Digital commerce capabilities are now essential for B2B businesses to survive moving forward and certain capabilities such as enhanced experience and mobile UX, are just a few that impact which B2B companies stand apart and foster customer loyalty.
A decade back, functional but static storefronts combined with check out/cart functionality was all you needed to deliver in the online buying experience, but things have changed dramatically.
B2B companies are exploring ways to improve efficiencies and customer buying journeys. Providing personalised Customer Experience (CX) consistently throughout the buying journey is the demand of the hour, and a crucial pain point brands need to target.
So, what ‘must-haves’ need to be on your roadmap as your business evolves? From our perspective, these capabilities are the most sought-after.
1. Mobile application
Current research indicates that B2B buyers are also expecting a mobile experience. The content loads faster than web content and offers B2B buyers a new level of convenience. This means standalone web or desktop applications are no longer providing the great customer experience you need.
It’s worth noting though, that progressive web applications are a growing trend. We see this used in SAP commerce, through its Spartacus storefront.
2. Integration flexibility
Legacy systems are an ongioing challenge in complex B2B organisations and they tend to be inflexible and rigid. Companies are moving towards solutions that can integrate with third-party solutions easily.
For example, with open APIs, you can easily integrate social media by using open-source systems such as Kubernetes on SAP Cloud Platform or KYMA to extend and connect various enterprise applications.
Even if you are not using an enterprise-level omnichannel platform through open APIs, you can add on headless systems for mobile optimisation, multiple payment platforms, social media integration, etc. to help provide an omnichannel CX at the end of the day. This can be done by using open-source systems to extend and connect various enterprise applications.
3. AI and chatbots
Utilising conversational artificial intelligence (AI) or chat bots have become a must-have for customer service, product queries, FAQ and purchasing. Real-time product recommendations, add-on options and general customer assistance are just a few basics that AI and chatbots cover.
4. Click and collect
This form of in-store/out of store picks up is increasingly preferred by customers and although it’s not necessarily cheap or easy to set up as the inventory management system must sync with store logistics and online storefront, it can be a big convenience for your buyers.
In the US, online B2B transactions are expected to reach $1.2 trillion by the end of 2021. With this trend, a proper road map which considers implementation and upgrades of the capabilities above, is vital for survival and sustained growth.
As customer needs continue to become more focused on experience, brands need to get the basics up to scratch. Investing in your digital capabilities and defining a clear plan of attack for implementing these capabilities will be vital to business growth.