From global complex product manufacturers like Caterpillar, Konica Minolta, and Illumina, to distributors like MSC Industrial Supply Co., IBT Industrial Solutions, and family-owned Fairmount Tire and Rubber, the B2B companies covered in a new Digital Commerce 360 report and presenting at the EnvisionB2B Conference & Exhibition in Chicago next month tell how and why they deployed their digital commerce technology systems and the effect on how they connect with customers.
The report, B2B Ecommerce Technology Trends + EnvisionB2B 2023 Preview, includes several reviews of B2B companies and a preview of the full EnvisionB2B agenda, which features more than 50 speakers and 25 sessions. EnvisionB2B is scheduled for June 20 – 22 at the Hilton Chicago.
Joe Cicman, senior analyst for B2B digital commerce at Forrester Research, asserts that B2B sellers must review the functions that address the challenges they face in serving customers, then identify the ecommerce technology platform that covers those functions.
At EnvisionB2B 2023 next month, Cicman will refer to findings of a recent joint Forrester and Digital Commerce 360 B2B Digital Buyer study and discuss with Val DuVernet, senior director of digital strategy at pharmaceutical distributor McKesson Corp., the intersection of online B2B buyer demands and ecommerce technology strategies.
Among the survey’s findings: 70% of B2B buyers will increase their online purchasing of good and services this year, and buyers’ prefer purchasing on manufacturers’ ecommerce sites because of the quality of their product information. Those findings show that B2B sellers must find the right ecommerce technology to offer customers the best buying experience, Cicman says.
B2B companies “should examine potential ecommerce solutions to identify which ones cover the specific common functions they most value,” Forrester says in the March 2023 report, “Demystifying the Technical Functions of B2B Commerce Solutions,” written by Cicman with input from other Forrester analysts.
Some critical functions, for example, can include how ecommerce technology manages customer account hierarchies, contract terms and personalized product catalogs for each customer.
Gene Alvarez, distinguished vice president and analyst covering digital commerce technology at research and advisory firm Gartner Inc., says B2B companies today have plenty options for deploying ecommerce technology based on their resources and their customers’ demands regarding the online buying experience. Alvarez will lead an EnvisionB2B panel discussion and workshop on customer loyalty strategies.
He asserts that, as competition increases in B2B ecommerce and companies develop new and innovative ways to interact with buyers and make their customers’ jobs easier, it will be crucial for online sellers to operate commerce technology they can modify to keep up with new standards.
“As new innovation comes along, you need to” be able to bring about that new innovation because it will be table stakes within a year,” Alvarez says.
Manufacturers and distributors push ahead with ecommerce
“Everything we are doing with digital is about creating integrated and seamless experiences for our customers that help them be more efficient,” says Brent Steffen, Caterpillar Inc.’s director of ecommerce, who will give a June 21 keynote address about innovation in B2B ecommerce at EnvisionB2B 2023.
With corporate roots going back to 1873 and annual sales of more than $6 billion, Konica Minolta Inc. is well known as a global manufacturer and marketer of digital imaging products used in corporate and institutional facilities worldwide.
But the company is ready to reach and engage more customers more often, which is why it’s forging into B2B ecommerce.
“We are in a position of transition, change and transformation,” says Velinda Cox, senior vice president of ecommerce at Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc., in Ramsey, New Jersey, where she is spearheading the global company’s ecommerce strategy. Cox will give a June 22 EnvisionB2B keynote address on developing a new strategy for digital ecommerce and a supportive technology ecosystem.
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