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Trending B2B Strategies for 2023: Change is the Constant

By Carlos Barbery - Whirlpool
Senior Director Sales, Operations & Customer Care Latin America


Carlos Barbery By Carlos Barbery | Senior Director Sales, Operations & Customer Care Latin America - Mon, 02/27/2023 - 10:00

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In the new millennium and especially in the last two years, we have witnessed change at an increasing speed. B2B commerce is no exception, so we must be informed not only about the changes but also how we are going to deal with them, to offer an optimal service to our customers and thereby increase our sales volume.

The most successful companies today are those that put customers at the center, but first you have to know them, understand what their needs and expectations are, their buying habits as well as the challenges they encounter when obtaining the products they require. Moreover, we must take into account the challenges that trade faces on a global scale, such as a potential economic recession, political crises and problems in the supply chain.

The B2B Customer

Before a review of the sales trends that are coming for 2023, it’s important to know the specific characteristics of our B2B clients that differentiate them from the final consumer.

First, the customer is not an individual, but a company with specific needs, long-term goals and the  intention to sell on a large scale, so it buys in large volume. These customers seek efficiency when buying. Their purchasing decisions go through several levels and are based on the characteristics of the products.

In addition, B2B customers are looking for a longer-term relationship with their suppliers, although the loyalty issue is evolving lately: a survey by Wunderman Thompson shows that 90% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor if the digital channel of a supplier could not meet their needs.

Everything, or Almost Everything, Is Technology

Technology is the great ally of B2B sales. According to the 2022 B2B Buyer Report, carried out by Sana with almost 1,300 buyers, 50% of them make their purchases on e-commerce platforms and 75% of the products are purchased online.

Technological tools aren’t only being used to sell. They are an essential assistant for analyzing customers. Thanks to data analytics and artificial intelligence, we can understand the customer journey in detail; that is, the entire purchasing process, from the moment the customer identifies their suppliers to the post-purchase experience. You can find out when your products are in greatest demand, prepare your stock accordingly, and plan customer retention and loyalty strategies to maintain your returns.

Companies that have not yet adapted technologically to current times are obsolete. Therefore, having an administrative tool, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is imperative since they allow greater control over the company and obtain metrics for customer knowledge.

However, despite the efforts that companies are making to update themselves technologically, customers still report difficulties with their online purchases: 50% of B2B e-commerce sites do not fully meet their expectations and most of the problems are found in the delivery and tracking of their purchases (44%), the relationship with their suppliers (39%) and the visibility of the product features (34%).

Trends in 2023 and Beyond

Since we cannot ignore the technology of B2B commerce, the trends that prevail for both 2023 and the subsequent years are precisely technological:

  1. Composable e-commerce. This is about combining the necessary management functionalities and features in an application customized for specific business needs, which allows management of the company in a simple, fast and above all, flexible way.

  2. Emphasis on the visibility of the products. Over 30% of shoppers are frustrated by the lack of visibility into product features, or come across inaccurate or incorrect information, making it difficult to purchase. Therefore, companies will want their products to be seen perfectly on their platforms and will try to offer the most complete information on each item, from their characteristics to inventory.

  3. Optimization of buyer analysis. Companies will improve their analysis of the customer journey to understand their needs and find solutions that meet them more clearly.

  4. The profile of sellers evolves. Many people feared that e-commerce would cannibalize direct or channel sales, but digital channels have not replaced people. B2B sellers will be able to take a more consultative and strategic approach, taking the time to mentor customers and building personalized relationships in addition to e-commerce.

  5. Better shopping experience. Fundamental changes to digital interfaces will be implemented to boost website performance, mobile responsiveness and personalization as well as the implementation of better search and payment features.

  6. Real-Time in-store pricing. Companies will try to be more competitive by establishing contextualized real-time in-store pricing, adjusted and personalized, which will help customer loyalty.

  7. Sustainability in e-commerce. Energy efficiency will be sought by avoiding traditional processes that generate waste. With data hosted in the cloud, many consumers will appreciate the company's effort to support sustainability, boosting their confidence in having a more conscientious provider.

  8. Increased security. Efforts will be made to have greater protection, mainly of confidential customer data, as well as to avoid the various frauds, attacks and cyber threats that endanger the information that companies protect.

  9. Unified commerce. This consists of connecting the back-end system to the company platform that customers can see, thus improving the customer experience in all channels and eliminating many of the problems faced when buying online.

The Human Factor

These are just some ways in which companies will seek to increase their sales electronically. As we can see, the optimization of the customer experience, sustainability and security will continue to be present.

In an era of constant and exponential change, largely due to technological transformation, we cannot forget the human element. The data is there, perhaps better organized and processed by a machine, but it will be the human mind that will make the decisions and that will know how to establish relationships of trust and reliability with each client.

About  Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) is committed to being the world’s best kitchen and laundry appliance company, constantly striving to improve life at home. In an increasingly digital world, the company is driving innovation to meet changing consumer needs through its portfolio of iconic brands, including Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, JennAir , Indesit and Yummly. In 2021, the company reported nearly $22 billion in annual sales, 69,000 employees, and 54 technology research and manufacturing centers.

Photo by:   Carlos Barbery

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