The most successful B2B eCommerce businesses change daily. Adaptation gives them the edge to stay competitive in today’s digital marketplace. Companies must prioritize software that streamlines processes and helps meet rising customer expectations.
But with limited time and resources, what B2B tech trends should you follow in 2020 and beyond?
Since DotcomWeavers is on the front lines of eCommerce development, we’re sharing 6 2020 B2B eCommerce Technology trends that offer a high-ROI in the year ahead.
No time for a full read? Don’t worry. Take a look at our TL;DR question at the end of each section. If you can’t answer YES to each one and back it up with data, then it’s time to talk to a developer.
Leads, conversions, and revenue are at stake.
B2B eCommerce Technology Trends #1: Better eCommerce Platforms
Is your eCommerce platform hindering your sales? It can be hard to tell…and uncomfortable if the answer is yes. No one wants to hear that the website they’ve invested time and money in is hurting their bottom line.
But trust us. It’s best to look now and, if necessary, switch platforms ASAP in 2020. Talk to a developer and get a site audit. You’ve got options.
WordPress is user-friendly, quick to set up, and has many eCommerce plugins. Where B2B businesses struggle however is customization. Each plugin you customize for B2B incurs a ‘software debt’ that becomes increasingly difficult to manage. Over time, it may become impossible to implement new features without breaking old ones.
Another strong plug-and-play platform that looks appealing as a short-term solution. Unfortunately, you’ve got to play by Shopify’s rules, which means limited customization options. You also risk getting lost in the crowd because Shopify sites…look like Shopify sites. For complex B2B sites with long-term goals, there are better platforms.
BigCommerce offers incredible business analytics so you can keep an eye on your performance. The downside is that BigCommerce is not open source. You’ve got to play by their rules for features, updates, and customizations. And they can update their pricing at any time.
Full disclosure: we’re a Magento Business Solution Partner. But that’s only one reason we’re fans of Magento 2’s B2B capabilities. As developers, we prize flexible, scalable software that supports integrations and customizations.
Magento Commerce edition comes with a suite of powerful native B2B features and the Community edition can be quickly adapted for B2B business. If you’re looking for a long-term eCommerce platform to build your business on, put Magento 2 on your shortlist.
Interested? Check out our handy Magento 2 Pros & Cons article.
Choosing your eCommerce platform is kind of picking shoes. Flipflops are perfect for the beach but a poor choice for the gym. It’s not about which platform is best. It’s about which is right for you.
TL;DR: Am I on the right eCommerce platform for my business?
Trend 2: B2B eCommerce Integrations
ERP. OMS. WMS. Adaptable eCommerce software and the integrations they require are critical elements for every online business. These enable, simplify and automate everything from inventory management and order fulfillment to customer service and taxes and payroll.
That’s why B2B eCommerce integrations are our #2 trend for 2020.
How efficient are your integrations? Is confusion between your platform and outdated software integrations costing you time and money? Have you overlooked software that could open new business opportunities, such as a punchout integration or new CRM?
TLDR: Do your integrations support current and future eCommerce needs? Talk to a developer. A few minutes is all they’ll need to tell you what’s working and what’s not.
Trend 3: Better B2B User Experiences
The not-so-secret secret of B2B eCommerce is that B2B customers expect B2C experiences. Make shopping for business as easy (and even fun) as personal shopping, you’ll see a lift in customer satisfaction…and your bottom line.
But how do you deliver great B2B shopping experiences? Focus on:
- Visual Appeal [ humans (even B2B buyers) are visual creatures ]
- Ease of Use [ intuitive navigation and smart search do wonders for conversions ]
- Personalized Content [ think customer-specific pricing and product selection ]
After reading this far, you probably noticed that B2B in 2020 is about simplicity.
Your B2B user experience should be as simple and straightforward as possible. If you’re not sure how to optimize your B2B UX, consult an eCommerce developer.
TLDR: Does your site help B2B customers find what they need? Answer their questions? Is it easy for them to do business with you?
Trend 4: Enhanced B2B Customer Support
This isn’t just an extension of Trend #3. Customer service is arguably the best marketing investment you can make in 2020.
What Amazon started other companies (and some in your industry) are perfecting: personalized, immediate customer service from real people. Why? Because customers expect it. They appreciate it. And they reward your efforts and reliability with brand loyalty and bigger orders.
Your primary tool is your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. A CRM like Zoho can help you keep your vendors, partners, and stakeholders in sync. It can drive your sales engine while building relationships. And it can automate almost everything so you can focus on the other trends in this list.
TLDR: Do you have automated CRM software that helps you build better relationships with new, current and future customers every day?
Trend 5: B2B Omni Channel Enablement
If your competitors have omnichannel capabilities and you don’t, you’re going to have a rough time in 2020.
Omnichannel, to recap, is about a frictionless experience for your customers wherever and however they choose to search, browse and buy. By integrating all parts of your business, you’ll provide seamless service that’s pleasant for customers and easy for you to manage.
Your systems must be coordinated, integrated and managed. Smaller companies may need to update OMS software, while bigger companies may need a complete ERP overhaul.
But every business is different and your path to omnichannel will be unique. A developer can help you understand what that journey looks like and the best way to get there.
TBDR: Do your eCommerce platform and brick and mortar store(s) connect? Can customers shop with you on all devices? Do your sales channels talk to each other in real-time?
Trend 6: Progressive Web Apps
PWA’s. You’ve heard the name. You know they present powerful growth opportunities for eCommerce businesses. But how? Why are progressive web apps a major eCommerce trend in 2020?
Progressive Web Apps load like normal pages but do so much more. They offer fast and compelling user experiences that extend the capabilities of native apps. Users can also access your PWA instantly – no need to download it from the App Store or Google Play.
We’ll make a separate post about PWAs in the near future. For now, know that PWA’s:
- Can be accessed offline or with poor web connectivity
- Help you engage with customers via push notifications
- Support information syncing even when the app is closed
Finally, PWA’s have a much lower cost and risk of adoption than a native app where you’d need different versions for iOS, Android, etc. PWA’s are browser-based and use the same code regardless of platform.
TL;DR: Progressive Web Apps are low-risk and lower-cost alternatives to native web apps that you can use to extend eCommerce capabilities, experiences, and profitability.
Bonus Trend: eCommerce Implementation Plans
We had to mention this. Nothing, no new technology or customization, is as valuable as knowing what you want to achieve and how you’ll do it.
“Not having a plan is often the biggest roadblock for eCommerce businesses. And the most successful online retailers have their eCommerce strategy laid out months, sometimes years, in advance.” – Amit Bhaiya, CEO, DotcomWeavers
A qualified developer should do more than update and enhance your website. They should be an active partner in the way you grow your business online. This means creating a cost- and time-efficient implementation roadmap that delivers the best tech upgrades throughout the year.
If this sounds foreign to you, or you’ve never worked with a development partner this way, we encourage you to reach out for a free consultation. Whoever you choose to work with, having a plan will give your business an edge online as you pursue other eCommerce trends in 2020 and beyond.
B2B eCommerce Technology Trends Concluded
TL;DR: This post isn’t about the hottest new technologies coming in 2020. It’s about helping you make the best technology decisions for your business.
What B2B eCommerce Technology Trends in this list will provide the best ROI for you? If you’re not sure where to start, our friendly eCommerce experts are only a call or email away!