As per a Frost & Sullivan report, the B2B e-commerce market is set to touch a whopping 6.7 trillion USD by the end of 2020. Every business player is focusing on the top B2B e-commerce platforms, to clutch lucrative gains from this booming market. But just selecting the best B2B e-commerce platform to showcase the products and services does not guarantee success. There are various advancing technologies in the B2B landscape are not just raising the bar of excellence but also setting newer trends to meet the increasing expectations of the market as well as the B2B buyers. It is crucial that the businesses pay close heed to these trends to stay strong and gain a competitive edge. That said, here are the top 5 B2B e-commerce trends to watch in 2018. Let’s have a read.
Multi-Channel & Multi-System Integration On The Rise
To secure more sales and offer customized services, the merchants and vendors need to be present for the buyers at all points of time, across all devices and channels. It is not easy to meet all the requirements of the B2B consumer if the merchants do not have multi-channel and multi-system integration. In 2018, the merchants would be seen integrating their e-commerce systems with other platforms like customer relationship management systems, backend supply-chain software, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) etc., to knock down the functional silos for enhanced cooperation among teams. Integrating multi-channel and multi-system approach would be seen on e-commerce platforms to provide effective functionality to the customers and efficient operations to the teams.
Mobile E-Commerce Becoming Bigger
With the number of smartphones predicted to cross half the global population and touch the 5-billion benchmark by 2019, mobile e-commerce is expanding and becoming bigger than ever. It is crucial for the B2B merchants to shift their focus towards mobile e-commerce to stay competitive in this mobile age. Today’s B2B buyers are increasingly mobile and are depending on their mobile phones to research products, compare prices, contact merchants, and even complete the transactions. The businesses seeking to close more leads from the mobile buyers are revisiting their strategies and turning towards mobile e-commerce. A shift towards mobile-optimized e-commerce platforms would be a visible trend among businesses in 2018 to offer a seamless mobile experience to the buyers.
Big Data Offering Personalization At Its Best
Personalization would reign as the king for B2B e-commerce platforms in 2018. The business clients are no longer satisfied with the general treatment, they want personalized experience from the e-commerce platforms. Not just intuitive interface and a responsive platform, the B2B buyers desire a customized experience resonating their behavior. The data surrounding the buyer behavior is being analyzed by the B2B companies to personalize the user experience on the e-commerce platform. A Gartner 2018 report even stated that more than 40% of the B2B e-commerce sites would offer dynamic and customized pricing by using various optimization algorithms. Big data is to play a crucial role for B2B retailers and assist them in tracking the buyer journey. Real-Time Big Data Analysis would also be used by merchants on B2B e-commerce platforms to offer personalization.
Artificial Intelligence Anticipating Buyer Needs
Incorporating Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning in customer interaction process would be another trend followed by many B2B merchants and retailers. A recent study on B2B buyers even predicted that around two-thirds of these buyers believe that AI would be used by businesses to anticipate their needs and requirements in coming times. Not only would it anticipate the B2B buyer needs but also interact with them to solve their queries. The B2B businesses would be using this intelligent technology to provide next-generation search facility, suggestive selling, and instantaneous reply to any query raised by the buyer. To target the information-seeking, inquisitive business buyer, businesses will be seen using Artificial Intelligence in their marketing and business strategies.
Automated Payment Solutions Becoming More Secure
Phishing attacks and credit card frauds are one of the biggest cyber threats to the B2B e-commerce ecosystem. With B2B transactions crossing thousands and lakhs, it is indispensable that B2B e-commerce platforms invest in a more secure payment gateway. In 2018, businesses would be seen testing and verifying their automated payment solutions to gain the trust of the customers. Offering the B2B buyers to set up a corporate account within a set limit and then enabling them to make payments through a payment gateway secured by multiple layers of security can help in cutting down cart abandonment.
These were some of the top trends that they businesses are set to follow in 2018. From securing the payment gateways and anticipating buyer needs to personalizing the experience and integrating multi-system and multi-device approach, B2B businesses would continue to cater the needs of the modernizing B2B buyers.