There is an emerging theme in play as we continue various discussions with members and other industry participants, and that is an expectation for accelerated digitalization in the post COVID-19 world. This brief piece in PracticalEcommerce is another example of that theme. We wrote about the B2B e-commerce space and impending opportunities in a member report, within which we pointed out various changes underway. These include both traditional B2B commerce transition to digital distribution models, integrated across industries, but also that a demographic shift is driving this, where younger corporate buyers expect to exercise their preference for the consumer-like e-commerce experiences of online marketplaces. The author of the referenced blog points out that certain B2B businesses are not adapting fast enough, especially now that the pandemic is shining a bright light on inefficient and opaque manual processes.
‘Organizations that have operated in the same manner for years often depend on key, long-serving personnel. Procedures and systems are not documented. For example, only a single salesperson may know which product or price fits a specific customer. Identifying the right product or price isn’t necessarily complicated, but the process is undefined…Moreover, manual processes lead to inefficiencies and mistakes….Shifting the culture of a company from manual to digital can be challenging at any time. Doing it in a pandemic can seem doubly difficult.’
The same can be said across many industries and verticals. We hear this vis-a-vis automated payables, supply chain, working capital solutions, mobile proximity payments, and so forth. All are expecting a sea change once we emerge from this crisis. We tend to think that the transformation was underway before, and due to lost revenues from an expected recession (the length and shape of which we cannot yet know), that the post COVID period will slow things down a bit due to the lack of investment funds. But for sure awareness has grown around lagging modernization efforts caused by inertia and other things.
‘The ground is shifting for distributors. Surviving in the digital age requires innovation and strong leadership. Such changes were necessary before Covid-19. They are now urgent. The pandemic will end, but transformations in the B2B market are here to stay.’
It’s worth a few minutes to read through the article and see if the recommendations resonate.
Overview provided by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial & Enterprise Payments Advisory Group at Mercator Advisory Group.