Welcome back to the “E-Commerce Talk”. On the last show we talked about replatforming
your e-commerce solution. While switching your e-commerce solution might
contribute to your online success, it won’t guarantee it. The e-commerce industry is competitive
and if you’re looking to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to stay up
to date on the latest industry trends. Well, to help you beat your competitors, today we’ll be looking at 6 trends
shaping the B2B e-commerce industry in 2020 and I’m very excited to introduce today’s guest:
Michiel Schipperus is the CEO of Sana Commerce and has over 20 years of experience
in the e-commerce industry. Welcome to the show Michiel. Yeah, thanks for having me. So, the first question and trend we
wanted to discuss, was personalization. So as you know, we released the B2B Buying Process
Report earlier this year and in that report it said that 20% of B2B customers
would like to have personalization as their top feature. What do you
think about this trend in 2020? Well, obviously I recognize that, I would expect
it to be even higher than 20% because it’s so crucial these days for the buyer, for the B2B Buyer experience
to have it personalized, right? And it’s not new. It’s something that has been happening
or it’s a trend for over a couple of years and they expect it to go on for a
couple of more years until the full B2B buyer experience is really personalized
and there’s so much to win there, I think. And of course this is driven by the customers, that are actually raising
their expectations when it comes to buying online. But it’s also
driven by technology, which is improving. You’ve got like predictive algorithms
that can actually help you predict, or help our customers predict
what their buyers want from them. Which is really powerful if you
have that up and running. And especially in B2B actually because you
have a lot of repetitive buying there, right? So maybe once a week, maybe even
twice or three times per week. Some businesses are buying from their
vendors and typically they, you know, buy similar products, which
builds up to a pattern, which algorithms can be really
good at predicting. So, yeah, that’s a big part, I think, of how I see the personalization of the B2B buying process
develop and definitely in 2020, but definitely also beyond, because
we’re not where we want to be, I think. The second trend
actually ties in really well. We wanted to discuss voice commerce. So voice commerce is a really big topic. We’ve actually covered it before,
in the E-Commerce Talk with Louis. What do you think about voice commerce
and how it’s going to influence B2B buyers in 2020? Well, I don’t think that it will
be a game changer next year, but it’s definitely an ongoing trend
and we’ll see a big step again in 2020, I think, on doing more with voice. Probably around buying but also
about gathering information right? I can imagine that instead of going to your computer
and looking something up, you’ll talk to these devices and
you’ll say, tell me about this product. Is it available or
what’s the current price? So I definitely can see it entering,
let’s say, the buyer experience and then again for B2B, I think
it’s promising, more promising, maybe even then for B2C because
it’s kind of repetitive, right? You don’t have to look up, you don’t have to see the pictures for
the products that you have already been ordering for multiple times and you
don’t need to know all the specs and etc. So, I think in a B2B setting where if
it has to do with repetitive buying then actually voice
ordering can play a role, although I think not everybody is
completely ready yet to embrace these new devices and
technologies. But it will come for sure. I also see that from our personal
experience at home, I use it a lot. I like it a lot and I think more
people will adopt it, so it will come. And it will definitely be one of the
trends for the coming year. The third trend we wanted
to discuss is, as you know, we did release our B2B Buying Process
Report and it revealed that a large number of B2B customers are
using online marketplaces. So what is your view on
online marketplaces in 2020? Well, again, this is also a big trend
already from the years in these, they’re very powerful marketplaces and
what they provide to businesses is, you know, access to potential buyers, right? So that’s very valuable. At the same time, I see businesses getting vulnerable or
if they’re dependent too much on one or two of these platforms and they probably at some
point they’re increasing their transaction fees. So, it will be harder for them to
make a margin on these products. So they have to understand that when they work with these marketplaces
that they outsource a big part of their business, basically finding customers.
