B2B ecommerce has moved on so much in recent years, as buyers needs and expectations have evolved, and as a result we need to adapt our ecommerce strategies. Here are 5 key shifts influencing B2B ecommerce strategies this year, to stay ahead of competitors.
- Hyper-personalisation powered by artificial intelligence (AI)
AI is playing a huge role in shaping B2B ecommerce in 2024 and beyond. The shift towards AI offers buyers extremely quick responses to their questions and free up time for sales and customer service reps. We all know that B2B buyers are now expecting a hyper-personalised buying experience, just like they do when shopping in their personal lives. Here are three examples of how to offer personalisation to customers, powered by AI.
- Product recommendations – AI can analyse customer data (past purchases, browsing history and interactions) to suggest relevant products, helping to increase conversion rates and average order value
- Dynamic pricing – AI algorithms consider market trends, competitor pricing and customer segments to offer personalised pricing
- Chatbots and virtual assistants – AI powered chatbots can provide 24/7 customer support, answer FAQs and handle simple transactions. Offering customer support around the clock is unattainable for many businesses, so this is a great way to provide personalisation to customers, while freeing up valuable time for sales and customer service reps.
2. The B2B subscription boom
Subscription models are not just for Netflix and Amazon, there is a big shift towards subscriptions in the B2B world. They are influencing B2B ecommerce strategies in 2024, as they offer predictable revenue streams and help to foster customer relationships. Businesses are providing flexible subscription options for products and services, and customers are appreciating the ease and flexibility of setting up payments and not having to remember them. Here are some examples of B2B subscriptions models to serve as inspiration for your ecommerce strategy:
- Automated ecommerce subscriptions – for recurring purchases of business products that are used consistently
- Product-based subscriptions – charging customers monthly or annual fees in exchange for the use of products
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscriptions – monthly or annual licensing models for software such as customer relationship management tools or video conferencing solutions.
3. eProcurement as a buying option
If your ecommerce strategy hasn’t featured eProcurement yet, then it definitely should in 2024. B2B ecommerce users expect to be able to login and find all their purchase information quickly and to be offered flexible ways to pay online, including paying off their invoices. This can be achieved with solutions such as PunchOut Purchase Order (PO) Automation, and Invoice Automation. Our customers who have a GOb2b ecommerce website can integrate with their PunchOut accounting system. Meaning they can offer their buyers volume pricing or bulk discounts, so their customers can easily access their account to view and track orders and pay off their invoices.
4. Omnichannel reigns supreme
Offering B2B buyers an omnichannel experience still reigns supreme in 2024. An omnichannel experience aims to provide B2B customers with a seamless shopping and communication experience across multiple platforms, which is exactly what they have come to expect. B2B buyers are using more and more channels throughout the buying journey and so it’s important that when a customer switches between different channels that the process is seamless and the content and customer service is consistent. It’s also important to offer many different channels for customers to make purchases and this can include your website, mobile app, over the phone, third party marketplaces and social media marketplaces to name a few. So if you haven’t made this a part of your ecommerce strategy yet, 2024 is the time to do so.
5. The rise of online marketplaces
Selling through online marketplaces should be part of your ecommerce strategy this year, as they are the fastest growing sales channel in B2B ecommerce. This shift towards online marketplaces is because the provide a unique opportunity to reach people actively searching and who are ready to buy. B2B buyers expect the buying process to be the same as what they experience in their personal lives, meaning they want choices, they want to be able to easily compare products and prices and they want the buying journey to be quick and efficient. Online marketplaces such as Amazon Business, Etsy and eBay are the perfect platforms to fulfil those needs, and it gives B2B companies more platforms to reach even more customers.
We hope you enjoyed learning about these 5 shifts and have found some inspiration for your B2B ecommerce strategy for 2024. If you don’t already have a GOb2b ecommerce website that can integrate perfectly with your accounting system please get in touch.
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