eCommerce & Merchandising

What Does ’B2B and B2C Convergence‘ Really Mean?

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There has been a lot of discussion around B2B and B2C convergence, but what does that really mean? Is it about the business models converging? I doubt it, because as we all know, there are some very different business needs that are required for B2B customers compared to B2C.

One example would be pricing contracts. B2B customers may have negotiated large volume pricing for particular items that will be purchased throughout the year, and they may be different than what another customer has negotiated. In B2C, it is most likely that the item will be offered at the same price for all customers. Therefore, I don’t think there is a single simple answer. It can mean different things for different situations.

For some companies it means addressing the pressure of providing their B2B customers the same buying experience they have come to expect from their B2C purchases. This means a digital buying experience that provides personalized offers, enhanced searching, and consistent information across all channels. For another company, it could mean providing guided selling tools to walk the buyer through the configuration of complex products and services, making it easier for customers to select the right product for their needs, and enhancing the customer experience.   

Whatever B2B and B2C convergence may mean for different companies, it should be treated as an evolutionary process. Use the additional revenue generated from deploying an engaging B2B storefront to fund the next project, perhaps incorporating guided selling to the storefront to drive even more sales. However, these projects should not take years to implement and tie up all of a company’s IT resources.

With that in mind, IBM is announcing the release of enhanced capabilities to support B2B digital storefronts that provide the same compelling customer engagements as B2C storefronts, and one of the compelling points is that these storefronts can be deployed quickly with minimal IT involvement. So as you look at how your personal buying experiences are influencing what you expect in your B2B interactions, keep in mind that your business customers are expecting the same and will begin to look at alternatives if your company hasn’t started that evolutionary process of B2B and B2C convergence.    

Explore more about the process here.

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