The eCommerce industry is growing at a tremendous pace; global eCommerce sales are expected to top $4.2 trillion in 2020 and reach more than $6.5 trillion by 2023. The race to embrace an eCommerce strategy is well and truly on but not all companies who take the plunge achieve success.
For B2B companies especially, the eCommerce journey is littered with several impediments – making it difficult for them to get the expected results (and ROI) from their eCommerce efforts. Here are 5 reasons why B2B companies struggle to make their eCommerce strategy successful:
1. Enabling customer-specific pricing. B2B companies often deal with a massive portfolio of products and services. Those looking to offer the right mix of products often have to conquer several levels of complexity to streamline the customer journey: one of them is enabling customer-specific pricing – especially key in an eCommerce model. Offering a certain section of customers discounted prices and others normal pricing – based on their past purchasing behavior, or current needs is not easy. But it is often imperative.
Embracing analytics is a great way to understand the customer’s needs better and price products in a way that meets the needs of specific customers at different levels of the purchasing journey. Using analytics, B2-B companies can not only offer customized prices to different customers, but they can also include multiple pricing levels that apply to the same customer, depending on which product they are buying.
2. Personalizing experiences across touchpoints: Tailoring advertising, products, offers, product information, and the entire customer experience across all touchpoints can prove to be a Herculean task for B2B organizations. Mapping each customer’s journey map, understanding their individual persona, and developing capabilities and content that is specific to each customer across each interaction is a grueling task.
Enabling an analytics-driven digital experience that aligns customer needs to business offerings can help B2B organizations achieve loyalty and even advocacy. By having a deep understanding of the peculiarities of specific customer segments and their needs and preferences, organizations can drive smarter targeting while delivering more relevant and personalized experiences to B2B customers at a\ pace and scale.
3. Optimizing the supply chain: The presence of multiple companies and distributor partners makes supply chain management in the B2B space a complex endeavor. Having every vendor/distributor/partner on the same page with the same product information can be quite challenging. Any miscommunication at even one point in the supply chain can decelerate or derail the entire process.
B2B organizations looking to derive maximum value from their eCommerce efforts need to find ways to reduce these demand/supply uncertainties driven by inconsistency in the product information. Using statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques can help provide the best assessment of expected demand while allowing them to streamline the procurement process, optimize inventory, and boost overall revenue performance gains. Better content syndication can help deliver greater consistency of product information to close this loop too.
4. Meeting tight delivery schedules: The B2C landscape has spoilt customers today. In addition to offering intuitive eCommerce experiences, B2C organizations deliver on the promise of quick – and sometimes even same-day – deliveries. Customers today expect the same experience from their B2B counterparts too. With each B2B customer worth a lot to the business, the stakes are extremely high. Failure to meet delivery schedules could result in chargebacks or even canceled contracts.
To meet these tight delivery schedules, B2B organizations need to do a lot on the supply chain end. Automating key processes across shipping integration and order tracking can also help save precious time and costs. This also means that they must work towards constantly updating their content so all elements in the supply chain are on the same page when it comes to delivering products in a timely manner.
5. Delivering accurate and updated product content: B2B products are often complex and have to be supported with a humongous amount of data to streamline the decision-making process. Being able to find the right product (within the site as well as on Google) and hitting upon exactly the right information buyers need to help solidify their decision becomes critically important. This brings the spotlight on the role of product content in search and browsing. Updating and constantly cleansing data across product details, nomenclatures, standards, manufacturing and warranty information, product guides, and more can be excruciatingly difficult.
Organizations looking to deliver accurate and updated product content to all stakeholders in the manufacturing lifecycle need to embrace modern PIM and MDM systems like Stibo to create a single, centralized version of the truth. Having such a system in place can ensure every customer, employee, vendor, and distributor partner has access to the latest and most accurate data. In addition, it can ensure the required level of compliance while helping organizations build engaging customer experiences and achieve the right level of collaboration.
B2B organizations face many complexities on their respective eCommerce journeys. Embracing modern systems and approaches with analytics and automation at their heart is the only way forward. By doing so, they can offer customer-specific pricing, personalize experiences, optimize the supply chain, meet delivery schedules, and deliver updated product content.