Traditionally, when we think of B2B buying experiences we think of offline transactions taking place between a manufacturer and a retailer or wholesaler. Today, more than half of B2B customers make one out of every two purchases online.
In a world driven by the consumer’s experience and living up to their expectations, B2B businesses face the ultimate challenge. It’s effervescently clear that the B2B buyer’s desire for omnichannel and flexibility is there. 78% of B2B customers say fulfillment options i.e. next-day delivery and self-service access to accounts and orders is important.
So, what are the main challenges?
The main emerging challenges for omnichannel B2B sales include:
1. Back office integration across channels
2. Difficulty analyzing customer data across channels
3. Channel conflict between field sales force and B2B e-commerce
4. Employee or management resistance
Overcoming the Challenges
While omnichannel B2B e-commerce does have its challenges, innovative businesses are rising to the occasion. With the proliferation of mobile devices, we can now browse and buy anything we want, anywhere, at anytime. B2B businesses must provide a consistent shopping experience that flows smoothly across platforms and channels. Whether your B2B sales reps are in the store, or your buyers are using a desktop or using their mobile device to order goods, the selling-buying link should be fluid and connected. Here are some things you can do to overcome the challenges, and make the transition to an omnichannel business less painful:
1. Organization first
Many companies would agree that the biggest challenge they have to overcome, are largely organizational rather than technical. For instance, companies who lack management focus on omnichannel sales, or companies who create a separate department per each sales channel but fail to integrate across channels. These organizational issues can lead to major company reorganization and IT spend.
B2B suppliers that are savvy are always one step ahead of their buyers. Nearly 62% of B2B businesses have identified automated price optimization and personal recommendations high on their investment list. When you’ve anticipated your customer needs you’ve eliminated the chance of their experience being less than expected.
3. Mobility is key
Equip your sales force with mobile sales tools to showcase your product catalog, take orders while upselling and cross-selling, drive promotions, etc. Provide your B2B customers with a self-service storefront so they can easily order from you when needed. If your make your storefront available in a mobile app, your customers will be able to order whenever and wherever they are, even while offline.
Omnichannel sales platforms like Pepperi put everything reps need to sell right at their fingertips, and everything B2B customers need to buy on their own device via self service e-commerce web and mobile apps. With seamless integration to back-office systems and easy set up, you’re well on the way to overcoming many of the omnichannel hurdles.
In order to be successful in omnichannel e-commerce, it’s essential to organize wisely, think proactively, and adopt differentiating technology. Once these challenges are taken into consideration and planned for, your business can begin to reap the rewards of an omnichannel e-commerce strategy.
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