Drive a More Personalized Buying Experience for B2B

October 24, 2018 Valerie Howard

Digital Transformation Success will be Essential as B2B Commerce Increasingly Shifts Online

Nearly half of survey respondents believe they need to invest more in artificial intelligence, further showing the pace at which the digital economy is growing.

Implementing personalized customer experiences and offering real-time dynamic pricing across channels will become increasingly critical as eCommerce becomes the primary channel for a majority of B2B businesses within the next five years, according to a recent survey from Hanover that PROS commissioned.

To gain a stronger perspective on B2B expectations and digital initiatives, 700 decision-makers at companies in numerous industries were interviewed, including those in process manufacturing, medical, automotive and industrial manufacturing, B2B services, and distribution. Respondents were also located in North America, France, Germany, and the UK.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they currently have a digital transformation underway, the study found, as demonstrated in the infographic. Additionally, 40 percent reported that they have a digital transformation planned for within the next 24 months.

The shift to eCommerce is also accelerating quickly. Currently, 20 percent of those surveyed said that more than half of their sales are derived from eCommerce. Sixty-two percent said that they are expecting the majority of their sales to be from eCommerce within the next five years.

Even with approximately three-quarters of respondents seeing eCommerce as an advantageous business opportunity, there are still critical pain points that must be addressed to put buyers’ minds at ease. Maintaining consistent customer experiences, coordinating pricing, and providing consistent product catalogs were all pain points sellers encountered in the shift to digital channels.

Furthermore, maintaining competitive pricing, protecting price attainment, and directing customers to the products they need were also listed as top eCommerce concerns. This is where organizations can benefit from offering dynamic pricing to their customers. When companies understand what their customers value, they can then optimize pricing to maximize the value exchange of each customer engagement.

The majority of organizations – 81 percent – have already invested in dynamic, real-time pricing, while 81 percent said they invested in guided selling technologies. Eighty percent reported that they have invested in personalized prices and promotions.

The survey also determined that artificial intelligence (AI) is set to play an increasingly important role in eCommerce. Seventy-three percent of respondents expect AI to be essential or a high priority for sales and marketing in two years, with 48 percent saying it is essential or high priority to stay competitive currently.

Improving customer service, meeting customer demands, increasing revenue, and achieving cost savings were all listed as top ways that AI can potentially help organizations, according to the study. Business efficiency can also benefit from AI, with respondents noting that AI can help them enhance operational efficiency and employee productivity.

Just under half of respondents – 48 percent – said they need to invest more in AI, with 36 percent reporting that they are currently investing the right amount. Nearly all of those surveyed also said that they feel AI will help them drive a competitive advantage.

AI has the potential to help sales people flourish, not replace them, as businesses continue on their digital journey. Whether an organization utilizes AI to find price recommendations or predict what a customer may need in the future, it can be greatly beneficial. Every business decision and customer interaction can be informed through organizations having myriad information and insight.

Buckle up, check your mirrors, and rev your digital engine – investing in new technologies will be critical to staying competitive on the road to the future of commerce.

About the Author

Valerie Howard

Valerie Howard, Solution Strategy Director at PROS, manages the go-to-market strategy for the PROS pricing solution portfolio. As a former user and product manager of PROS solutions, she has firsthand experience in the transformative benefits and competitive advantages that can be realized through pricing technology. Valerie earned an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering through a scholarship at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

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