E-commerce has substantially and continuously grown through the years, and B2B E-commerce is no exception to this trend. According to Statista, the forecast for B2B E-commerce in Europe in 2022 is to reach the value of 1,333 billion U.S. dollars, and to continue growing throughout the next years:
This growth in the market means more competition between businesses. And with it, comes the question: how to keep my business relevant?
Well, one of the best ways to do so is to keep up with the trends of the market and keep your business up to date. These trends will influence your business and how it performs in the B2B E-commerce market.
What are the Trends for 2023?
In 2022 there have been many changes that have impacted businesses and customers in all markets and sectors. Change in consumption habits comes with new requirements for businesses.
Recognizing trends helps us understand where to invest and how to change businesses. These give us answers to questions like what customers are valuing, what is working and what is not, and how to adapt to an ever-changing market.
So, what are these trends that we should pay attention to for B2B E-Commerce in 2023?
Personalized Customer Experience
Customer experience is an essential factor to retain clients. If a customer doesn’t enjoy an experience with your business, they will hardly come back for another purchase. Besides that, as people share information on the internet, this bad experience will probably influence other people’s decision when choosing a business to buy from.
One thing that has seemed to elevate customer experience is the personalization of such.
According to Salesforce, 88% of respondents consider that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services, 56% already expect offers to be personalized.
Personalized offers and communication (like e-mail) are good practices to optimize customer experience. These should be based on the client’s habits, that we can get through collected data.
Putting such effort into customer experience can impact your business as, according to Businesswire, 60% of consumers say they will likely become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
More and more organizations are turning to the use of Artificial Intelligence to improve workflows and processes, in areas such as marketing, sales and customer service. According to Gartner, only from 2015 to 2019 the number of businesses investing in implementing AI grew 270%, meaning 37% of businesses in 2019 had already adopted this technology.
This growth is expected to continue, as the global investment on the artificial intelligence market is predicted to grow by 36,1% in 2028 and reach the value of 641.30 billion U.S. dollars (Verified Market Research).
Some examples of the implementation of AI in E-Commerce are the use of chatbots and virtual assistants, as well as targeted marketing and advertisement. Artificial Intelligence can be a great tool for personalization in B2B E-Commerce.
The optimization of customer experience through personalization requires the collection of data from customers. Because of this, issues related to data privacy have been brought up more and more.
According to Adobe, 79% of consumers are concerned about how companies are using their data.
To keep healthy relationships with customers, when talking about data, it’s important to be a transparent company and follow the law on data protection. In Europe, there exists a legislation that covers this subject: the GDPR.
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a group of rules that legislate privacy issues. This regulation is based on 7 key principles:
- Lawfulness and transparency: Companies need user consent to process personal data, to fulfill contracts and legal obligations and to prove legitimate interest.
- Purpose limitation: As mentioned before, a company should prove a legitimate interest to be able to collect data, which means having a specified and explicit purpose.
- Data minimization: A company should only collect the needed data to complete its purpose, and not data that’s not related.
- Accuracy: It’s important to ensure the accuracy of the collected data, deleting incorrect or incomplete of such.
- Storage limitation: To meet this GDPR policy, companies must justify the period of data retention.
- Security: It’s fundamental to keep the collected data safe, secure from internal or external threats.
- Accountability: According to the GDPR, a company must ensure all the rules are being followed, as supervisory authorities can ask for compliance evidence at any time. It’s the company’s responsibility to answer to such authorities and deliver any needed documentation.
Some of the ongoing trends in the past few years, that has shown itself to be a continuous one, is Mobile Shopping.
According to Insider Intelligence, mobile commerce has hit the value of 359.32 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 and, the same source, expects this volume of E-commerce to hit 620.92 billion U.S. dollars by 2024, corresponding to 42.9% of E-Commerce.
This trend requires companies to adapt their platforms to mobile formats. As consumers are making mobile shopping more of a habit, businesses are required to provide such adaptation if they don’t want to miss out on these profits.
Some of the best practices for mobile E-commerce platforms are:
- Having zoomable images,
- Providing the option to save the shopping cart,
- Taking advantage of device features (such as voice-recognition, GPS location, etc.),
- Having an easy interaction through all the processes,
- Allowing for built-in payment methods (like Apple Pay)
- Prioritizing search (keeping the search bar in an easy-access area),
- Ensure safety (through badges, reviews, etc.).
Omnichannel is the strategy of using multiple integrated channels for your business, at the same time. This facilitates processes for the consumer, as they can reach your company in different ways, according to what’s most convenient at the time.
This strategy can bring many benefits for your business, like an increase in profit and customer loyalty, improved inventory movement and overall additional sales potential.
According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of consumers, in 2022, preferred to shop through multiple channels. This proves this strategy’s success to a business, and the value of these channels.
There’s a lot that changes every year, every month even. There’s a lot to follow through, including consumer’s habits. Changing your business and keeping up with these B2B E-Commerce trends can be crucial for your company’s success in 2023.