As 2022 draws to a close, it’s impossible to ignore global markets that have faced multiple challenges from supply chain issues, rising inflation, labor shortages and a looming recession. However, businesses have faced these challenges head on and made significant strides in innovation to adapt to market changes and meet the ever-evolving expectations of their more discerning and diverse customers.
We’ve identified 4 key trends for 2022 that dominated the year in content discovery, B2B commerce, and omnichannel commerce.
1. AI & Automation Drive Operational Efficiency
Using AI-powered technology with a focus on automation is becoming a key focus for businesses of all sizes and industries to improve operational efficiency across business functions. Automation is used to replace labor-intensive tasks associated with maintaining and maintaining product content so that employees can focus on larger, strategic activities. This improvement allows businesses to save a significant portion of their budget from outside contractors who charge $100,000 to continually update product content.
B2B manufacturers and distributors use automated sales processes to provide a self-service digital sales experience to improve sales performance. As B2B buyers become more independent in their buyer journey, businesses are finding that adopting AI-powered automation solutions is critical to their digital transformation.
2. B2B digital commerce is evolving
2022 marks the year of greatest change in B2B commerce. McKinsey & Co research shows that 65% of B2B companies sell exclusively online. More B2B organizations sell through digital channels than in-person sales. The shift from offline to online channels is monumental, but the shopping experience remains lackluster. More than two-thirds of B2B buyers prefer remote human interactions or self-service over traditional interactions. However, research shows that only 13% of B2B digital commerce sites have a targeted sales experience to help shoppers find their ideal purchase and also lack consistent product content to facilitate digital sales.
Such a shift requires B2B organizations to fast-track digital transformation and focus on delivering customer experiences that emulate consumer brands and retailers. Those who prioritize CX and content discovery will be leaders in the coming years as buyers become loyal to them and salespeople find these organizations more enjoyable to work with than traditional ones.
3. Phygital and hybrid trade has re-emerged
The customer journey is not linear. some consumers will only shop online, some will research online and then go to a store to buy, while others go to a store and then shop online. Consumers approach their customer journey in a way that best fits their lives. This means that brands and retailers must remember that each of their channels must be consistent in their experience in order to properly engage customers to buy from whichever touchpoint they prefer. In-store shopping is still king, but that doesn’t mean e-commerce or digital channels have to take second place.
Consumer brands and retailers are paying attention to the need to evolve the physical and digital customer journey to not only attract customers, but also help with labor shortages. Consider using interactive kiosks or QR codes on product displays that lead to AR experiences or conversational assistants that can drive in-store discovery without relying on staff. Using in-store kiosks with built-in content discovery experiences and shopping support helps shoppers get personalized guidance without having to speak to a sales associate. These figital or hybrid commerce experiences combine the strengths of both digital and physical channels to create a superior customer experience to drive sales.
4. Relying on short-term performance marketing is harmful
Once upon a time, brands and retailers could invest heavily in advertising campaigns across social media channels, PPC or retargeting and see significant ROI. Those days are over. By focusing on brand building over direct marketing activities, businesses are losing millions on social ads that generate fewer and fewer conversions. There are several reasons why consumers are inundated with ads from brands that rely on such audiences to target customers, it’s easier than ever to expand your e-commerce presence across channels, and competition is getting tougher as e-commerce expands. last few years.
Consumer brands should focus on building a brand and connecting with their customer by being the easiest to buy from. That means investing in technology that helps product discovery, where they can easily find what they need. When a consumer willingly engages in a discovery experience, it’s easier for businesses to market to them because you can develop the stated preferences and needs of that consumer versus guesswork. Being able to truly connect with customers is critical to building a brand.
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