The tech revolution and its impact on the B2B world
With new-age tech transforming the ecommerce landscape, B2B players are investing in AI, VR, Big Data and leveraging social media to personalise the shopping experience.
India’s improved capabilities in creating better internet accessibility and the availability of affordable smartphones are leading to ground-breaking transformations in the tech-ecosystem. Discussions on the latest tech innovations in the mobile applications universe are now common even among semi-urban and small-town India, where internet penetration is undergoing phenomenal growth.
It is likely to witness a growth of 400 million internet users before 2022, of which growth from tier II and III cities shall constitute 56% of India’s ecommerce market.
Understandably, this opens up several avenues for businesses across sectors to invest in technology and tech-based B2B opportunities, as they begin to appreciate its resourcefulness in acquiring new customers.
Further to this, the fact that digitisation has led to the creation of a robust Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, enables processes in the B2B marketing space as well, which is proving to be a far more economical and effective prospect with the promise of better returns.
Influence of tech disruptions on businesses
Businesses realised the potential of moving their processes online, with workplaces across the world organising almost all of their communication through the internet, be it through emails or virtual interactions between clients.
Additionally, sales and marketing teams in organisations are being trained and up-skilled internally, so that they become more agile and get familiarised with tech advancements such as in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, digital sales, augmented and virtual reality, etc., going beyond the conventional mode of operations. They stand to benefit from it especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing people towards remote processes.
Sellers and marketers now have to stay on top of the constant changes being brought in by emerging tech and focus on the personalisation aspect of services, often expected by consumers. Such demands can be met only through wider application of advanced solutions such as AI-based response mechanisms, which now handles traffic on websites and apps of volume and magnitude unprecedented in history.
Marketing on social media and its impact
The average retailer is opening up sales by moving from offline to online processes, as B2B marketers indicate the digital space as an opportunity to tap into a new base.
Social media has disrupted every business sector around the world, with smartphone users in India spending an average 3.5 hours per day in 2019 on several apps like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and online games and other Messenger services.
This has increased by 24% in March 2020 to 4.3 hours per day, owing to the lockdown and work from home scenario. Nevertheless, it is much less than the average 4.9 hours/day spent by Indian millennials on their phones. Furthermore, active viewership is also experienced by vloggers, bloggers, and YouTube channels, etc., which have now become a hub for B2B marketing.
To attract eyeballs, affiliate marketing networks help publishers such as blogs, websites to interact with brands, helping all stakeholders get on board a single platform, allowing them to explore money making options through links provided to followers and subscribers.
A traditional marketing campaign would have incurred much higher costs compared to a digital marketing campaign as it often relies on macro-level market intelligence, which is an expensive resource for small- and medium-sized businesses. Digital marketing is likely to bring higher RoIs for the same investment.
In the US for instance, traditional and digital ad spending was pegged at the same level of around $110 billion in 2018, with digital ad spending projected to triple that of traditional ads by 2023 to almost $300 billion.
On the other hand, we are witnessing the large-scale success of targeted online B2B marketing. User preferences are recognised through search patterns and clicks based on Big Data analytics, which is a game-changer in the MarTech sector.
Not only is it a cheaper resource, it also provides organisations with nuanced data, which allows them to specifically target their ads based on the information collected from users’ conversations with chatbots, which is then used to create user profiles.
For example, if a user searches for office stationery or converses with a bot about it, the data collected about these preferences helps office supplies companies to direct their ads towards those specific users looking for those products. Every time he/she uses mobile apps or websites while browsing, these ads are shown on these portals as they are able to decipher user behavioural patterns to market their products.
The growth of such messenger services and influencer channels on them help the B2B processes flourish just through the integration of AI-driven chatbots, which directs customers to buy their respective products just as a customer service executive would do.
Ecommerce, Industry 4.0 and other tech transformations
If we were to take the entirety of the global ecommerce sector into consideration, the B2B retailer ecosystem has out-flanked the average annual growth of B2C retailers in recent years by almost six times in 2019, according to a B2B ecommerce report by Statista.
More businesses are now opting for online platforms to deal with vendors due to tech disruptions in supply chain and logistics as well as the trust and reliability over an established ecommerce website.
With tech teams simplifying user interfaces, the learning time for those who depend on offline B2B interactions has been eased. Personalised customer service has realised more B2B retention, as they are now allowed to improvise with their product offerings, making them stand out in the eyes of the consumer through their catalogs and portfolios, and creating an online identity for their brand.
Beyond the existing software innovations, state-of-the-art product tech is being developed. In the augmented and virtual reality space, unique solutions such as product demonstrations through wearable virtual headsets, augmented reality platforms by manufacturers showcasing personalised experiences, are seeping into the B2B sphere. This is opening up possibilities for experiential marketing.
Several corporate behemoths are eyeing these developments as an opportunity for brand recall as they now work with their B2B partners to develop distinctive product messaging to their consumers.
People will now have the option to check out products as if they were standing next to it, saving commuting time and speeding up purchases. Several other innovations are possible in opening up B2B opportunities as the behaviour of the consumer shifts predominantly towards non-physical forms of purchasing.
Businesses will interact with buyers and vendors to enable online catalogs, databases, digital marketing, etc., making it easier for people to buy from the comfort of their homes.
This article is written by Rohit Sakunia and originally published here