IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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B2B eCommerce firms urged to adopt B2C strategies for survival in NZ
Thu, 28th Dec 2023

Business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce companies have been urged to adapt practices from the business-to-consumer (B2C) sector to survive and thrive in 2024's evolving economic landscape. According to industry experts, digital-savvy strategies could be the life raft B2B firms need in a tightening New Zealand economy.

According to Mark Presnell, Managing Director of Auckland-based eCommerce integration firm Convergence, the B2B industry has been left behind as it failed to adapt to the changing world of work catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional strategies, such as referrals and in-person visits, have lost their effectiveness due to the rise of remote work and digital connectivity.

Presnell notes that "B2B retailers and online eCommerce need to understand their target market. B2B sales and marketing people are at sea as the in-person relationships they relied on diminish." Instances of B2B companies slow to change include those selling health and safety gear, uniforms, promotional items and stationery.

He goes on to stress that, "Many forget that it is a person who makes the buying decision, not the corporation itself. Increasingly, it is a person who spends most of their time working from home and who is more digitally connected than ever before." Presnell suggests that B2B entities need to change their approach, understanding that their clients also operate in this new, digitally-focussed environment.

Drawing elements of B2C practices, such as online customer engagement and personalised experiences, could be key in keeping B2B businesses relevant. Presnell advises that companies should use AI to analyse factors like technology adoption rates, growth trajectories, and leadership changes. These measures will enable more targeted and effective sales strategies.

Research from leading global consultancies suggests a significant shift towards online transactions and automated, human-free business interactions within the B2B marketplace. Presnell emphasises, "Companies must adapt or risk obsolescence."

Strategies to consider for 2024 include the adoption of advanced eCommerce platforms, personalisation of the buying experience utilising AI and data analytics, leveraging third-party marketplaces, engagement and sales through social media, faster order processing and delivery, and AI adoption for smart pricing and sales guidance.

"The lessons from B2C are clear," says Presnell. "Digitalise, personalise, and innovate." For B2B companies, this means adopting new technologies, rethinking strategies for customer engagement, and driving towards agility and customer-centricity, pillars of the successful B2C model.

Presnell suggests B2B operators consider the following strategies in 2024: 

1. Adopt Advanced eCommerce Platforms: Moving away from legacy systems to cloud-based, user-friendly platforms can streamline operations and enhance customer experiences. 

2. Personalise the Buying Experience: Like B2C, B2B buyers seek personalised, value-driven interactions. Employing AI and data analytics can help in delivering tailored solutions. 

3. Leverage Third-Party Marketplaces: Utilising platforms like can expand reach and diversify sales channels. 

4. Embrace Social Media for Engagement and Sales: Social media platforms can be powerful tools for B2B marketing, lead generation, and even direct sales. 

5. Ensure Fast Order Processing and Delivery: Mirroring the B2C expectation of quick and transparent delivery processes can enhance customer satisfaction. 

6. Utilise AI for Smart Pricing and Sales Guidance: AI-driven pricing software can help offer competitive prices and optimise sales strategies.