Guest post by Nina Petrov.
The spread of eCommerce has dramatically changed B2B marketing and distribution. While B2B vendors were initially slower to embrace eCommerce than consumer marketers, B2C actually represents a much smaller share of total online sales today.
According to Shopify, “Revenue from online B2C transactions in the US reached $875 billion in 2022. The B2B ecommerce market, however, accounted for $1.8 trillion during the same period.”
Long gone are the days when B2B companies delivered software on physical media or relied on catalogs to reach their ideal target audiences. Today, B2B sales prospects turn to the Internet not just for product research but also purchasing.
This post details four predictions for key B2B eCommerce marketing trends in 2023.
Use of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have transformed B2B eCommerce marketing, enabling companies to deliver a more tailored experience to their clients.
B2B companies can use AI and ML to gain a deeper understanding of client behaviors, needs, and priorities. Some applied methods include the following:
- Client segmentation: Companies can use AI and ML to identify and group prospects based on shared characteristics or behaviors, allowing them to target specific groups of potential buyers more effectively. For example, best email marketing practices have long included using different mailing lists for different types of prospects or existing clients who share certain characteristics.
- Personalization: By leveraging data and analytics, B2B companies can use AI and ML to deliver a more personalized shopping experience to clients, including personalized product recommendations and promotions.
- Predictive analytics: AI and ML algorithms can analyze vast amounts of client data to provide insights into future behaviors and trends. Companies can then use this data to inform subsequent marketing strategies and improve the overall customer experience.
Chatbots and digital assistants are also an increasingly important tool for B2B eCommerce marketing. By using natural language processing, chatbots can provide clients with quick and (usually) accurate responses to their questions and concerns. This not only improves the customer experience, but also frees up valuable time and resources for marketing and sales teams.
Focus on Personalization
Personalization is arguably even more important for B2B companies than their B2C counterparts, given that B2B vendors typically deal with a much smaller number of potential customers and much larger average transaction values.
Business buyers are looking for a more authentic and trustworthy experience that is tailored to their individual concerns as well as their organization’s needs and preferences. This trend is driven by the increasing availability of eCommerce shopping options on the whole, as well as the growing use of technology in the B2B buying process.
Personalization offers many benefits for B2B companies. By delivering a more tailored purchasing experience to clients, companies can improve customer engagement, build brand loyalty, and drive repeat business.
B2B companies can deliver personalization in a number of ways, including:
- Using comprehensive data analytics to understand client preferences and behaviors, and even technical elements like link building stats. There are numerous analytics tools available today that help companies better understand their data in order to make informed strategic marketing decisions.
- Personalizing marketing messages and ads to reach target accounts in a relevant and meaningful way. Start by conducting market research to discover what works best for your target audience. You can design an assessment and share it with your existing clients, or you can take it a step further and share it on your social media accounts to get more extended reach. Make sure to ask the right questions to find out how to design, for example, the most compelling YouTube Ads for your audience.
- Offering customized pricing and promotions based on client history and buying behavior. This approach goes hand-in-hand with providing a personalized shopping experience through features like account-based shopping or custom catalogs.
The increasing use of personalization has been one of the most prominent overall eCommerce trends over the past couple of years, and will increasingly affect B2B marketing practices as well.
Video Content Marketing
Video content is important for B2B eCommerce companies looking to better engage with prospects, promote their offerings more effectively, and boost sales. As digital channels continue to evolve, video content is emerging as a powerful medium for B2B brands looking to stand out in the crowded eCommerce landscape.
Video is an effective way to engage with target accounts and convey complex information in an easy-to-understand format. There are several different types of video content that B2B companies will use this year to drive better results:
- Product demos: Demo videos are an effective way to showcase the features and benefits of products. They’re great for all sorts of industries, including SaaS marketing, where it’s important to give a visual overview of how a software application works.
- Client testimonials: These are an excellent way to build credibility with potential accounts. By showcasing real-world examples of how others have benefited from your products or services, you can help to build trust and drive sales.
- Educational or informative videos: General how-to videos and industry tutorials are a great way to provide additional value to clients and present your brand as knowledgeable and resourceful.
- Company culture and values: Company culture videos showcase the values and personality of your brand, e.g., eco-friendly solutions and policies, helping to build a more authentic connection with target accounts.
By leveraging the power of video, B2B eCommerce companies can improve the overall customer experience, increase engagement rates, and build brand awareness.
Social Media and Influencer Marketing
B2B eCommerce companies will continue to make more sophisticated use of social media to reach their target audiences this year, by engaging, not just broadcasting. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook offer expanding opportunities for B2B businesses to connect with potential clients in a way that is both professional and personal.
By consistently posting valuable content and engaging with followers on social media, B2B companies can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry and build a strong brand presence.
Tying into social media presence, influencer marketing is another key trend that we will see more of in B2B eCommerce marketing. By partnering with industry influencers, B2B companies can tap into their unique following and increase brand exposure to many more qualified leads.
Influencers already have an established community around their own brand, and a level of trust with their highly relevant audience. B2B companies can partner with influencers to create sponsored posts, product reviews, or co-branded content.
Moreover, creating meaningful long-term partnerships can help you develop a healthy eCommerce ecosystem and achieve constant organic growth over time.
In 2023 and beyond, B2B eCommerce marketing will continue to rapidly change. Companies that stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the emerging trends and opportunities will be best positioned for success.
By focusing on delivering personalized experiences and leveraging new technologies and marketing approaches this year, B2B businesses can build stronger relationships with their clients and greater engagement with prospective future customers.
Nina Petrov is a content marketing specialist, passionate about graphic design, content marketing, and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her little white bunny tends to reply to your emails when she is on vacation.