Welcome to the Make It Big Podcast. This bi-weekly audio series is about all things BigCommerce ecommerce.
This episode explores emerging trends that will help you take your company into the future. Sergei Ostapenko, Mira Commerce’s CEO and President, joins Fiona Norton, BigCommerce Product Marketing Manager to discuss the results of BigCommerce’s recent Trend Report on how B2Bs are improving their Ecommerce experience.
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Episode 18 of The Make It Big Podcast
Fiona Norton – Tell us about your B2B business. What industries are experiencing the greatest success selling B2B online? And where is the greatest growth?
Sergei Ostapenko said: “Interestingly, back in 2019, Forrester predicted that only 17% of B2B transactions would be online by 2023. But look at what we have today. It’s amazing that online shopping is used by more than half of B2B companies. It is amazing to see how far we have come in these short years.
“What we’re seeing is that businesses in verticals such as healthcare and wholesale distribution such as automotive, aftermarket parts, accessories, and parts, are continuing to streamline their B2B cross-channel sales efforts, and are expanding their B2B channels.”
“We’ve seen many new site redesigns, channel launches, custom application builds, and a lot more. Most importantly, what I see in 2020 and 2021, is the shift in the SMB/mid-market space. Companies are now streamlining their wholesale and retail channels online. They integrate the B2B channel into digital, using and improving the investments in retail sites to power B2B use cases em>
FN What about the buyer side of things? What is the difference between today’s buyers and those of the past for B2B?
SO: “This transformation is the most exciting, Fiona. B2B buyers today are much younger than they were a few years ago. They are mobile and self-sufficient and can use chat messaging and click to call functionalities. It’s not a group of old friends.
“Secondly, they are free from legacy mindsets. They are very open to digital self-service models. They are less accepting of marketing and sales disconnects and actually view an adverse learning model. It isn’t as old as the old training.“[B2B] buyers prefer to do digital discovery over talking with sales reps. They’re also quite mobile and constantly shifting between digital and physical.
They expect seamless experiences with both B2C and Amazon sites. They will quickly research the products and educate themselves, only interacting with you when they are absolutely necessary.
“If I had to sum up, I would say that modern sellers to B2B buyers need to be digitally proficient and will need to share deep insight with these buyers.” They must engage with buyers to create solutions .”
FN How can you see B2Bs harnessing the power of headless Commerce to create unique experiences?
SO: “Headless” is growing, but to be sure everyone remembers the basic definition of the term: Headless commerce refers to an ecommerce architecture that allows you to decouple your front-end website from your backend shopping platform, ecommerce platform, or functionality. You can modify, customize, or update your backend without affecting the front end.
It’s opening up many possibilities for merchants. This architecture can be used in many different ways. It is possible to create custom business rules. Integrating with other systems is possible. Your custom integrations can be built in a flexible manner. Additional custom applications can be deployed in the cloud and into your shopping cart to enhance the storefront experience.
It allows you to be independent of any vendor solution and to enable plug-and-play functionality for various systems of record within your ecosystem. It can enhance your B2B buyer personas and provide meaningful marketing to them, creating that WOW effect em>
FN. More than a third of all B2B companies have a similar focus on B2B and C. What are the best ways for companies to sell B2B and B2C online
SO: “In the most typical scenario, you can create separate customer groups for B2C as well as B2B via the website. Each group can have their own pricing categories and products. This is enough to allow basic B2B shopping in many cases. However, it does not work for all cases. This is a beautiful and elegant way to create a B2B experience for your B2C website. You can leverage your investment to make both sites more powerful.
“However, complex cases will become more common as you grow your B2B business, have multiple members of your supply chains shopping there, and you need to allow complex scenarios like promotions, bundling, and so on.
“The majority of platforms have excellent B2B extensions, or you could consider headless implementation. This allows you to create custom experiences for B2B buyers and set up custom storefronts. These platforms may be able to address some of the challenges and potential opportunities.
“We are seeing a lot more innovation in this space, particularly in the last year, with mid-market traders who are finally seeing the opportunity materialize and so much more podium shift online in these B2B transaction.”
FN What is the best word to describe B2B ecommerce’s future?
SO: “Well-integrated. That’s what I believe is the current trend. Orchestration between channels and orchestration of the user experience. Follow [customers] throughout their journey, particularly post-purchase.
“Understanding your brand’s touch points and understanding their context and needs is key to their success. This cannot be achieved without integrating the B2B buying experience into all other digital streams within your company.
“That digital thread is no longer about the shopping basket. It’s not about all-in monolithic versus headless. It’s about experiences that are decoupled.
It’s about a digital web that ties together all the data points and experiences. You integrate them all into a beautiful, well-constructed experience