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What Will the Future of B2B Commerce for Manufacturers Look Like?


The Future of B2B Commerce: Read about "What Will the Future of B2B Commerce for Manufacturers Look Like?" to learn more about B2B commerce & the future of B2B manufacturing.

Reimagining commerce is the new business imperative for manufacturers. Customers know what it’s like to shop on B2C platforms like Amazon where the buying journey is seamless, easy, and convenient. They expect a similar experience with B2B buying as well.

Can manufacturers live up to these expectations? How can they redefine the buying experience? And how can technology help?

Salesforce provided some insights into these questions in a recent webinar on How to Reimagine B2B Commerce for Manufacturers & Distributors with Salesforce. The session was led by four of Salesforce’s manufacturing and B2B commerce experts:

● John Mullins, Area VP, Commerce Cloud, APAC

● Kuldeep Upadhyay, Director, Industries GTM – Manufacturing

● Nikhil Dalvi, Solution Specialist, Commerce Cloud

● Raj Ravuri, Director, Global Industry Strategy – Manufacturing

Let’s start with the basics – What is B2B commerce and why is it changing? The term ‘business-to-business’ (B2B) commerce refers to the process of selling products and services directly to businesses. B2B buying has traditionally seen a slow uptake when it comes to technology. However, as the buyers evolved, so did the markets. A large number of B2B buyers today comprise of millennials; and they expect their B2B experience to be just as personalised and seamless as their B2C experiences. This becomes challenging for most manufacturers because of the complexity of their business processes, limitations of ERP systems, and siloed legacy B2B commerce systems.

Here’s what our experts suggest manufacturers can do.

The opportunity for change is significant

It isn’t uncommon for B2B customers to be frustrated by their buying experience. They may not be able to find the information they need on a manufacturer’s website. Or the transaction process may not be streamlined. Sometimes, good promotions and discounts are difficult to come by. Other times, shipments are hard to track.

Now let’s look at the other side. As a B2B seller, you could have your own challenges. Perhaps you aren’t getting sufficient visibility into customer metrics that can help you sell better. Or, you want to drive more revenue from long-tail customers, but your sales teams are too pre-occupied with non-sales activities like coordinating the status of various orders, and providing updates on inventory. Meanwhile, all around you, the competition is growing fiercer. New players are disrupting the market, and it’s important for you to find innovative ways of engaging the customer.

How will you overcome these challenges?

The future is here

Here’s what an optimised B2B ecommerce experience might look like. When your customers log into your digital store front, this is what they get:

● Personalised ecommerce accounts

● Curated product catalogues and renegotiated price lists

● Easy browsing with well-organised product categories (e.g., best sellers, newly launched offers)

● Personalised product recommendations and discounts

● Quick 1- or 2-click purchasing

● Simple reordering based on previous buying history

● Flexible payment options

● Easy tracking of shipment from a mobile app

All these benefits lead to a quick, easy, and seamless buying experience for the customer.

Meanwhile, at the backend, your teams have the data needed to quickly roll out promotions and recommendations that suit each customer’s unique needs.

Powerful dashboards provide timely insights into average spend per order per month, number of abandoned carts, order volumes based on products, wish list items, top buying customers, and other key metrics that help you identify new selling opportunities.

On your digital storefront, your teams can easily add products or categories, change menus, and perform other basic configurations with minimal coding, if any. And since the buying experience for customers has been streamlined and automated, your teams can reallocate more time to other growth opportunities—such as serving long-tail customers.

The end result? Your customers are delighted, and have no hesitation recommending you to other buyers. Your sales teams have achieved their KPIs. And your company is on a rapid growth path.

Accelerate B2B commerce transactions, unlock new revenue channels

With Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud, you can give buyers the B2C experience they demand, while also generating more revenue. The solution simplifies online buying with capabilities for fast reorders, contract pricing, custom catalogues, and more. It also empowers your sales teams with automated processes and 360-degree views of the customer for informed decision-making.

With our Quick Start Commerce Solutions, you can now launch a B2B digital storefront for self-service ordering in as few as five weeks.

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