B2B stores must become more user-friendly in the new year and support the needs of business customers with special features. We introduce the most exciting trends in B2B ecommerce in 2019.
1. User experience as in B2C
B2B shops were rarely as user-friendly as shops for private customers. They offered sober functionality to the shopper. This will change in 2019: Online shops for business customers are increasingly geared to shops for end customers in terms of comfort. The customer should be the focus of attention.
This is not only expressed in terms of design and usability but also use additional functions for B2B customers. They can more easily configure bulk orders, use time-saving quick-order features, and set up regular purchases of consumables. This clearly puts the user experience in the focus of B2B eCommerce.
2. Use social media for business
In the B2B area too, social networks are becoming more important. However, Facebook, Twitter & Co. are used differently than in the private sphere. There are also business platforms such as Xing and LinkedIn.
Brand building is the focus of B2B. Companies can score points with useful information and convey their know-how in order to attract new customers. Customer care also gains a new dimension. B2B providers set themselves apart from other companies by setting accents with competence and a personal touch in social networks. For example, they can introduce their friendly staff, give rare insights into production or logistics and refer to their social projects.
3. Present products visually
Complex articles put more emphasis on 2019 B2B shops with visual elements. Videos or 360-degree views show devices or parts from all angles. This always makes sense in B2B if the products require explanation. For the purchaser, it is immediately obvious whether it is the correct execution. He is spared the call to the customer consultant, which relieves the customer service of the B2B shop.
With features like interactive exploded views, B2B retailers are still on the go. For example, replaceable parts of a product, which can be reordered individually, can be marked in such a graphical view. The customer places them by clicking directly into the shopping cart.
4. Triumph of Voice Search
The language-based search has become popular in a short time and will play a bigger role in the B2B sector in 2019. Business shops must be prepared for the fact that customers not only search for information with the help of voice input and language assistants, but also search for products and control the shop with spoken commands. In this context, voice commerce is also mentioned.
Business language assistants already exist, such as Alexa for Business or the adaptive Watson from IBM. But only a few shop solutions are prepared for the new requirements. Already in just over a year, by 2020, half of the search queries on the Web will be done by voice, predicts ComScore.
5. Chatbots and Conversational Commerce
Just as language revolutionizes shop use, so messengers and chatbots will change customer dialogue. Chatbots relieve customer service by answering frequently asked questions on their own. If the customer requires individual advice, the chatbot records the customer information and passes the conversation fluently to the human consultant. The chatbots also support the service staff in conversations with text suggestions, which of course can be adapted as desired.
One of the most exciting trends in 2019 B2B eCommerce is Conversational Commerce, which uses Messenger for customer service and targeted advertising. Tools such as WhatsApp thus serve as an additional channel for customer dialogue. They integrate with CRM and ticketing systems and take into account the trend that customers always communicate and shop on their preferred channel.
6. Machines as B2B customers
In the Internet of Things in 2019 more and more machines will visit the B2B shop and order their own spare parts. The production facilities of Industry 4.0 monitor themselves. They can identify worn parts that need to be replaced and get supplies. Namely, before a part fails and production comes to a halt.
According to Statista, the Internet of Things is expected to count 27 billion devices, sensors and machines as early as 2019. The automated ordering processes of smart things save time and resources for B2B customers.
Conclusion: 2019 Trends in B2B eCommerce
The trends in 2019 put the focus on B2B customers and their procurement processes. B2B ecommerce is becoming more comfortable, faster and much is automatic. This increases the demands on the shop systems, which have to come up with functionalities for language-based searches or visual, self-explanatory product presentations in 2019. In addition, short, efficient order paths are required – or even completely automated orders. At the same time shops must become more user-friendly for business customers if they do not want to lose the connection.
Customer communication is also changing. Social media and new channels like Messenger put the focus on the customer who is picked up right where he is.