B2C commerce experiences have shaped how we research and purchase products and services. With today’s B2B buyers demanding the same levels of customization, convenience, and accessibility provided by these B2C solutions, manufacturers are looking at how to digitally transform their businesses to meet the growing expectations.


While every B2B solution is different, there are many B2C best practices you can use to enhance your B2B experience and guide your digital transformation. Here are three topics to consider:

1. Be the expert in your product

You are the expert on your products, but do you share that expertise on your website? While buyers use many sources to research before buying, they expect to find the details they need to know about your product on your website. By providing the right level of data and information, it helps buyers make informed decisions without having to pick up a phone or scheduling a meeting with a sales rep.

In fact, a Q1 2017 Global B2B Buy-Side Online survey, jointly conducted by Forrester and Internet Retailer, showed that more than half (54%) of buyers say that the best information about products can be found on the manufacturer’s own website.

So what kind of information should you provide? In addition to standard product information, manufacturers should look to write blogs, showcase positive reviews and case studies, and add product demonstration and testimonial videos to the content mix.

2. Shifting from a product-producing to a service-oriented culture

You’ve brought your customer to the site, they’ve read the information, they’re excited to make a purchase, and now they want to click the buy button. Do you have one?

A B2BecNews (2018) survey indicates that about 60% manufacturers lack an ecommerce site for customer self-service, with 30% of those having no plans to launch an ecommerce site within the next two years. Those that have deployed a commerce site did so years ago and are challenged with limited scale and platforms that just haven’t evolved as quickly as the counterparts in the B2C world. This translates into a lot of money being left on the table.

With fierce competition and shrinking margins, being efficient is a must. The benefits of having a self-service website range from customers being able to buy what they need when they need it, using connected devices to gain insights on what is working and what needs maintenance or replacing, and speeding up the customization of products.

Not only that, the right solution gives manufacturers access to insights, data, and analytics on their customers. By leveraging this data, you can provide value back to the customer by enhancing the self-service experience even more with options like predicting wants and needs and offering auto-replenishment capabilities.

3. Finding the right technology solution and partner

The process to find the right technology solution and partner to work with can be daunting. The choices made at the beginning of the process can have lasting effects on the success of any digital transformation project. It is essential to start with identifying the right technology partner. Do your homework and know what to look for in a partner, what questions to ask, and how to map your B2B commerce plan.

From a technology perspective, while the complexity of B2C solutions is typically lower than B2B, the power of the customer experience platforms generally is greater and more refined. This complexity can be reduced as more and more tools, ranging from AI to WebGL, mature.

The same B2C foundational platforms, like SAP Customer Experience, are fully adapted and tailored for B2B manufacturers. We’ve also developed a Rapid Foundation for SAP Customer Experience, a methodology that delivers personalized, human-centric engagements while getting manufacturers to market faster and maximizing the return on every dollar. You can read more about SAP Customer Experience here.

To find out more about these trends, download SMITH’s Guide to: Commerce for Manufacturers which explores in detail four key areas of focus for digital transformation to better customer experiences in Manufacturing:

Customers: Learn to adapt to evolving buyer expectations
Sales: Master increasingly complex distribution channels
Operations: Improve and integrate marketing operations
Employees: Enroll team members in the digital transformation


SMITH is currently at SAP Sapphire from June 5-7th. Want to make sure we can have time to talk about SAP and your business during the conference? Send us a message today so we can go out for coffee tomorrow.


Tags: Experience Design, B2C, B2b Commerce, Strategy and Intelligence, solutions, industry 4.0, manufacturers