B2B eCommerce

4 ‘must-have’ capabilities for your 2021 B2B eCommerce roadmap

Digital commerce capabilities are now essential for B2B businesses to survive moving forward and certain capabilities such as enhanced experience and mobile UX, are just a few that impact which B2B companies stand apart and foster customer loyalty. 

A decade back, functional but static storefronts combined with check out/cart functionality was all you needed to deliver in the online buying experience, but things have changed dramatically.

B2B companies are exploring ways to improve efficiencies and customer buying journeys. Providing personalised Customer Experience (CX) consistently throughout the buying journey is the demand of the hour, and a crucial pain point brands need to target.

So, what ‘must-haves’ need to be on your roadmap as your business evolves? From our perspective, these capabilities are the most sought-after.

1. Mobile application

Current research indicates that B2B buyers are also expecting a mobile experience. The content loads faster than web content and offers B2B buyers a new level of convenience. This means standalone web or desktop applications are no longer providing the great customer experience you need.

It’s worth noting though, that progressive web applications are a growing trend. We see this used in SAP commerce, through its Spartacus storefront.

2. Integration flexibility

Legacy systems are an ongioing challenge in complex B2B organisations and they tend to be inflexible and rigid. Companies are moving towards solutions that can integrate with third-party solutions easily.                                            

For example, with open APIs, you can easily integrate social media by using open-source systems such as Kubernetes on SAP Cloud Platform or KYMA to extend and connect various enterprise applications.

Even if you are not using an enterprise-level omnichannel platform through open APIs, you can add on headless systems for mobile optimisation, multiple payment platforms, social media integration, etc. to help provide an omnichannel CX at the end of the day. This can be done by using open-source systems to extend and connect various enterprise applications.

3. AI and chatbots

Utilising conversational artificial intelligence (AI) or chat bots have become a must-have for customer service, product queries, FAQ and purchasing. Real-time product recommendations, add-on options and general customer assistance are just a few basics that AI and chatbots cover.

4. Click and collect

This form of in-store/out of store picks up is increasingly preferred by customers and although it’s not necessarily cheap or easy to set up as the inventory management system must sync with store logistics and online storefront, it can be a big convenience for your buyers.

In the US, online B2B transactions are expected to reach $1.2 trillion by the end of 2021. With this trend, a proper road map which considers implementation and upgrades of the capabilities above, is vital for survival and sustained growth. 

As customer needs continue to become more focused on experience, brands need to get the basics up to scratch. Investing in your digital capabilities and defining a clear plan of attack for implementing these capabilities will be vital to business growth.

Want to become a member?

Become a member of the B2B eCommerce Association for free today. Connect, learn and find new opportunities. 

About the B2BEA

The B2B eCommerce Association is a global network and resource hub for B2B practitioners, offering invaluable opportunities to connect and learn. Our mission is to empower manufacturers and distributors in their eCommerce and digital transformation journeys through useful tools, practical resources and exceptional networking opportunities. Join us to thrive in our dynamic industry

Want to become a member?

Become a member of the B2B eCommerce Association for free today. Connect, learn and find new opportunities. 


Your member type

Are you working for a manufacturer, distributor or retailer?

Login type

Are you working for a manufacturer, distributor or retailer?