For many years, we were all excited about online ordering, and after that came the Mobile Applications, but the age in which we all live today is the age of Hyper Convenient Experiences. Technologies nowadays are less about new and cool innovations and more about how we can use websites and digital tools to complete online transactions easily and to perform other tasks. Technology is constantly adding convenience to our life by automating and streamlining once-manual tasks and by providing us with new ways to Communicate, Shop, Learn and Interact. In 2021, it is expected more than ever that E-Commerce experiences will evolve to become simple, convenient, intuitive, and fast.
Some Technologies take time to infiltrate our lives, but others become an essential part of our lives in no time. Enterprises such as Google have become an essential part of our lives that “To Google” has replaced the phrase “To Search Online”. Amazon is another successful example because it has cornered the market in such a way that it is capitalizing on more than 50 percent of all online product searches.
Let’s take a look at how expectations and trends will shape up during 2021 with regard to B2B E-Commerce.
Younger Buyers and Digital First B2B E-Commerce:
The B2B world is rocked by an increasing amount of millennials entering and being involved in the decision-making of this industry. An increased number of B2B buyers are getting younger, three-quarters of millennials are running or at least involved in the decision-making process of B2B purchases for their organization. This means a much larger percentage of online purchases and buyers who would like these transactions to be as simple as possible as the rest of their digital life.
As huge as 83 percent of millennial B2B buyers expect E-Commerce to keep them more informed than was traditionally required. Around 60 percent of these B2B buyers would stop doing business with a B2B vendor who is based solely on Mobile and is difficult to reach. Also, 89 percent of these want the sellers to use E-Commerce technology to create a personalized service for them. So looking at all these expectations and requirements E-Commerce should be the King here with your sales team, Offline Channels, and other such resources and tools serving as a support team.
Voice Search will Rise to new heights:
Voice Search and other Voice-Enabled technologies are here for quite a time now, and all of us are thinking when will be the time when this becomes the new norm? The answer is now. We are living in a new phase of a digitally evolved world and Voice-enabled technology is becoming a major component of it. Moreover, we live and work with gadgets that are all fruits of technological advancements. We barely ever stop using our phones, it is always in our hands, and also we all work in one way or another with computers.
Many of us also depend on voice-enabled home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa for tasks like, playing Music, Sending Messages, Setting reminders, and even re-order stock. Hence the legwork is done and now is the time when voice search and vice order is inevitable. B2C is more likely to adopt this technology before B2B but B2B will also follow quickly.
Artificial Intelligence will not have its time yet:
All of the E-Commerce Development technologies and advancements will have one thing in common i.e. the technologies in use will all establish a clear and valuable use case. And those that do not have a practical value-addition to them will remain as gimmicky innovations towards which the community is taking a wait-and-see approach. The most interesting and notable technologies in this not-yet phase are machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The adoption and use of AI-based technologies are increasing but the pace is still slow and we will not see enough practical opportunities for it yet or become an E-Commerce must-have. According to the Website Gartner, AI-derived Business value will rise to 3.9 Trillion Dollars by 2022. This is because AI has a meaningful impact on customer satisfaction, revenue growth, and cost reduction. In the long run, Artificial Intelligence can not only help in the automation of the process but will also be used to optimize E-Commerce through machine learning. This can be in the shape of better conversions, enhanced search functions, and much more. AI can be used to suggest better search terms, predict order based on past practices, and understand the customer’s request regardless of how the question is sentenced.
As the demand continues to rise and the markets get even more competitive, businesses are merging and working with each other to serve their customers better. We can expect to see a larger number of online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. We can also expect to see more and more Brands selling online beyond their own website. However, these mergers and other such relationships with resellers also come with some problems like they can require a new E-Commerce Front-End or a New Brand name. Hence it is better to be aware and be prepared for embracing Marketplaces in B2B because by next year online marketplaces are expected to account for 40 percent of the Global Online Retail Market. This impact is already there in B2B, especially on the procurement side.
According to an estimate by Gartner, 75 percent of B2B Procurements will happen through an Online Market place within the next 5 years.
Blazing Fast Order Fulfilment:
Gone are the times when it was acceptable to place an order online and then wait for the delivery for a week or even longer to receive the product. Nowadays thanks to Amazon and other such enterprises who have raised the bar for customer delivery expectations, Next Day shipping is desired and even in some cases, before the customer has completed the purchase. Hence 2021 will see businesses investing in more reliable and efficient order fulfillment modes and strategies. Even next day delivery would be replaced by within an hour delivery times. For B2B this means if a customer wants a specific product on a job site, then he or she would like to place an order with such a seller who is ready to go above and beyond the norms to deliver as fast as possible.
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