So that’s a downside. So I cannot say for all businesses,
but in general, you have to be careful with that and
hopefully not be too dependent on one or two marketplaces,
see if there are specific niche marketplaces that you can engage with, that you have a better competitive advantage
because of your specific products that you offer. But you have to be smart also for, I
know for some of our customers, marketplaces are not really an option because
they have this personalized experience, or I must say this very personal
relationship with their customers. They have specific prices
negotiated and of course, you know, customers buying on marketplaces. These marketplaces don’t facilitate
that same kind of relationship with all negotiations taking
place in this marketplace. So yeah, it definitely plays a big part for
B2B customers and it will increasingly play an important part, but they have to be really careful not
to be too dependent on these platforms. So another topic and trend,
we want to just discuss, which
is not really a new thing for vendors, but it’s AR and VR, they’re currently a really big hot topic
and B2B or in e-commerce in general. What’s your opinion on AR and VR? Yeah, it’s definitely a hot topic. It’s definitely very interesting. It’s
also kind of sexy right? Where you can, you know, all these technologies and
the opportunities that they provide. At the same time, I see a lot of businesses struggling
with actually how to adopt it, how to make it work and how to find
the investment to get it right. I see a niche for customers
or businesses creating customized products. And if
you can use AR/VR to actually create, you know. Let’s call it digital
prototypes or something that is, you know, a big benefit that you could also integrate
it into your whole e-commerce environment. So, it’s definitely an emerging
trend already over the years. There will, definitely things will happen. I still see it’s a pretty
early phase actually. So a really big one,
which is our fifth one, is what everyone’s calling the “greening of
e-commerce”. And that’s sustainability. Of course sustainability is really important, in
across all industries and we see it a lot in B2C.
They’re really conscious. And of course it’s a really,
really important subject. So what do you think about
greening efforts in B2B? Will it be more difficult than B2C or… No, not necessarily.
I think also in B2B it’s a good topic and a lot of
companies are really showing interest in sustainability
and are also willing to, you know, pay extra for a
more sustainable solution. So you see more and more companies
compensating like CO2, you know, emissions, For the flights that they’re, their employees are taking
and you see, you know, you see more awareness within these companies.
– Yeah. I wouldn’t have any reason why I would
say it’s more for B2C than for B2B nd we see these options
also that they provide like, more ecofriendly shipping
options for instance. And we see B2B companies actually
choosing those. it’s not restricted to B2C, I would say, and I think sustainability is such a
mega trend or a big topic throughout everything we do in our lives. I
will definitely see that happening. Impacting B2B buying as well. And in 2020. So Michiel, do you think progressive
web apps will replace mobile apps in 2020? No, not in 2020 and not all of them.
I think they are still, you know, that native apps still provide a
lot of value in specific situations. But I’m always also a big fan of progressive
web apps because I’ve seen what they can do and how the interaction can improve,
where it will be much smoother and much more user friendly, much
more rich, if I can use that word. So I do believe that
progressive web apps will be a big difference for B2B
buyers in the future. Big fan of them. And definitely an area that
we are investing in as a business. But we also, you know, of course
advise our customers to have a look and see how they
can use it for their business. Because we talked earlier
about the customer experience. Well, progressive web apps can play a big role in improving that and I believe that in the future, customers
will actually expect to have such interactions where it goes really fast, where you don’t even notice that things are
changing and where you have a lot of possibility or the customer has a lot
of possibility to to have these, nice looking, nice feeling interactions when they, you know, have these when
they are in their buying process. – So we’re going to see more progressive web apps in B2B as well?
– 100% yeah. Well that sounds exciting. The 2020 e-commerce trends sound very
exciting and we hope you’re as excited as we are! So, thank you very much Michiel for joining
the show today and sharing all your insights. You’re very welcome. We hope that you are as excited as we
are, for the 2020 B2B e-commerce trends. To keep up with the latest B2B e-commerce news, subscribe to our channel and if you
want to learn more about your B2B customers’ wants and needs, then make sure to read our
B2B Buying Process Report. You can find the link to the
report in the description. Also let us know in the comments, which
trends you’re most looking forward to. Until next time, bye.