Stay Ahead in 2023 with the Top 10 B2B Commerce Trends
With the uncertain economy, many B2B companies are questioning which strategies to adopt this year.
2022 has been a tipping point in many ways. The Ukraine war, inflation, fuel shortages, economic debt resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and heat waves… These events have triggered the need to identify and implement new B2B commerce solutions that suit the current reality.
What are the B2B commerce trends that have already proven successful? Additionally, which trends are expected to emerge in 2023?
Let’s examine the trends in B2B commerce.
Assessing the B2B commerce of 2022
The undeniable role of digital technology
Digitalization in businesses refers to the process of incorporating digital technologies and strategies into various aspects of a company's operations. Digitalization has enabled B2B companies to conduct business online, automate processes, and gather data for insights. Digital technologies help improve communication, collaboration, and productivity within the organization. They also enable marketing and sales strategies to reach and engage customers more effectively.
Examples of digitalization in businesses include:
- Implementing cloud-based software and platforms for data storage and management
- Using social media and other digital channels for marketing and customer engagement
- Adopting e-commerce B2B platforms to enable online sales and transactions
- Automating repetitive tasks
Overall, digitalization can bring many benefits to businesses, such as increased efficiency and productivity, cost savings, and improved customer experiences. However, it also requires organizational changes and training to adapt to the new technologies. In 2023, B2B companies will have to decide. Go digital or risk becoming irrelevant.
Digital technology has created many solutions for B2B commerce. Too many? Let's delve deeper and examine the specific B2B commerce trends and digital technologies that are currently gaining prominence in 2023. Most importantly, we’ll touch on those that are actually relevant for businesses.
Navigating the B2B Landscape: The 2023 Trends
1. The Rise of Omnichannel Strategies
Omnichannel is a retail strategy that allows businesses to sell through multiple channels, such as online, in-store, mobile, social media, and more, while providing a consistent and seamless shopping experience for customers. This includes the ability to synchronize and update inventory, pricing, promotions, and customer information across all channels and to be able to start an interaction on one channel and complete it on another.
In short, omnichannel is a way for businesses to connect their different touchpoints with their customers automatically, saving a tremendous amount of time. But for omnichannel to be fully operational, automation is essential. Automation in businesses refers to the use of technology solutions that automate repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on more valuable activities. It’s advantageous to invest in a high-performance management software that syncs with platforms that aid in business operations. Management software performs essential operations, such as faster order processing and centralization of data.
2. Go-To B2B Ecommerce: The Future of Businesses
As technology continues to advance, it is likely that the use of digital tools in B2B commerce will continue to grow.
Today, many B2B businesses are shifting to e-commerce platforms to sell their products and services, as it allows them to reach a wider customer base and streamline their sales processes. Businesses seek more efficient and convenient ways to conduct transactions. A solution for e-commerce B2B platform needs is Erplain’s B2B Store.
- Growth of mobile e-commerce: Mobile commerce is expected to continue to grow in popularity, as more and more B2B buyers are using their smartphones and tablets to make purchases. Businesses will need to ensure that their e-commerce platforms and digital channels are optimized for mobile use.
B2B e-commerce is evolving and relies on more technologies to simplify the buying process and improve the customer experience.
3. The rise and increasing use of AI
In 2023, companies are expected to continue to use artificial intelligence. Some examples of AI tools in B2B commerce include:
- Machine learning-powered product and pricing recommendations
- Predictive analytics for demand forecasting
- Natural language processing for contract analysis and automated document generation
Some B2B businesses are already using these technologies to improve their operations and customer experiences, by automating routine tasks.
But let's not forget that although B2B e-commerce should use AI for more efficiency, these technologies will never replace the traditional human interaction that is still essential for customer relationship management. Businesses need to find a balance between the application of such technologies and maintaining human presence for a more personal experience.
4. The use of data and analytics in marketing
The use of data and analytics is a major B2B commerce trend, allowing companies to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and target their marketing efforts more effectively. Here are a few ways that data and analytics may be used in marketing:
- Predictive modeling: Businesses use predictive modeling to analyze customer data and make predictions about future behavior, such as what products or services customers are likely to purchase in the future.
- Programmatic advertising: Programmatic advertising uses data and analytics to target ads to specific audiences, and is likely to become more prevalent in the future.
- Real-time marketing: This tracks customer behavior and responds to it in real time.
- Outbound marketing: This strategy aims at optimizing marketing campaigns using segmentation of customers and personalization to reach specific audiences.
This trend is likely to continue as data and analytics will help businesses gain a competitive advantage and deliver a better customer experience.
5. The Art of Hyper-personalization
Many businesses choose hyper-personalization as a way to meet the specific needs and preferences of their customers. Such personalization involves offering a wider range of options or working with customers to create customized solutions. Hyper-personalization includes:
- A more personalized offer: product recommendations, tailored prices and the ability to place an order according to specific needs. Businesses can increase engagement and drive sales.
- Building long-term relationships with customers: Companies focus on understanding their customers' needs and providing them with tailored solutions. Using the collected data, businesses can offer more personalized and effective customer service experiences.
- For example, chatbots and virtual agents are able to handle routine customer service inquiries, while AI-powered analytics are able to provide real customer service representatives with real-time insights and recommendations to help resolve more complex issues.
Optimizing a B2B e-commerce hyper-personalization strategy involves understanding users, segmenting the audience, and providing personalized product recommendations.
Overall, the future of customer hyper-personalization in B2B commerce will be shaped by technology, with a focus on tailored options and efficient customer service.
