B2B E-commerce Personalization: Challenges and Opportunities

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B2B E-commerce Personalization: Challenges and Opportunities

February 10, 2016 by

To succeed in competitive markets, B2B e-commerce companies – like their B2C counterparts – are investing in personalization solutions. But for these businesses, adopting the same e-commerce personalization programs deployed by B2C organizations is neither sufficient nor adequate.

Why? Because B2B e-commerce involves additional layers of complexity. There are frequently multiple decision-makers and buyers within each business account for instance, and you often need to take into consideration annual contracts, negotiated pricing and other permissions or restrictions (e.g., limiting the ability to purchase select products).

Successful B2B e-commerce personalization programs provide B2C-like shopping experiences yet do so within the context of B2B purchasing frameworks. What’s more, they leverage the behavior and intent of each buyer across every business account, customize experiences at both the individual and account level, sync data between their CRM system and personalization solution, and deliver industry-specific recommendations.  Meanwhile, they do all of this in real time across web, mobile and logged-in environments.

B2B e-commerce personalization aims to streamline the buying process, making it easier and faster for customers to purchase goods. In fact, business buyers cite personalized recommendations as the second most important reason for making repeated purchases with the same vendor. Some examples of B2B recommendations include:

  • Relevant, account-appropriate product recommendations
  • Personalized boutiques that include only pre-approved items
  • Re-ordering recommendations based on the business account’s consumption history

This type of personalization requires that disparate technology systems share information and analytics. Your personalization solution needs to sync up with other business systems to know which buyers are associated with each account in order to deliver accurate and relevant recommendations. Account managers need to have up-to-the-minute information on purchases and online behavior via the CRM to effectively manage business relationships.

Although this may sound daunting, these techniques are increasingly about remaining competitive. Leading analyst firm Gartner predicts that B2B companies who take the initiative to implement personalization strategies will outsell their competitors by 30% by 2018.

For more information and inspiration, including visual examples and helpful tips, download our new ebook B2B E-Commerce Personalization: Trends and Best Practices.

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