Photo: Photo by F. Armstrong
The pandemic has forced us to remove the “e” from e-commerce. Today, e-commerce is an integral part of sales and marketing. As a result, marketers learn about the digital marketing features they use to best adapt to new customer behavior. The education process influences the decisions you make in your analysis strategy.
Like most customer-centric businesses, B2B businesses are following in the footsteps of the B2C brand. What are the implications for B2B marketers?
Visible e-commerce trends
Ecommerce has been around for years, but it took time to identify consumer patterns. BOPIS (an acronym for “Buy Online Purchase In Store”) and its sister behavior BORIS (“Buy Online Return In Store”) appeared among buyers even before the pandemic. Click to collect and BOPIS and BORIS Cousins appeared as another customer option. All of this represents changes in consumer behavior and sets expectations for future transactions, regardless of brand or service.
Pandemics have accelerated certain types of e-commerce behavior. By eMarketer Global e-commerce sales are set to hit $ 5 trillion in 2021. The behavior established in B2C e-commerce is beginning to be carried over to company accounts that rely on online services and product ordering solutions. Companies now need to train their corporate customers and provide them with tailored skills.
Learning from the retail segment can benefit B2B companies looking to adapt to a more digital-based economy. Traditional retailers have found ways to adapt e-commerce and compete against their strongest competitors, the digital natives. They successfully blurred the line between the two experiences, in-store and online. Marketers of companies serving consumer and corporate customers will face similar decisions about which services to merge and separate. The starting point for these decisions lies in the analysis.
Related article: COVID-19 turned B2B customers into good ones
How are these trends affecting B2B analysis?
E-commerce improves B2B analytics strategies in two ways. First, data from e-commerce provides inventory management capabilities based on real-time data on customer behavior. The customer purchase data footprint requires an up-to-date analysis that reflects the frequency of retail transactions. Click and collect is the starting point for developing operations that best meet customer demand for a product. Imagine an improved ordering system. That way, you can move resources for your product or service right to the reception based on your client’s preferences and get a proper idea of the potential benefits of inventory management.
Second, the frequency of customer activity from e-commerce behavior provides new training data to support predictive machine learning models. Retailers can set up machine learning models that relate sales activity to customer decisions. In addition, retailers can forecast based on their activity, create better order plans, develop indicators of operational efficiency, and enable better communication between managers overseeing retail operations.
B2B marketers need to pay close attention to how companies respond to changing ecommerce norms. Office Depot has announced a strategy to split it into two business areas. One for B2B customers and the other for small business and consumer retailers. These types of details raise questions about the type of analysis best suited to your account, while also providing a custom view and integration options for your business and consumer data.
E-commerce also increasingly needs analytics that can highlight operational data and remove potential workflow bottlenecks such as data silos. B2B marketers need to keep pace with the evolution of analytics, especially as updates from traditional solutions like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are meant to serve commercial and consumer accounts. We also need to look at cloud platforms that can use data to determine operational performance and improve data management. The purpose of Microsoft Azure is an example of such a platform.
B2B marketers have long adopted ecommerce tactics downstream from their B2C cousins. However, the recent expansion of digital commerce has opened the door for B2B marketers to stay one step ahead with their customers and partners.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a digital analytics consultancy for small businesses. He reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions and provides recommendations and web development measures to improve marketing strategies and business profitability.
B2B marketers can learn from these e-commerce trends
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