B2B and B2C e-commerce tendencies

An ever-changing sector, e-commerce has intensified further with the pandemic and new consumer behavior. Salesforce surveyed 1,400 business leaders and analyzed data on the purchases of 1 billion consumers worldwide to learn more about major e-commerce trends, consumer and business expectations, the impact of e-commerce on sales teams or the development of B2B commerce. So, a sharp study, with particularly extensive data on which here are a few lessons.

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The report is built in 2 parts and deals with B2C first.

Erasing the boundaries between physical and online commerce

Covid has greatly influenced B2C commerce. E-commerce, which is experiencing constant growth, has taken advantage of the event to further accelerate. According to Salesforce and its analysis of the purchasing activity of 1 billion consumers, e-commerce revenue grew by 75% in the 2nd quarter of 2020 and by 55% in the third!

After Covid, many companies have shifted a good portion of their marketing and merchandising campaigns to digital. B2C companies went to meet their customers, ie online. Investments are largely attributed to digital. Not surprisingly, people with high performance have coped best with this shift.

Communication strategy tests have also multiplied to try to catch consumers in the absence of physical interactions. Content offered to customers includes: virtual events (Instagram Live), virtual shopping, instant messaging and live video, virtual reality and augmented reality.

The pandemic was also an opportunity to implement contactless or less contact strategies: contactless payment, click and billing, self-service, contactless delivery or retrieval. Home delivery is not always flawless (lost packages, delays, etc.), so trade remains an important advantage for a good distribution strategy.

All in all, 2 main trends have emerged: payment via smartphone (and therefore contactless) and stores that have become a place to process online orders.

Direct sales are growing more and more

Direct sales to consumers (D2C) is on the rise, even for FMCG brands. In the period from March 2019 to March 2020, the increase in online shopping for basic groceries is 20%!

As for the agri-food side, here too, producers are increasingly replacing their shares in digital stock stores. And this paradigm shift in consumption will certainly be permanent: 68% of consumers say they will continue to buy basic goods online after the pandemic.

On the goal side, turnover is obviously monitored, but sales managers have other priorities, especially employee safety. Customer engagement comes next and remains a major concern.

In terms of investment priorities, B2C companies strive to compensate for the lack of first-party data as much as possible. This includes investing in different data collection channels: social networks, web presence, etc. Overall, the most successful companies focus their investments on web channels, while less efficient ones prefer to invest in traditional stores.

Accelerate decentralized shopping

Salesforce sees the emergence of “decentralized shopping”: the fact that brands are investing in many digital channels to sell their products directly there. The traffic of e-commerce sites, according to Salesforce, increased by 104% in the second quarter of 2020. A movement that is not anecdotal, because it materializes in acts of purchase.

The most viewed content is not the same depending on the region: Instagram Live and TikTok for China, Japan or Australia; impact on campaigns in North America.

By increasing investment in new digital channels (video games, voice assistants, augmented reality, etc.), brands are only hoping to gain notoriety. Indeed, more and more channels are offering contextual commerce that allows brands to get closer to their business challenges.

Salesforce also notes that B2C companies have adapted very quickly to the new challenges associated with the pandemic. In just 3 months, 41% of B2C companies have implemented instant messaging or video chat services in their online offering.

According to Salesforce, this pandemic finally allowed e-commerce to continue to grow, but it has not replaced physical commerce! A store that was a place of discovery becomes, for example, a place of delivery or payment, but retains its place in commercial strategy.

The second part of the study focused on B2B e-commerce. Here, too, Salesforce reveals several major underlying trends and examines in detail the way B2B companies are becoming digital. To find out more, you can download the complete study for free at this link.

Download the e-commerce trends report

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