Actually talking on the phone...not so much. But consumers are choosing mobile commerce for more than half of their e-commerce purchases today - and that number only looks to get bigger. See the trends behind the rise of m-commerce.
Mobile is transforming the way B2B companies interact with customers. In many cases, mobile commerce helps distributors streamline order management and other processes—improving backend efficiency and delivering a customer experience that parallels B2C shopping.
B2B Mobile Commerce Goes Mainstream
The mainstreaming of mobile technology in B2B is being driven by two important trends: (1) a rising demand for online tools and processes and (2) the need for omni-channel experiences that allow customers to connect across every available touch point.
In a 2013 Forrester study, “Online And Mobile Are Transforming B2B Commerce,” more than two thirds (67 percent) of B2B brands agree that e-commerce is fundamentally changing B2B commerce. Even more telling, more than half of B2B companies report customers are using smartphones to research and purchase products.
Mobile technology supports the demand for online interactions—and that’s good news for B2B distributors. According to Forrester, online-only customers are more active than offline-only customers, and have higher AOVs (Average Order Values) than customers who haven’t embraced the mobile channel.
Mobile commerce is also helping distributors and wholesalers minimize the cost of labor-intensive processes through the use of self-service technologies. B2B customers overwhelmingly desire greater access to Web-based, self-service capabilities, and most B2B customers want self-service features that allow them to engage using mobile devices.
The demand for increased mobile opportunities across the entire customer interaction lifecycle is a win-win for B2B brands and customers. B2B customers gain access to high quality interactions on the device(s) of their own choosing, distributors and wholesalers can leverage mobile commerce to achieve greater efficiency and a better overall customer experience.
Key Benefits of Mobile Commerce
The transition to the online marketplace presents new opportunities for distributors and wholesalers, not the least of which is the ability to deliver exceptional web-based experiences to a constantly connected customer base.
Mobile is the channel of the future for distributors and wholesalers. Propelled by customer demand for more flexible channel options, mobile commerce radically improves distributors’ ability to run a more agile and customer-focused business.
Streamlined Purchase Processes
A robust mobile commerce agenda, including a fully integrated mobile app, gives customers total control over the purchase process. Empowered by the convenience of smartphones or tablets, customers can schedule and track deliveries in real-time, receive product invoices and make payments directly from the field.
For distributors, streamlined purchase processes translate into better customer satisfaction and larger order volumes. By giving customers mobile self-service capabilities, distributors can create a more efficient order process by reducing the burden on call centers and customer service staff.
More Informed Sales Force
Distributors and wholesalers struggle to equip sales reps with up-to-date product information and enhanced sales materials. Mobile technology lets companies provide field associates with current data for pricing and product availability as well as other resources that help them better serve customers and prospects.
Mobile commerce platforms provide sales teams with up-sell and cross-sell suggestions, giving sales associates the tools they need to deliver a more effective customer experience. In some cases, mobile commerce technology makes it possible for sales reps to answer customer account questions and resolve issues that would otherwise require an interaction with customer service personnel.
Improved Service Delivery
Service-order processes can be inefficient. In a typical service scenario, technicians receive a predefined route or a list of service calls that doesn’t take into account the cancellations and delays that occur throughout the day, resulting in wasted staff hours and customer complaints.
Mobile service orders create a more agile and responsive service process. Rather than operating according to a static daily schedule, technicians get dynamic instructions and job assignments based on their current locations and availability.
Not all distributors and wholesalers are embracing mobile commerce technologies at the same pace. But based on the current preferences and behaviors of B2B customers across all industries, it is clear that companies prioritizing the implementation of mobile commerce strategies will lead the way, while those that ignore the mobile imperative will lose out on the opportunity to connect with a large (and growing) segment of the marketplace.