The Future of B2B eCommerce: How Personalisation and Integrated Systems are Changing the B2B Ecommerce Landscape
MEGHAN THOMAS | MARCH 2023 | 6 MIN READ
The world of B2B commerce has undergone substantial transformations, from the traditional ways of conducting transactions to the emergence of eCommerce platforms. Businesses today use these platforms to streamline operations, remain competitive, and boost efficiency. One of the latest trends in the B2B eCommerce environment is the focus on personalisation and the customer experience in the wholesale space.
The digital revolution in B2B sales is gaining momentum, with projections by Statista indicating that approximately 17% of all B2B sales will be generated through digital channels in 20123. This underscores the growing significance of digital platforms for businesses that sell to both wholesale and retail customers.
One effective way to harness the power of these platforms is by combining B2C and B2B eCommerce portals to serve both retail and wholesale clients, which presents an opportunity for companies to simplify operations and increase revenue. By integrating inventory management systems, live delivery views, and invoicing, among other features, businesses can optimise their processes and provide exceptional customer service. Real-time inventory management and timely delivery are crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty. The integration of invoicing results in faster payments and fewer administrative tasks. Furthermore, the merger of B2B and B2C portals offers businesses the chance to broaden their customer base and increase their sales. By catering to both retail and wholesale clients, companies can tap into new revenue streams and expand their reach.
The current B2B eCommerce landscape is defined by the following trends, as it undergoes significant growth and development.
Maximising Personalisation and Customer Experience
According to a study by Forrester Consulting, 66% of B2B customers expect the same or better personalisation in their professional lives versus their personal lives. Businesses that prioritise personalisation and customer experience are coming out on top. With B2B eCommerce platforms, businesses can capture and analyse data on customer behaviour, preferences, and purchasing patterns, allowing for better-informed decisions. Customised storefronts and product pages can effectively showcase brands and products, while mobile responsiveness ensures customers can make purchases on-the-go. Analytics and reporting can track sales, customer behaviour, and other key metrics, while personalisation provides data-led solutions to customer behaviour such as purchases and repeat visits.
The Power of AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising the realm of eCommerce, and B2B eCommerce is no exception. AI's capability to offer personalised recommendations to customers is one of its prominent features in eCommerce. With the aid of AI, businesses can gain valuable insights into a customer's purchasing behaviour, budget, and other pertinent factors, thus enabling them to provide personalised pricing. This approach not only enhances the overall customer experience but also helps companies to establish customer loyalty and drive revenue growth.
Artificial Intelligence can help businesses to optimise their inventory management systems, ensuring that they always have the right products in stock to meet demand. By analysing historical sales data, current market trends, and other factors. AI algorithms can predict future demand and help businesses make more informed decisions about their inventory.
Another key capability of AI in eCommerce is the ability to provide real-time delivery tracking and updates. This not only helps businesses to provide a better customer experience but also enables them to optimise their logistics and supply chain management.
Efficiency is a major advantage that AI can bring to businesses in streamlining invoicing and payment processes. By automating these procedures, companies can significantly reduce the risk of errors and delays, while also ensuring faster and smoother transactions for customers. This results in improved cash flow, as well as more satisfied and loyal customers who appreciate the convenience and speed of the process. With AI technology in place, businesses can focus on other important aspects of their operations, knowing that their invoicing and payment processes are being handled efficiently and accurately.
APIs: Streamlining B2B eCommerce Operations
APIs are the backbone of modern B2B eCommerce enabling businesses to integrate their eCommerce platforms with other essential business functions, such as inventory management, invoicing, and shipping. This integration ensures that all the systems work together seamlessly and that data flows between them in real-time. This real-time data exchange is critical for B2B eCommerce, as it enables businesses to have accurate and up-to-date information about inventory levels, orders and deliveries.
Good inventory management is critical for a B2B eCommerce store. Ensuring that your eCommerce store displays up-to-date and accurate stock levels to your customers is important. An inventory system will also make sure you don't run out of stock or order in too much. Using software to manage your B2B operations also improves the customer experience by providing real-time visibility over pricing, stock levels, lead times and purchasing history.
Logistics systems can also be integrated, allowing businesses to provide real-time shipping rates, track packages, and manage their shipping operations more efficiently. This integration enables businesses to provide customers with accurate shipping information, which can improve their overall experience and satisfaction.
By integrating invoicing and payment systems with B2B eCommerce platforms through APIs, businesses can easily manage their billing and payment processes. With this integration, invoices can be generated and sent directly to customers from the eCommerce platform, and payment gateways can be integrated to allow customers to pay on the platform using their preferred payment method. This not only improves efficiency and reduces errors but also provides a seamless customer experience.
The integration of APIs in B2B eCommerce platforms enables businesses to seamlessly connect with third-party services, including marketing automation tools, CRM systems, and ERP software. By integrating these services, businesses can streamline their operations, automate workflows, and improve efficiency.
APIs play a vital role in B2B eCommerce by enabling the integration of various systems and services, automating workflows, and facilitating real-time data exchange between systems. By leveraging APIs, businesses can improve efficiency, reduce errors, and provide a better customer experience. With Magento's ability to integrate with other business systems, businesses can take advantage of this powerful technology to streamline their B2B operations and drive growth.
Meeting the Needs of Millennial Buyers in Wholesale Purchasing
Millennials are the largest demographic in the workforce, and their buying trends are influenced by their values, lifestyle, and digital habits. They are accustomed to the speed and efficiency of online shopping and expect the same level of convenience when purchasing products for their companies.
To meet the needs of these millennial buyers, wholesalers should offer a user-friendly online ordering system that is easy to navigate and use. This should include features such as clear product descriptions, multiple product images, and a simple checkout process.
The ability to track orders in real-time is particularly important for millennial buyers, who expect instant gratification and want to be able to monitor the status of their orders at all times. Fast and reliable shipping options, with real-time tracking information, to ensure that products are delivered on time and to the correct location.
Another important factor for millennial buyers is transparency in pricing and product availability. They want to be able to compare prices and availability quickly and easily, without having to go through a lengthy negotiation process with the wholesaler. Wholesalers can meet this need by offering transparent pricing and real-time inventory tracking, so buyers can see exactly what products are available and at what price.
A Future Outlook with Vectra
The B2B eCommerce landscape is rapidly evolving, and businesses that prioritise personalisation, customer experience, and the integration of AI and APIs are poised for success. Vectra leads the way by providing advanced technology and tactics that empower companies to offer personalised experiences to their customers, streamline their operations, and boost their revenue. By merging B2B and B2C portals, businesses can streamline their operations and expand their customer base, providing exceptional service to both retail and wholesale clients. With the power of AI and the efficiency of APIs, businesses can unlock new levels of growth and efficiency, while delivering a better customer experience. With Vectra, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and offer their customers a truly unmatched eCommerce experience.