B2B Market Trends 2019
So, what’s driving the B2B customer in 2019?
1) Personalisation is driving sales and loyalty
70% of businesses said they were improving client experience because customers expect more personalisation. Brands have always understood the importance of delivering rich, compelling experiences across touch points. Now, new research from DMA and Winterberry Group, published together with support from Pitney Bowes, shows that “customer experience” as a practice has taken on new meaning, with more than 95% of marketers saying enhanced customer experience is an area of focus for their organization, and 57% calling it a “top business priority”.
2) The B2C Experience
More than 8 in 10 business buyers want the same experience as when they’re buying for themselves.
A recent Salesforce report indicates that vendors are improving, but can do a better job. Fully two-thirds of business buyers surveyed think vendors are providing more retail-like experiences than ever before. But at the same time, half have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience, and close to half (45%) believe most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.
3) Being there 24/7
Today, the data goes beyond customer profiles and extends into journey mapping. Understanding who the customer is, what their product preferences are and how they prefer to shop will drive more targeted communications that reach the right customer on the right device, at their moment of need.
Technology’s influence on the B2B customer in 2019
“Businesses that don’t prioritise mobile are missing a clear opportunity”
Research from a study by Google and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reports that mobile usage drives or influences more than 40% of revenue in leading B2B companies. As many as 51% of B2B search queries are conducted on smartphones. BCG reports this figure will grow as high as 70% over the next two years.
Mobile B2B users spend an average of two hours each day on their devices and this is expected to increase to three by 2020.
It’s important that B2B marketers don’t underestimate the impact of mobile usage on their business’s bottom line. Demonstrating that mobile usage drives revenue can help marketers justify investing in advertising tactics like mobile-optimised landing pages and search ads that provide a positive experience for customers on their phones and tablets. Businesses that don’t prioritise mobile are missing a clear opportunity to effectively reach their customers where they are becoming increasingly more comfortable–on their phones.
Trade customers don’t just limit their research to the office.
The BCG study reports that mobile B2B buyers are more likely to work from home or conduct research while commuting and traveling. This has implications for advertisers who can now reach potential customers outside of normal business hours. Additionally, it allows a reach over a wider geographic region.
Avoiding the pitfalls in 2019
“Nokia failed to recognise the increasing importance of software. It also underestimated how important the transition to smartphones would be.”
Amazon, eBay, and Facebook were among the first batch of proactive companies to recognise the untapped potential of mobile apps, placing mobile app development at the heart of their core digital business strategies they quickly realized apps would become an integral part of the B2C (Business-to-Consumer) infrastructure as digital interactions and patterns of consumer behavior pointed towards mobile commerce. They were right.
Amazon and eBay were formed towards the end of 1995, and Facebook even later in 2002, yet all three have become well-established players on the FTSE 500 for a long time―underlining the relationship between mobile apps and their ability to produce real and sustainable revenue generation. On the contrary, those slow to digitalize and embrace both mobile and electronic commerce lost out to their online rivals.
“Toys R Us and Mothercare were both powerhouses in their respective industries”
Toys R Us and Mothercare were both powerhouses in their respective industries, but poor digital planning and naivety regarding the need for mobile and electronic commerce contributed to the failure of Toys R Us and assisted in Mothercare’s drastic decline. It is important to be proactive when catering to the world’s digital requirements particularly if competitors are already making moves to accommodate.
(Singlegrain Report, 2018)
Paving the way with B2B Mobile Apps, an
Given the staggering amount of time people spend using mobile apps and how comfortable consumers are buying, ordering, gaming, planning, learning, socializing and working via their apps, it seems extraordinary that the B2B sector has been sluggish to follow suit.
The fact becomes even more peculiar when you stop to consider that many B2B companies have registered trade customers that place repeat orders―many of these orders coming via outdated methods that require manual order re-entries such as telephone, email, and fax. Mobile apps are so successful because they give returning customers the digital platforms they now expect in the digital age.
“Apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites”
But it is not just the customers that benefit, wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers can significantly improve and streamline their sales and marketing processes via mobile and electronic commerce.
Digital ordering eradicates costly and time-consuming issues associated with traditional ordering methods. In years to come, the B2B sector will follow in the footsteps of B2C, where success will again be determined by those quick to recognise the switch to digital ordering methods and those simply reacting to the changes.
For companies that want to deliver on the promise of mobile, B2B mobile apps offer a way to increase engagement with mobile users, and turn more of their site visits into actual purchases. Furthermore, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors are making these kinds of apps more accessible than ever, and companies at all sizes and stages are beginning to implement them.
(Digital Turbine, Forbes, 2018)
The rise of the Millennial B2B Customer
Millennial’s are constantly trying to adapt their technological lifestyle into their work.
The millennial generation is changing the world, as we know it. Like it or not they need to be embraced, not fought against if your B2B business is going to thrive in the long term.
When it comes to your millennial B2B buyer, they often love their job and work/life balance involves them being online all the time, embracing new technologies and companies that change to meet their ever-present business needs. Millennial’s are constantly trying to adapt their technological lifestyle into their work.
‘I want it here, now & I don’t care how’ the well-known millennial mantra, must form part of your B2B customer journey as the need to embrace digital and responsiveness in brand & technology engagement have all become part of the B2B buyer behavior.
Just because they may be young, they may have less experience than you or they may not have all the same qualifications you and people are your SME may have, remember that millennial’s have grown up in a world with smartphones, computers and applications always being a part of their lives.
Millennial’s know how to do things faster, more efficiently and sometimes with better results. Treat them as equals, embrace their paradigms and ensure you understand what makes them tick and your B2B experience will be far smoother for you and your company.
Limitless Selling Power
“The 2018 state app usage report shows that mobile app usage is growing 6% year-on-year”.
Mobile applications are transforming the way in which brands are connecting with their customers, and B2B companies are starting to follow suite. Research Verve ran with Wildness, revealed 95% of in-store purchases were influenced by a mobile ad or push notification; whether that be a direct engagement with the ad, or simply an exposure that prompted the consumer to act, hinting at the limitless possibility of app selling power.
Mobile app environments work inherently faster, in comparison to mobile web. This speed ensures consumers can access content quicker, which augments to the overall experience in providing the right message, at the right time. 62% of millennials prefer to shop and browse via app, due to the personalised environments and speed of purchase.
Apps have spurred on the growth of features such as location accuracy and push notifications.
Apps create a kind of ‘pin-board’ of interests; a depiction of a customers buying habits through what they like, where they go and what they do, all within a trusted environment.
This ‘pin-board’ of interests, generates accurate and precise insights that can be drawn on to benefit the user experience and improve the publisher app itself. This type of bespoke in-app experience has led to B2B customers citing they are more willing to share their data, in exchange for more personalised experiences.
If SMEs want to be more productive and stay relevant in an increasingly digital world – more work needs to be done.
Small businesses are the mainstay of the British economy. Of the nearly 5.7 million businesses in the UK, over 99% are small businesses employing fewer than 50 staff.
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