Learning How to Adapt to a Digital-First Market: Manufacturers and Distributors

In today’s digital ecommerce era, B2B businesses feel excited and possibly anxious. With many asking those lingering questions regarding digital transformation, when and how to digitize has become a consistent priority as B2Bs empower more significant growth.

In this article, we will answer common questions and assure you that there has never been a better time to expand your lines of business by building your digital presence and streamlining digital processes. 

What is the Current B2B Landscape?

Globally, many B2B companies of all sizes are already focusing on growing and enhancing their ecommerce storefronts and changing how they interact with their B2B buyers. B2B companies are digitizing their direct and indirect selling initiatives. DigitalCommerce360 found that 87% of B2B buyers would pay a premium for a supplier with an excellent ecommerce portal. So the difference between who will succeed and stand out amongst the competition and those who won’t will depend on who successfully delivers true and omnichannel customer engagement experience.

Benefits for Manufacturers Making the Digital Transformation

While B2B buyers' expectations and needs increase, there's a greater demand for streamlined customer experiences from the first entry point to purchase. There is clear value in optimizing speed and personalization. Many manufacturers adapting to these rising needs are seeing exponentially increased targeted spending, consumer loyalty, more significant revenue streams, and more.  And those that don’t…that same DigitalCommerce360 survey goes on to say that if a supplier’s digital channel can’t keep up with their needs, 90% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor.

What Capabilities Are B2B Companies Incorporating to Make the Next Shift?

As B2B companies work toward improving their ecommerce presence, they should think beyond just ecommerce and build a fully integrated Digital Storefront. Some key capabilities include making robust product data available, offering a fast and easy checkout process, the ability to create quotes and send to sales rep, built-in customer adoption capabilities, intelligent personalization, optimized mobile experiences, and efficient ways of engaging customers.

Considerations When Selecting the Right Ecommerce Platform

Are you considering replatforming or investing in your first advanced ecommerce and/or digital storefront platform? If so, you’ll want to vet each option carefully. First and foremost, make them prove beyond the shadow of a doubt they can really do the things you require for your site. So many platform sales reps say they can do advanced B2B capabilities but ultimately can’t. Make sure to clearly understand the implementation and upgrade process for each and any additional systems required. Lastly, think about the future. Assume you will grow and the platform will need to grow with you. Tell your vendor what you will likely need as you grow and confirm they can deliver on that without major upgrades. Properly vetting vendors can save your business valuable time and money and potentially avoid future headaches.

Focus Digital Transformation on Customer’s Needs

Frequently, B2B companies choose an inside-out approach and make their strategy decisions, measure investments, and resource allocations based on internal benchmarks. However, to be successful, businesses must switch their decision-making mindset to be based on customer metrics. Focus on customer satisfaction, adoption and loyalty, which can be quantified and qualified.

Taking Your B2B Company to The Next Level

Provide your customers a personalized, effortless shopping experience. ROC Commerce builds dynamic and compelling websites that successfully consider and serve customer's needs. ROC Commerce maximizes every visit to your website with intelligent marketing and personalization capabilities.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Just as you would if you opened a new brick and mortar store, set realistic goals for success of this new storefront. Plan for additional spend in marketing, training and management of your digital store. It will require attention and energy to drive “foot traffic” to your site, advance adoption cycles, overcome customer and employee resistance and countless other obstacles for your new or updated endeavor to flourish. 

Additional Reading and Resources

ROC Commerce, in conjunction with Americaneagle.com and other partners, will soon be releasing a detailed Whitepaper outlining considerations and what to prioritize for your business in an ecommerce platform, as well as a RFP template that will provide a great starting point for evaluating different platforms.

Please contact us if interesting in pre-registering for that whitepaper or wish to speak with one of our experts to explore ways ROC Commerce can empower a digital storefront for your business, today or in the future.