The business-to-business (B2B) space is undergoing a dramatic transformation. The last two years have seen the space catching up with established consumer trends, with the adoption of new tech, new service methods, and new procedures. However, with continued global supply chain disruption, skills shortages, and the increasing strain on the economy, will this rate of change continue? And what can we expect to see in B2B eCommerce in the 2023?
Seven B2B eCommerce Trends For 2023
Faster Order Fulfilment And Enhanced Supply Chain Strategy
It’s no secret that the faster you deliver your goods, the better your customers perceive your service level to be. Aside from a slight hiatus during Covid, delivery times in the consumer space have been getting progressively faster in recent times. Businesses need to see the same level of service in order to meet the demands of their own customers. This means that we’re going to see an emphasis on supply chain strategy going forward, and this is going to be increasingly important given the global strains in this area. As well as shipping delays, businesses are facing issues around shortages relating to conflict, inflation, and the global energy crisis. To mitigate these problems, there will be a growing reliance on sourcing nearshore from multiple suppliers.
Digital Integration And The Merging Of On And Offline Systems
Feeding on from this comes the need for smarter inventory management. Far too often in B2B, we are seeing a disconnect between online and offline inventory systems,leading to stock errors, delays, and a reduction of service. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and automation is going to play a large role in remedying this situation. Research suggests that 64% of companies are planning to implement ERP within the next three years.
Personalisation And The Omnichannel Customer Experience
McKinsey & Company recently reported that B2B customers are seeking two things from their suppliers: personalisation and omnichannel sales opportunities. Like consumers, business buyers are looking for consistency from their suppliers. They want targeted messaging that is relevant to them. And they want it from whatever channel they choose to use to approach the business, whether in person, over the telephone, via email, or online.
Advanced Payments Options
B2B transactions have always worked on a system of deferred payment via trade credit but as more businesses have moved online, their payment strategies have failed to keep up. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) has been widely adopted in B2C transactions, but the same isn’t true of B2B payments, forcing businesses to either pay in full upfront, use a credit card, or undergo a lengthy vetting process to open a trade account, delaying both decision-making and the receipt of goods. However, with more suppliers coming to the market, B2B BNPL has become a viable reality and more businesses are taking their custom to suppliers who can provide payment terms.
Social Media, Marketplaces, and Content Marketing
Until this point, social media has been considered a consumer sales tool but we’re beginning to see a change. Businesses are realising the potential of social media for the B2B market too. In 2020, 46% of B2B buyers were using social media to discover new solutions for their businesses. In 2023, we’re not only going to see the continuance of that trend but the use of social media for content marketing and sales.
The Importance of Sustainability
Sustainability has become an important brand differentiation strategy in the consumer market and this is now also permeating the B2B space. 73% of online consumers consider climate impact before making a purchase, meaning that businesses have to factor in sustainability before making their own purchases.
The true beauty of e-commerce is that it opens up an almost limitless marketplace. B2C sellers have been benefiting from this for decades and B2B is finally realising this potential. With markets strained in various countries, the key to survival for a growing number of B2B businesses will be the ability to access international customers.
2023 is going to be a difficult year in business, with many countries in recession and the global pressures unlikely to ease any time soon. But by getting ahead of the trends, it might be possible to protect your business and carry it comfortably through turbulent times.
Louis Carbonnier, co-CEO and co-founder at Hokodo
A rapidly growing fintech, Hokodo provides Buy Now, Pay Later solutions to the B2B market, enabling business customers to benefit from instant, frictionless, interest-free payment terms. A leader in the field in the UK, Hokodo is currently expanding into continental Europe, and working on the creation of new products devised to serve the B2B market.