As the founder and CEO of beauty industry marketplace Landing International, Sarah Chung is in a prime position to foster commerce among brands and merchants during times of both challenges and opportunities. While dealing with the ramifications of COVID-19, for example, Landing International has attracted 185 beauty industry brands to its B2B online marketplace.
Sarah is a former CEO of Periscope Solutions, a market research agency with such clients as Johnson & Johnson, GoSmile and Vitamin Water. She will share her insights on the growing importance and influence of B2B marketplaces at the online event “Fast-Tracking B2B Ecommerce Sales & Expansion,” which Digital Commerce 360 will present on Aug. 12.
We recently caught up with Sarah—who since 2003 has worked with more than 300 brands and retailers—to get her take on trends in digital commerce.
DC360: What is driving B2B companies like Landing International to expand online?
Chung: B2B commerce is mirroring the consumer environment, where matching, transacting and sharing is happening online. Especially in today’s environment, when trade shows and business travel is limited, B2B companies like Landing are looking to replicate decades-old practices and interactions in the digital world.
DC360: What are your biggest internal or and external barriers?
Chung: COVID has made recruiting and training new employees even harder and more competitive. You are not just competing with other companies but with people’s changing ideas about work. Our biggest external barrier is sourcing and onboarding new brands when travel is limited and we are working on a bootstrapped marketing budget.
DC360: What are the chief gains you’re realizing?
Chung: We have seen an uptick in the number of brands that are signing up. Without any marketing, 185 brands have joined the platform in the last 15 months.
DC360: What is the most valuable piece of advice you have on how to launch online B2B sales or increase them?
Chung: Henry Ford — “Nothing happens until someone sells something.”
DC360: Regarding COVI-19, what is the biggest adaption your company has made?
Chung: The beauty industry heavily relies on relationships, Market Week meetings, trade shows, and other in-person events. We have had to adapt to working with brands, retailers and partners, without the normal cadence of industry events and meetings.
DC360: What existing trends will the pandemic accelerate?
Chung: The pandemic accelerated being able to find more information online as a buyer and new ways to train and engage in-store associates. At Landing, we found ourselves becoming more creative about how we use the communication channels we have available to us.
DC360: What new ideas will become trends?
Chung: In some of our online events, we created mascot avatars to enliven the experience of a typical webinar. It was an innovative way to engage with industry contacts, and we think this type of creativity and innovation, even in the B2B space, will continue.
DC360: What post-pandemic needs will become opportunities?
Chung: I think once events start opening up again, we will still use digital solutions to enhance and support in-person meetings.
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