The new year brings in new perspectives, opportunities, and insights to consider when creating your annual business strategy. The average B2C transaction in 2019, when compared to just 10 years ago, has clearly been marked by the emergence of E-commerce and that shows no sign of reversing. B2B transactions aren't isolated from this technological momentum.
“ In fact, according to one recent survey of B2B vendors, 57% of B2B companies believe commerce is rapidly shifting from offline to online, a point that seems to be validated by the significant investments B2C giants like eBay, Amazon, and Google have made in the space.” (Magento The Changing Landscape of B2B E-commerce).
This shift from offline to online transactions comes with operational requirements and customer expectations.
Redefined Customers Service
What does good customer service look like in 2019? While nothing will replace a friendly, helpful voice, in-person interactions with buyers have become more of a nuance than it was 20 years ago. The interruptive nature of in-person and phone sales can actually negatively impact a customer’s ability to do the purchasing.
According to Protocol 80 “82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared”. When sales professionals are ill-equipped to provide proper customer service with up to date product and pricing information, it can have a negative impact on the relationship with the customer.
So what is good service in 2019?
Year over year, the trends indicate that B2B buyers continue to prefer the option of self-service, online research and ordering over picking up the phone to ask for product and pricing information.
Along with wanting to make purchases online, industrial product buyers want the ease and convenience of user-friendly websites. 72% of buyers said they would shift their spending to a different distributor with a more user-friendly website, and that number increases to 85% with buyers age 21-30. These findings confirm the shift from relationship-based buying to the experience-driven trend.”- Fronetics
The changing customer expectations, highlighted by their personal online ordering experience, is making its mark in the B2B landscape.
Read More- Creating a B2B Digital Marketing Strategy
So what does that really mean for your business?
Well, it means that the status quo is changing and customer expectations are evolving, whether your business is ready for it, or not. The lawn and garden industry will not be immune to the next wave of technology-native business owners. Simply offering your customer base the option to order the way they prefer rather than the way you’re used to is a step in the right direction.
Fortunately, providing online ordering to your customers isn’t as expensive or complicated as it uses to be. Ten years ago, offering online ordering would require a $50,000 custom solution. Today, you can offer your customers a better online ordering experience and provide sales reps with mobile ordering for a fraction of that cost. So with all the trends pointing toward B2B e-commerce, it’s time to start looking at how your business can offer your customers online ordering.