In the B2B space, the digital-first experience for manufacturers, distributors and retailers is accelerating at a rapid pace. At Digital Commerce 360 Envision B2B, the focus of the conference was on connecting strategy to execution to build a solid digital B2B experience.
Digital Commerce 360’s Mark Brohan, VP, B2B and Market Research Development provided opening remarks. He shared some of the organizations’ original research and how to incorporate technology to further digital transformation.
- Companies with the right eCommerce and strategies are in a prime position to grow as more businesses transition to online
- Manufacturers, regardless of size, will be expanding eCommerce efforts to turn first-time digital buyers into long-term valued customers
- B2B buyers are rapidly switching to online channels and it will be permanent and that is where much of their spending will occur
- There is tremendous value in thinking a digital strategy all the way through – many companies are jumping in and not giving strategy attention
Creating a Better Digital Buying Experience
After the opening remarks, DG Macpherson with Granger shared how Granger leveraged technology to create a better buying experience to gain a competitive advantage. The organization is on track for 80% of sales to be digital by next year. He shared tips for creating a digital-first strategy.
- Technology isn’t the solution itself – figure out how to incorporate the tech
- Align the operations and technology
- It will take longer than you expect. We all want to go faster but reality there’s a cadence you learn (and adjust) as you go. You will make progress along the way
- Talent is critical – may need to enhance your existing team with different skills
- Top leadership needs to be visible in technology efforts
A Marketplace to Connect Manufacturers to Buyers
Next, Randy Alschuter, Xometry CEO provided insights into how the marketplace used data to match buyers looking for on-demand manufacturer to provide an instant price quote.
He noted technology is used reduce operating costs, buy materials for less, get paid faster and maximize capacity all to deliver better results to buyers.
In this age of supply chain disruption, a marketplace that connects buyers to manufacturers that have exactly what is needed is what will combat these supply chain issues and improve the buyer experience to keep them purchasing online.
Snacking is Big Business
The final morning of Envision B2B brought in the retail side with a fireside chat with Rob Birse from Kellogg and Paul do Forno from Deloitte Digital.
They discussed the opportunity digital brings for B2B retailers. Kellogg’s B2B business focuses on convenience stores, non-restaurant food establishments (such as hotel kiosks or corporate cafes) and uses data to relieve pain points to increase sales.
Birse explained when it comes to the B2B digital experience, we’re at the frontier. Kellog created a culture that incorporates innovation and makes failure comfortable, as long as things fail fast and fail forward. The idea is failure is a learning opportunity, especially for digital pioneers.
Getting into the Digital-First Mindset
The final keynote of the conference was given by Barry Litwin, CEO of Global Industrial. He started by saying that digital commerce is now mainstream. No longer a threat to sales organizations, eCommerce is woven into the fabric of how companies go to market.
He shared Global Industrial’s framework for growth:
- Build a leading omnichannel leading experience
- Provide a leading product assortment
- Offer a Knowledge Center
- Develop Operational Excellence
- Create a Stellar Customer Experience
B2B eCommerce Advancements
The fastest-growing channel in manufacturing is eCommerce. While online is not the only channel, it’s a significant one that is rapidly increasing. The pandemic served as a catalyst for digital, creating opportunities for growth.
According to Digital Commerce 360 research, U.S. B2B commerce sales grow nearly 18% in 2021 over the previous year reaching $1.64 trillion, or 12.5% of all manufacturing and distributor sales.
The research also underlined that 32% of B2B buyers rank eCommerce as the single most effective channel, making eCommerce a formidable channel.
The way to success is building a strategy and being nimble to be flexible as things evolve. Digital practices are now part of the B2B decision and buying process so if your organization is waiting to see what will happen, we already know – the transformation is happening now.