For B2B organizations, the demand from customers to create more B2C digital experiences continues as we approach 2018. Many organizations are responding with varying levels of investment in their digital transformations. However, manufacturers and distributors are taking different paths to get there. What is clear is that both groups feel they need to put the customer as a priority to win, retain, and grow their business.
The foundation of any good digital experience is knowing who your customer is and where, when, and why they want to engage with you. For B2B organizations, there is an added level of complexity to this as manufacturers consider their distributors a customer as well as the end customer for those who sell direct. Two groups, two different sets of needs, and two very different experiences that need to be created. For distributors, they have a more streamlined approach, and the investments they are making in creating consistent customer experiences shows that simplicity.
Yet still today, in 2017, we are facing the simple challenge of getting beyond transformations focused on content management, analytics for visitor and customer behavior, and upgrading e-commerce platforms. In fact, of a recent survey of B2B manufacturers and distributors, only 11% of manufacturers and 17% of distributors had A/B Testing as a priority over the next 18 months. Instead, manufacturers and distributors are prioritizing Content Management, Commerce Platforms (upgrading or replacing) and Website & Customer Analytics over the same time period.
The good news is that these priorities are foundational to any deeper customer experience. In fact, with customers demanding a more focused B2C experience, if your website, commerce site, and the data being captured around the user behavior and purchases isn’t set up right, you can’t extend to more mature areas of focus like Digital Asset Management, A/B Testing, Personalization, and Product Recommendations. Getting the foundation right helps keep the rest of the plans on solid ground.
For example, Zebra Technologies knew it needed to advance their digital transformation a few years ago with their core systems. Upgrading content management, integrating analytics, and building a robust digital asset management solution for employees, partners, and sales teams has not only brought a new perspective to what it takes to support their digital experiences, it has shown that internal teams need to evolve as much as the external facing solutions. Each of these focuses had a customer-centric approach to defining the solution, which has led to increased engagement, lead flow, and improved customer support.
Customer-driven digital transformations is a people, process, and technology problem to solve. It is not done in a vacuum, and not done overnight. Manufacturers and distributors have traditionally been behind in this transformation, but are seeing how an improved customer experience can be a competitive advantage. For further insights and a roadmap for where to concentrate digital maturity efforts, download our Digital Maturity & Ecommerce Report