the competition and forge lasting relations.

Here are 10 must-have technology features for high-performance future-proof B2B Ecommerce:

  • Comprehensive product information management: Enriched product assets (e.g. 3D models, videos, design documents) customizable for different channels and user profiles, orchestrated through transparent workflows, and supported by intelligent data quality controls
  • Contextual search and product discovery: A sophisticated and intuitive search experience allowing faceted filters and multi-criteria queries on any product spec, accompanied by strong searchandising capabilities to promote exploration and engagement
  • Real-time pricing and promotions management: Accurate and consistent representation of price across channels, complemented by a flexible promotions engine to tailor customer offers on the spot, with the ability to customize discount and tax calculations based on channel, location, and customer attributes
  • Smart personalization and recommendations: Effective product and content curation based on real-time triggers, relevant cross and up-sell offers throughout buyer journeys, and predictive after-sales suggestions for reordering and maintenance
  • Scalable and flexible content management: Fast versatile content creation and editing with built-in previews and approval flows to generate informative and educative content such as tutorials and guided selling tools to support both the research and purchasing processes
  • Hyper-composable architecture: Adaptable modules with centralized orchestration to easily manage multiple channels without rework, rapidly connect to marketplaces and other external platforms, incorporate industry-specific point solutions, and empower citizen developers
  • Frictionless complex journey management: Differentiated flows based on user roles and access levels, real-time process updates and notification triggers based on status changes as well as fast and secure checkout without any technical performance issues
  • Self-service portal and tools: Complete account history and analytics for customers to track their activity and easily spot action items, tools to compare alternatives, construct orders (incl. pre-order and backorder), and create related documentation for an autonomous buying process
  • Generative AI guidance: Integrated capabilities to empower sales representatives as well as customers to address purchasing and technical support needs, support marketing and product teams to rapidly customize and expand copy creating operational efficiencies
  • Responsive customer support: Comprehensive assistance across a variety of channels, offering a robust knowledge base, AR/VR capabilities for enhanced experiences, a ticketing system for effectively tracking inquiries, and a feedback mechanism to gather insights

Getting Started with Modern B2B Commerce Tech

B2B ecommerce organizations stand to gain substantial benefits by embracing modern technologies that can revolutionize their operations. A recent Deloitte Digital survey reported a 62% increase in sales for front-runners that provide a consistent digital B2B experience across channels and a 13% loss for organizations without a helpful digital commerce platform.

Starting out on this quest is imperative but also has its challenges. We identified 3 guiding principles for B2B digital transformation success based on our experiences with leading brands:

1. Work with Technology You Can Customize

Every business is distinct with its own set of dynamics and requirements. However, B2B businesses, in particular, navigate a landscape of niche offerings and tailored one-to-one customer relationships. This unique positioning makes selecting a technology solution that offers complete customizability all the more important. In that sense, even solutions built for your vertical may not necessarily address all your requirements and typically provide more generic out-of-the-box features. That is why, it is critical to carefully evaluate the flexibility of your options before finalizing your decision.

At Rierino, our mission is to provide businesses with unlimited flexibility to tailor our solutions according to their specific requirements, ensuring a perfect fit for their operations. Our intuitive low-code/no-code interfaces ensure easy onboarding allowing business and non-technical users to contribute to technology development without extensive coding efforts. With Rierino, B2B companies can easily adapt technologies to their workflows, processes, and business dynamics, allowing them to stay agile in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

2. Tackle the Transformation Scope in Phases

Embarking on a digital transformation journey doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Changing how people work and upgrading technology is a significant undertaking, often involving substantial resources. Instead of diving headfirst, consider starting with smaller, manageable scopes. This incremental approach allows you to test the waters, mitigate risks, and secure gradual buy-in from your organization. It's a strategic way to make progress without overwhelming the team or the budget, ensuring a smoother path toward comprehensive transformation.

Rierino’s hyper-composable architecture and high-impact modules allow businesses to target select use cases and expand to new ones aligned to organizational readiness. From Product Information Management (PIM) to Personalization and Content Management (CMS) among others, every component can deliver value on its own easily integrating with the rest of the existing technology stack.

3. Closely Monitor the Impact on All KPIs

Effectively evaluating the success of a B2B digital transformation initiative requires a keen eye on performance across all key areas. From enhancing employee efficiency to driving higher buyer conversions, the impact can be widespread, influencing various cost-saving and revenue-driving factors. Quantifying this impact is crucial, not only for justifying the investment but also for building momentum within the organization. By closely monitoring KPIs, you gain insights into what works well and what areas may need fine-tuning. This data-driven approach allows for continuous improvement and ensures that your digital transformation aligns seamlessly with business objectives.

With embedded intelligence capabilities, Rierino enables automatic access to key insights about performance, offering a seamless and data-driven approach. Its self-service BI capabilities empower you to decide which KPIs to track and provide the flexibility to deep-dive into the underlying factors influencing your transformation journey. With Rierino, you not only gain a comprehensive view of your digital transformation impact but also the tools to make informed decisions for continuous improvement.

Looking Ahead

Research shows there is still room for improvement within the B2B ecommerce space, and the competitive stakes are high. 46% of global B2B buyers say they are frustrated with buying B2B products online and 69% are more likely to purchase from a ‘digitally innovative’ supplier.

As the competitive landscape intensifies and enterprises devise inventive methods to engage with buyers, it becomes imperative for online sellers to utilize flexible solutions to adapt to evolving standards. Overall, the integration of modern technologies positions B2B ecommerce organizations for heightened efficiency, competitiveness, and sustained growth in the digital realm.

If you are a B2B organization venturing on your digital transformation journey, get in touch with our experts today to find out how Rierino can accelerate your in-house innovation.

Key Topics
B2B Commerce
Composable Commerce
Digital Transformation
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