Business-to-business (B2B) commerce is undergoing a massive digital transformation, encouraging higher customer expectations for a seamless experience and robust ordering options reports CloudCraze.
However, the US-based B2B commerce platform, a partner of Salesforce.com, claims that many B2B organisations rely on inflexible, outdated commerce systems, creating a gap between what B2B buyers expect and what enterprises can provide.
Among the findings of its just-released 2017 B2B Digital Commerce Imperative study is 27% of B2B organisations plan to spend at US$2m or more in the next year on their commerce systems to improve digital experiences.
The study asked nearly 200 B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses with an online presence about their pain points, investments, and priorities relating to commerce. Responses show that over 65% of B2B businesses are running on commerce platforms that are over two years old, demonstrating a lag in the implementation of sophisticated digital offerings.
“The digital shift is revolutionising the B2B commerce industry, so B2B businesses must re-evaluate how they interact with customers and execute sales strategies,” said Chris Dalton, chief executive officer (CEO) of CloudCraze. “There is a clear rift within the industry when it comes to the expectations of B2B buyers and opportunities provided by enterprises.”
As digital capabilities have improved, consumer expectations have also increased. The study found that in today’s B2B world, 55% of business buyers expect mobile access to a seller’s commerce platform, and 52% expect convenient payment processes. But many B2B commerce systems don’t provide these facilities and therefore experience challenges such as:
- Cost efficiency (37%)
- Providing a seamless, omni-channel customer experience (35%).
- Gaining a holistic view of the customer (31%).
- Effectively using commerce data (30%)
These pain points caused 31% of B2B businesses to miss out on an estimated US$2m in sales.
The study found that B2B businesses’ biggest obstacles in solving these issues are the cost of new technology (54%) and organisations’ reluctance to innovate (44%). This leaves companies in a constant state of increasing technological debt, as they fall behind to innovative and forward-thinking companies that are investing in these advanced systems.
Lack of alignment
B2B businesses recognise the need to provide quality digital commerce experiences; 38% of survey respondents said offering an outstanding buyer experience was their highest priority. Despite these priorities many organisations aren’t investing in technology to make them a reality; three in four say updates aren’t a top priority.
“B2B commerce is expected to grow at an annual rate of nearly 8% over the next three years,” said Ray Grady, CloudCraze’s executive vice president (EVP). “Therefore, technological advancements through cloud-based solutions should be the top priority for organisations looking to facilitate a quality customer experience.
“Self-service capabilities and advanced payment options allow B2B organisations to be more efficient and accurate with their ordering process, which will go a long way in improving the buyer journey and driving revenue.”
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