CX Prediction 2022.5 — B2B Becomes More like B2C

Brand Experience
November 11, 2021

This is part 5 in a 5-part series. Please download our CX Predictions for 2022 ebook for our full report.

Many of us spent a good portion of the pandemic making purchases from our phone, downloading media onto our devices, and playing games online with family members. We were living B2C lives where purchases were only a click away.

Now, as workers return or plan to return to work, we are back to living B2B lives during part of the day. We’re required to speak with Sales teams to get information. We access wonky vendor portals or employee intranets to find solutions.

When will a software company homepage give us the same warm and fuzzy feelings as Netflix?

The Pandemic Changed Business Relationships Forever

The bar has been raised for customer experience teams and how they develop relationships with consumers.

As workers shifted to remote work, they found a lot to love. Self-serve options, common in B2C e-commerce, have grown for business buyers too. Top-of-funnel activities like identifying and evaluating new suppliers offer more self-service options — up in a new McKinsey study from 22% of respondents in August 2020 to 34% in February 2021.

We don’t hate human interaction; we just want to complete our work. McKinsey shows that two-thirds of buyers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service. A Forrester study found that 59% of B2B buyers and sellers prefer not to interact with a sales rep and 74% prefer buying directly from a website. The message: Let us do it ourselves — at home and at work.

What Do B2B Consumers Want?

B2B consumers want everything that B2C consumers have — easy service, quick product purchase, digital content, and responsive support. Forrester Principal Analyst Kathy Contreras says, “[t]he future B2B buyer will expect buying experiences to be increasingly open, connected, intuitive, and immediate.”

B2B buyers want access to information — access that is possible through ubiquitous digital channels, available anywhere, on any device. With more people confined to their homes this past year and more reliant than ever on digital tools, customer expectations for a frictionless experience have risen.

“Personalization” is the term most often tossed around when discussing tactics for customer focus. But we predict a bigger focus than just adding a recipient’s first name to company emails.

This personalization is different. This personalization is about the whole experience — the content, the product, the offer, the look and feel. And it’s all starting to sound a lot like B2C to some CEOs:

“Performing analytics on customers’ product content interactions can help businesses better understand what each customer needs and tailor their experiences–from the content they’re served to the offers and promotions they receive–in a way that feels just as customized and relevant as their video streaming feeds.”

Personalization is about providing answers for the consumer. If these experiences are as profitable as they seem — Epsilon says 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when offered a personalized experience — then expect to see a lot more personalization in B2B sales during 2022.

One company allows employees to use Alchemer in the same way they might use a B2C platform like Netflix. Each employee uses Alchemer and personalizes it themselves, in effect seeing the B2C experience themselves. The Alchemer feedback platform is simple enough that users can input personalization themselves.

We predict personalized, relevant experiences for B2B buyers on digital channels to greatly increase as the lines between B2B and B2C continue to blur. It may not be Netflix, but perhaps it can come close.

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