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Preferred Business-to-Business (B2B) Purchase Channels in Five Years’ Time as of 2022

Preferred B2B Channels in the Next 5 Years

In the rapidly changing business world, being at the forefront and pioneering innovations is critical for growing your brand. In an environment where technology constantly evolves and market dynamics change, how businesses source their products and services is also transforming. For instance, digital trade in B2B had been predicted as the next big development for years, but at the outset of COVID-19, 60% of B2B companies either lacked e-commerce capabilities or had very limited ones. Yet, B2B companies that had invested in e-commerce infrastructure experienced growth close to 30%.

The pandemic accelerated digitization, and the dominance of e-commerce in B2B finally began. By February 2022, 65% of B2B companies had ready and accessible e-commerce infrastructure. B2B buyer behaviors are changing, consumer-like expectations lie at the heart of successful B2B trade, and manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers need to shape customer experiences accordingly.

Today, 73% of B2B buyers want a personalized B2C-like experience. 83% prefer to place orders or make payments through digital commerce, and 72% are willing to purchase across various channels. Given this information, several trends shaping the preferred B2B purchasing channels in the next five years are predicted.

Let’s discover what might happen in the future:

E-Commerce Dominance and Developments

E-commerce, as mentioned above, has been on the rise in the B2B sector for a while and this trend is expected to continue. In fact, businesses will increasingly turn to online platforms to organize their supply processes and will evolve. One of these evolutions is the cloud-based commerce system: cloud-based commerce is when a business hosts its e-commerce infrastructure in the cloud instead of on local servers. This process makes brands’ commercial operations more flexible and scalable.

A business can increase or decrease resources as needed and is also quite successful in data backup and security compared to traditional choices. Considering that 64% of internet users are connected to the internet via mobile devices, cloud-based systems also make a difference in terms of mobile compatibility.

Cloud-based commerce helps businesses provide a more competitive, customizable, and scalable e-commerce experience. These approaches enable businesses to respond better to customer needs and manage their operations more effectively. This creates a distinction, giving you an advantage in growing your business.

Mobile Commerce

Mobile applications and responsive websites offer great convenience to B2B customers by providing access to catalogs, offers, and order histories anytime and anywhere. Moreover, there are benefits to effectively utilizing the mobile side of e-commerce, as listed below:

Increase in Mobile Usage:

Businesses may want to access websites while traveling, conducting fieldwork, or even when they are out of the office. Therefore, a mobile-friendly website ensures that customers and business partners can access it from any device.

Competitive Advantage:

Having a mobile-friendly website can create a competitive advantage, especially if your competitors don’t have one. Your customers and business partners might prefer businesses that offer a more user-friendly mobile experience.

Ease of Communication:

Mobile-friendly websites enable businesses to communicate with their customers and business partners more easily and quickly. Features such as contact forms, chat options, and call buttons simplify communication for mobile users.

Analytics and Data Collection:

Mobile-friendly websites assist you in more effectively collecting data to track and analyze visitor behaviors. This helps businesses better understand the needs of their customers and improve their marketing strategies.

Considering factors like customer satisfaction, online visibility, competitive advantage, and data collection, it’s essential for businesses to prioritize developing and maintaining a mobile-compatible website.

Rise of AI-Supported Sales Tools

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to fundamentally transform B2B sales tools. Predictive analyses, chatbots, and recommendation engines will assist businesses in making informed purchasing decisions. It’s anticipated that AI will enhance the overall buying experience by providing personalized product and service recommendations.

Artificial intelligence can swiftly analyze vast amounts of data and extract meaningful insights from it. This helps businesses forecast future trends and demand based on past data. The use of AI is especially critical in areas like inventory management, demand forecasting, and stock optimization. AI can also be employed to offer customers personalized experiences. For instance, algorithms can analyze customer preferences and past purchases to provide tailored product recommendations. This can boost customer loyalty and stimulate sales.

AI-powered chatbots can be utilized on websites and applications to provide customer services and support. This allows businesses to quickly answer customer questions and solve problems, thus enhancing customer satisfaction. AI can also assist businesses in managing financial risks. The use of AI in areas like credit risk analysis, fraud detection, and early identification of financial malfeasance enhances the financial security of businesses.

Blockchain for Transparency

In a 2022 survey, 37% of the participating B2B buyers indicated that suppliers’ websites would be the most preferred B2B purchasing channel within the next five years. In second place, 35% of B2B buyers said they would prefer to purchase via social media channels, while 28% of the participants ranked both the metaverse and voice assistants as the future’s preferred purchasing channels.

Blockchain is a decentralized ledger system where all transaction records are stored in an encrypted manner. This ensures B2B transactions are more transparent and reliable. Businesses can securely manage their supply chain processes and contracts on the blockchain. Blockchain facilitates the implementation of smart contracts. Smart contracts are programs that automatically execute when specific conditions are met, minimizing contract breaches. In B2B processes, such contracts can be used in various areas such as automating payments, tracking deliveries, and managing supply chain activities.

It can be used to trace the origin and history of products and components. This increases consumer trust, especially in sectors like food, pharmaceuticals, and luxury goods. B2B businesses can better monitor their supply chain processes and products. They can make supply chain processes more efficient. Product tracking, inventory management, and logistics can be better planned and optimized through blockchain.

Advanced Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR provide effective tools for businesses to train their personnel. Especially in hazardous jobs or training related to the use of complex machines, virtual simulations can mimic real-world experience. This can aid in better training of employees and better preparation in terms of job safety. Additionally, VR and AR can expedite product design and prototyping processes. Product designers can create and test their products in a virtual environment. This can reduce costs and facilitate faster product development processes.

AR provides customers with the opportunity to virtually try and examine products. Particularly when it comes to the sale of industrial machines, construction equipment, or large products, AR can enhance the customer experience and encourage faster sales. Technicians can identify malfunctions, view instructions, and resolve issues more quickly using AR glasses. This makes service processes more efficient.

VR and AR offer possibilities for remote work and collaboration. Businesses can interact with employees or experts in distant regions, collaborate, and resolve issues.

Navigating the complexities of international expansion requires deep market insight, strategic foresight, and tailored sales strategies. With the ever-changing dynamics of e-commerce, AI innovations, blockchain transparency, and the immersive capabilities of VR and AR, breaking into new markets is both an art and a science. Metheus Consultancy stands at the forefront of this transformative landscape. Our seasoned expertise in B2B market and sales consultancy positions your business to not just enter, but excel in new territories. Let’s redefine boundaries and seize unparalleled opportunities in global markets together. To learn more about what we can do together, contact us!