6. Cybersecurity: Securing B2B Commerce
With the rise of IT and digital tools, cybersecurity is an essential aspect of B2B commerce as it protects businesses from cyber attacks, data breaches, phishing, frauds, and other types of cyber threats. Today, more and more businesses conduct transactions online, hence the need for robust cybersecurity measures, such as:
- Increased use of encryption: Businesses will use more encryption technologies to protect sensitive data such as financial information, personal data, and trade secrets.
- Greater effort on network security: Businesses will focus on securing their networks against cyber threats, using technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and virtual private networks (VPNs).
- Focus on employee education and training: Businesses will focus on educating their employees on best practices for cybersecurity and how to recognize and respond to cyber threats.
See how Erplain focuses on cybersecurity
7. Streamlined Payment and Billing Options
Online options and modes of payment are now spreading in B2B commerce. They provide more flexibility for customers and encourage the purchase of goods. Such online options and modes of payment include:
- Subscription-based models: This trend is becoming increasingly popular, as they allow businesses to offer flexible and customized pricing options to customers, while benefiting from more predictable revenue streams.
- Payment in installments or fractional payment: this mode of payment is already being used around the world. It allows customers to pay for products in small portions throughout a fixed period of time, instead of paying in full at the time of the purchase.
- Contextual real-time pricing: Contextual real-time prices give suppliers the power to manage and adjust their prices. It also enables competitive pricing for customers in real time, across all channels.
- Mobile Wallets: These refer to phone-based payment solutions such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.
For other aspects of billing and accounting, B2B businesses can implement several options:
- Electronic invoicing (e-invoicing): This is becoming widespread, as it can improve the speed and accuracy of the invoicing process, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.
- Digital invoice management: The use of cloud-based platforms or software to store and manage invoices electronically, which can improve visibility and accessibility for businesses.
- Integration with other systems: The invoicing process can be integrated with other business systems such as ERP, CRM and accounting software to enable real-time data exchange, and to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the process.
In order to comply with tax and regulatory requirements, companies will have to adopt e-invoicing, e-archiving, and digital signature solutions.
8. The benefits of collaborations and partnerships
In a rapidly changing business landscape, companies are expected to increasingly look for opportunities to collaborate and form partnerships with other B2B organizations. This can take many forms, such as joint ventures, strategic alliances, and supplier partnerships.
Such cooperation can be beneficial for both parties as they can share resources, knowledge, and expertise, leading to increased efficiency, cost savings, and revenue growth. Additionally, partnerships can also help businesses to expand their market reach, gain access to new customers, and develop new products and services.
However, it is important for businesses to carefully evaluate potential partners and have clear agreements and communication in place to ensure a successful union.
2023 is likely to witness:
- More cross-industry collaboration: Companies will increasingly look to collaborate with partners outside of their traditional industry to gain new perspectives, access new technologies, and tap into new markets.
- Rise of Consortiums: Consortiums, (a group of companies that jointly develop or deploy a specific technology, product or service), are likely to become more prevalent as they allow companies to share the costs and risks of developing new products and services.
9. Countering global stresses through inventory strategies
Geopolitics events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine and global inflation have all had a significant impact on the world-wide economy and have affected B2B businesses in various ways. Adapting their reordering strategies has been necessary for some of these businesses, given the changes in consumer demand and the disruptions of the supply chain.
Some of the consequences on B2B commerce include:
- Redefining the scale of resupplying: Every business has learned a lesson from the last few years. Resupplying from across the globe has shown its limits. More and more are now turning to local suppliers, allowing reliability and consistency in delivery schedules. This also reduces dependence on countries such as China.
- Lean inventory management: This strategy involves maintaining lower levels of inventory to reduce costs and minimize the risk of having excess inventory that may become obsolete.
- Just-in-time (JIT) inventory management: This strategy involves ordering products only as needed, rather than maintaining a large inventory. This can help businesses reduce the cost of holding inventory and minimize the risk of having excess stock.
- Safety stock management: This strategy involves maintaining a small amount of inventory as a buffer against unexpected demand or supply chain disruptions.
- Diversifying suppliers: This strategy involves sourcing from multiple suppliers, rather than relying on a single source. This can help to mitigate the risk of supply chain disruptions and ensure a steady inflow of inventory.
These successive economic events have caused a shift in resupplying strategies in B2B commerce and has led to a greater need for businesses to adapt and be more resilient in the face of uncertainty.
10. Merging B2B commerce with sustainable practices
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration in B2B commerce. Many B2B buyers are concerned about the environmental impact of the products and services they purchase.
As a result, many businesses are looking to reduce their environmental impact and promote sustainability in their supply chains, by implementing eco-friendly practices in their operations. This involves working with suppliers who have sustainable methods, such as using eco-friendly materials and packaging, reducing carbon emissions, using renewable energy sources, and adopting circular economic models.
This trend is likely to continue as businesses seek to meet the growing demand for environmental stewardship.
The future of B2B commerce is likely to involve an increased use of technology and automation, which will allow B2B companies to enhance the satisfaction of their clients, optimize the operation of their supply chain and personalize their B2B approach.
They can also pinpoint problems faced by shoppers during the purchase process, boost sales, determine the most productive marketing methods and make budget choices accordingly.
To get there, the approach will include the use of advanced technologies to personalize interactions. Management software will automate repetitive tasks and provide real-time data and insights. Additionally, there will be an increased focus on digital channels, such as e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, as well as the use of mobile and digital technologies to enable seamless, convenient transactions.
In short, 2023 is going to gain momentum in B2B commerce with e-invoicing and e-ordering.
Check out Erplain and benefit from its automation features, in-depth sales reports and analytics, as well as a B2B e-commerce platform. Erplain is your Saas partner to make managing your inventory and B2B sales easier.