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How to raise the game of B2B commerce

Brian Robinson
Brian Robinson
Managing Director UK
4 min read
19 January 2022

B2B commerce was previously characterised by a very traditional way of doing business, with relationships built on and maintained through face-to-face interactions between companies and sales reps. But across all industries, the pandemic fuelled a shift to digital solutions and the global B2B ecommerce market is now valued at $14.9 trillion, over five times bigger than the B2C market.

Companies are investing heavily in establishing and optimising ecommerce platforms that will help them become serious contenders in the digital realm, but there are a series of challenges to overcome. B2B commerce can be extremely complex. From long buying cycles to complicated requirements, regulatory compliance to price disruptions; but just because something is complex, doesn’t mean it can’t be slick, seamless and impactful. 

This idea was interrogated at ‘Optimising the Future’, DEPT® and Optimizely’s joint virtual event designed to inspire and accelerate digital strategies through 2022 and beyond. DEPT®’s Head of Strategy and Innovation, Philipp Bruns, sat down with Optimizely’s Product Management Director, Marc Bohnes, to discuss how B2B commerce platforms are evolving to match the B2C experiences we’ve all come to know and expect. Here are the top three ways they believe businesses can revolutionise their B2B commerce solutions.

#1 Apply a consumer lens

In addition to the pandemic, customer expectations were a significant driver of the shift to B2B commerce, with buyers becoming increasingly demanding, due to their personal experiences with B2C companies that are further along the digital maturity curve. 

B2C brands are setting the benchmark for digital shopping experiences. And B2B sellers need to raise their game. Customers expect seamless UX that guides them along a compelling brand journey, clearly demonstrating how products will address personal pain points and how the brand can assist them in achieving their unique goals. 

Whether it’s shipment concerns or complicated orders, with the right technology these barriers to purchase can be resolved in a more effective and compelling way than is often the case in B2B commerce. It’s important to remember that although some B2B products may not be as exciting as B2C ones, the customers’ interaction shouldn’t be. After all, B2B customers are also B2C customers when they’re not interacting with B2B brands.

#Harness the power of personalisation

Businesses would never reserve excellent customer service for B2C customers, and they shouldn’t do the same with personalisation, but until now the tactic has largely been practised exclusively amongst consumer audiences. But B2B customers are demanding more personalised experiences. According to Accenture, 73% of B2B executives have a growing number of customers who want their interactions with the brands to be more personal. 

The cold and generic interaction tactics that dominate the B2B landscape require a complete overhaul. Personalisation provides brands with the opportunity to engage with customers in more relevant ways, based on their preferences or online behaviour, and set their digital experiences apart from competitors. 

B2C brands have proven its success, with 80% of consumers more likely to buy from companies that offer a personalised experience. Additionally, 44% of customers that experience personalisation say they will become repeat buyers. And just like it can drive brand loyalty amongst B2C audiences, it can help B2B brands build profitable, long-term relationships with buyers.

#3 Stay on your toes

Adopting digital processes is just the first step in becoming a contender in the B2B ecommerce space. Brands need to be monitoring and responding to the continual evolution of digital commerce. 

Continuous improvement and innovation is necessary for businesses to exceed customers’ constantly changing expectations and deploy business strategies to either gain or retain a competitive edge.

Digitisation of B2B commerce is only accelerating. It won’t slow down soon. For companies willing to invest in becoming truly customer-centric, the opportunities are endless. 

To find out how we can help you elevate your B2B commerce function from boring to slick, click below to watch the session in full, or get in touch with a member of our team.

Optimising the Future: B2B commerce

Watch the full session on demand


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