Could you tell us how eCommerce technologies have changed in the last 12-18 months?

Over the past 12-18 months, eCommerce technologies have become increasingly streamlined with customer experiences, putting an emphasis on blending both online and in-store experiences. This means that more suppliers are improving communication across touchpoints so each experience is informed by one another, presenting a consistent experience with the brand and 360-degree picture of each customer.

While Omnichannel strategies have been a focus for retailers, they are now becoming more personalized in the B2B space, so suppliers can focus on building loyalty and relationships based on a rich history with each customer. Salesforce’s debut of Manufacturing Cloud and Consumer Goods Cloud is a great example of this personalization and adaptation that customers are looking for in the B2B world.

How is mobile commerce quickly evolving to engage Gen Z buyers?

Gen Z is already accustomed to an influx of information at their fingertips through their mobile devices, and they aren’t afraid to jump to different suppliers looking for the one that meets their tech-focused expectations. And with 91% of B2B buyers under age 35 buying more online for their companies in the past year, compared to just 70% of buyers age 36 and over, suppliers need to move quickly to capture this growing customer base that continues to get more buying power.

As suppliers rethink their buying experiences, it’s important for them to meet these younger buyers where they are most – their phones. With that in mind, easy purchasing on mobile devices and dynamic product information on mobile sites are good places for suppliers to start. Mobile commerce can engage Gen Z buyers wherever they are and be used to collect more data on their preferences so that suppliers can provide more targeted product recommendations as time goes on. Mobile commerce is evolving with features that Gen Z buyers are familiar with in their consumer-facing lives, like one-click checkout and easy reorder so that when these buyers are met with a purchase decision, it’s as easy as possible for them to pull the trigger and suppliers to capture more revenue.

How do you see Salesforce Manufacturing and Consumer Goods Cloud completely disrupting the e-commerce market? What future do you foresee for those brands that are yet to leverage Cloud platforms in their tech stack?

Salesforce Manufacturing and Consumer Goods Clouds are integral to its campaign to bring companies and customers closer together. These vertical offering will disrupt the eCommerce market by working with Salesforce’s existing Marketing and Commerce capabilities to align internal processes closer to the actual customer need, and thus lead to better overall customer experience.

The Salesforce Consumer Goods Cloud is focused primarily on providing tools to streamline store operations. The Cloud allows for Salesforce to connect better and more directly with buyers, which is a top priority for buyers in this space. In fact, we found that 87% of B2B CPG buyers would choose a supplier with excellent eCommerce and customer portal capabilities, even if the supplier’s product was moderately higher priced than a competitor’s.

On the Salesforce Manufacturing side, the Cloud enables account-based forecasting with predictions of demand and inventory buildup. For the B2B manufacturing industry, the top priority for customers is receiving their purchase, so innovation within the delivery and fulfillment processes is key. Over two-thirds of B2B manufacturing buyers expect suppliers to prioritize innovation in delivery and fulfillment, and 76% of buyers expect suppliers to offer real-time updates on orders and shipments when making purchases. Salesforce is able to deliver on these buyers’ demands while using their Cloud-based capabilities to gain a greater understanding of what their customers need and when they need it.

For brands that haven’t leveraged Cloud platforms, they are having a harder time being agile and adapting to the quickly-changing needs of customers. With Cloud-based solutions, companies are able to be more adaptable and provide a more holistic approach, which leads to stronger customer experience. Those companies who are yet to invest in the Cloud are risking losing market share to organizations, like Amazon, that are able to create the personalization and speed buyers crave – in fact, we found that 30% of B2B buyers say they now make more purchases via Amazon Business, compared to just 22% of buyers who make more purchases from suppliers.

Please elucidate on the message” Be Like Amazon, not” Do you think Amazon will be displaced from its leadership position in the next few months?

Being like Amazon, not, means focusing your business on a spirit of innovation and reinvention and not being distracted by anyone set of features. Amazon protects its leadership position by never allowing itself to become complacent and constantly seeking growth and innovation outside the boundaries of a typical retailer, or even a typical technology company.

Amazon has seen success because of its innovative business approach, and ability to always be one step ahead in providing an agile and flexible customer experience. Although is good for Amazon and its unique customers, that doesn’t mean it will work for companies that aren’t Amazon. Instead, companies should follow Amazon’s lead in being adaptable and proactive to meet customers’ needs and apply that to their own customer base.

Instead of trying to emulate the same innovative strategies as Amazon, companies should focus on the bigger picture of why Amazon innovates. To satisfy consumer demands for new experiences while addressing customer pain points, brands should focus where they can add the most value to their customers – from self-service capabilities to streamlined, intuitive search experiences.

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