What’s in store for the future of B2B Commerce? We found out – and much more – at this year’s B2B Next conference. From sessions to groundbreaking keynotes, we discovered that the new reality for B2B commerce is very different – and it couldn’t be a more exciting time to be in the industry.

  1. “Digital transformation” is not just a buzzword. Digital really does transform the B2B industry because of how integral digital technologies have become to business operations. Digital is not just another “channel;” it’s a new way to connect with customers and orient your entire operation around the digital customer lifecycle.
  2. B2B customers have higher and higher expectations. As B2B companies witness a generational change in their workforce, their leadership is feeling the heat of having to cater to digital natives’ and millenials’ preferences for interactions. When you’re trained by experiences with Amazon, Google, etc., it’s hard to expect less.
  3. The “always on, always available” commerce experience is the new expectation. This is the new standard of service for B2B transactions. Customers don’t want to wait until they can make a call to place orders; they expect the tools to be available right when they need it.
  4. Change management is critical to the success of digital strategies. As more customers place orders online, what happens with the “deal desk” or employees hired to manage their orders? These are the fundamental questions to understand as leaders begin this digital journey. One organization answered this question by bringing that staff, with their high degree of product knowledge, into product support roles to further increase brand loyalty and customer lifetime value. 
  5. There’s a huge opportunity here. Everything we heard at B2B Next underscored one message: the opportunity is happening now. Organizations are seeing massive ROI from implementing cutting-edge digital experiences, with results like increasing brand loyalty, more efficient transactions, increased customer lifetime value and increased customer satisfaction. Who wouldn’t want that?
  6. …But there’s roadblocks as well. The organizational roadblocks cannot be understated. Implementing a digital strategy requires a cultural shift and a technology shift. If you’re implementing a digital transformation without looking at how it affects the organization, then you’re going to struggle.
  7. Without AI, B2B leaders will fall behind. As customers expect more and more tailored interactions, as well as more content within the commerce experience, organizations need to look to AI as a way to scale. Instead of implementing rules-based segmentation or implementing personalization manually, B2B commerce leaders can use AI to do this automatically – and provide mission-critical insights into their users and business.