How B2B eCommerce Became The Top Priority for Manufacturers

When COVID-19 became a problem, many companies quickly moved to improve their digital channels.

When COVID-19 became a problem, many companies quickly moved to improve their digital channels. This trend of businesses moving towards eCommerce and digital transformation has been happening for a few years now. This is because of the rise in smartphones and high-speed internet access.

Before the pandemic, it was predicted that United States B2B eCommerce sales would reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. This would account for 17% of all B2B revenue. However, the pandemic has forced individuals and businesses towards a digital future. This is inevitable because of the automation of human tasks that was happening before social distancing measures were put into place.

Sales have changed and will never go back to the way they were before

The McKinsey August 2020 Global B2B Decision-Maker Pulse survey asked many business decision-makers how their preferences and behaviors changed since the beginning of COVID-19. The answers were not good for manufacturers who are still using old technology and sales methods.

  • Digital self-service and remote rep interactions are the future of how businesses will sell to other businesses.
  • In today's world, only 20-30% of business buyers want to talk to sales reps in person. Even in their ideal/post-COVID-19 model, this number is still relatively low.
  • 90% of B2B decision-makers think that the remote and digital model will last for a long time. They also think that this new model is just as effective or more effective than before COVID-19.
  • 97% of buyers say that they would purchase a digital self-serve model where they could buy everything online. The vast majority of these people are very comfortable spending $50,000 or more online.
  • Almost 80% of B2B buyers prefer videoconference connections over audio/phone connections.

Demographics plays a crucial role

The numbers above are somewhat staggering and might seem to be because of COVID-19. But this is not the only reason. Demographics also play a crucial role. The buyer for products and services has changed, and millennials are becoming the dominant force. 73% of millennials are involved in decision-making for purchasing products or services at their companies. And approximately one-third of millennials report being the sole decision-maker for their department.

Millennials have been exposed to a lot of technology and B2C eCommerce experiences. They expect the same kind of quick, easy transactions in the workforce. This is going to impact manufacturers more and more as millennials take on leadership roles in prominent organizations. Millennials demand B2B eCommerce transactions because they provide a quick, easy, and streamlined experience.

B2B eCommerce caters to the needs of the modern buyer

Today, B2B buyers want the same great customer experience when they buy for work as when they buy for themselves on Amazon. This means that businesses need to provide a seamless, personalized experience for their customers.

B2B buyers want to be able to do their own research before making a purchase. This means that they will look online for information about different products and compare prices. They want to be able to buy the product without any problems and will only speak to a salesperson if they have to.

If suppliers do not pay attention to these new buying preferences, they will be in big trouble. However, some manufacturers of complex engineer-to-order products believe that it is impossible to offer this level of personalization and self-service. This is not the case if the right technology is implemented and a change in perspective on B2B eCommerce happens starting from the top.

B2B eCommerce technology revolutionized the customer experience

There are many benefits to using B2B eCommerce, such as a personalized customer experience, advanced search features, video guides and how-tos, user-generated content, high-resolution images, real-time shipping information, 24/7 customer service, and a smooth purchase path. However, things have changed and businesses need to adapt to the latest trends in order to stay competitive.

Right now, manufacturers can use new tools to create a great customer experience. These tools are better than what you can do with a traditional sales rep or showroom visit. One of the most powerful tools is a visual product configurator. This is software that lets your website visitors customize complex engineer-to-order products on their own.

A visual product configurator allows buyers to "play around" with your products and their various possible configurations. With a highly intuitive visual interface, they can resize sections, add or remove parts, upgrade features, and change colors. They can get up close and personal with your products, spinning them around to inspect them from every angle inside a real 3D scene.

The best configurators allow buyers to “use” their configured products before purchase—drive a car, operate a piece of machinery, or step inside a custom workshop. Virtual and augmented reality provide a realistic experience that brings products to life better than ever before. This gets buyers excited and connected to your brand on an emotional level that increases conversion rates by an average of 40%.

As potential buyers explore different options, prices for homes change quickly and dynamically in response to what people are willing to pay. This makes it easy for buyers to find a home that is within their budget constraints. The technical rules built into the back-end of the configurator ensure that every product that is configured is possible and meets the customer's specific requirements.

Once a buyer has finalized the configuration process, the software automatically generates a range of sales and engineering documents. This includes proposals and quotes, as well as engineer-standard technical drawings. The sales process is simplified and cycles cut from days to minutes. This satisfies today’s buyers' demand for instant gratification with minimal human interaction.

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Greater sales tomorrow begin with your decision now.