Chapter 4: Investments in B2B digital commerce heat up

There was a monumental shift to digital in the B2C space during the COVID-19 pandemic — and the same is true for B2B digital commerce. 2020 was the year when the vast ecosystem of manufacturers, distributors, and large retailers used B2B digital commerce channels to browse products, receive quotes, and make large purchases online.

The rise of self-service B2B digital commerce

Eighty percent of all B2B organizations are moving or have moved to digital commerce. In looking closer at the CG industry, nearly half (48%) of respondents implemented self-service B2B digital commerce solutions in 2020.

Companies with revenue of $1B or more adopted self-service tools at an even greater rate (52%) than those with revenue of less than $1B (48%). A cohort of this size likely has electronic ordering in place through an electronic data interchange (EDI), but the increased investment in B2B commerce could indicate that even large businesses are modernizing with self-service channels versus traditional EDI processes.

B2B digital marketing takes priority

It should be no surprise that as B2B commerce becomes a more important engagement channel, B2B marketing is also bubbling up as a spending priority. Targeting buyers with direct marketing and increased trade spend, including promotions, was also a priority along with new product introductions.

B2B marketing

Conclusion: What’s next in consumer goods?

In the great B2B digital acceleration of 2020, CG leaders have invested in critical areas in order to stay agile and relevant through the black swan event of the pandemic. Results from the survey indicate that digitization of the supply chain, field execution, and customer service was a key indicator of success in 2020 — and will continue to be a priority for leaders in the near future. As CG leaders start to think about where to invest next, one thing holds true: The relationship between the brand and channel partners must be at the center of everything.

Learn how to digitize the B2B route to market for your business

An integrated route to market makes all the difference. Discover four best practices:
  • Streamlining account management
  • Optimizing field execution
  • Providing superior customer experiences
  • Incentivizing channel partners

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