Here’s How B2B Sellers Can End Up on Buyers’ ‘Nice’ Lists This Holiday Season
The "golden quarter," the aptly named "golden child" of the retail calendar, takes place from October through December. It sees consumers flock to online and physical stores, driven by Black Friday sales, pre- and post-Christmas campaigns, and a soaring demand for holiday gifts. B2C retailers have got the golden quarter locked in.
But is the B2B industry missing a trick? During Q4, many B2B buyers are looking to spend unused budgets from the year that has passed and making plans for the year ahead. To "win" the golden quarter, B2B sellers should take notes from B2C and tap into this willingness to spend.
What can B2B learn from retail to make sure they’re nailing the golden quarter? Here are three top tips.
Prime Time for B2B
The golden quarter is a time when B2C commerce brands famously offer huge sales and discounts to drive more traffic to physical and digital storefronts. It’s no secret that digital commerce is fast becoming a preferred option for customers. In fact, retail digital commerce sales are predicted to reach approximately $8.1 trillion by 2026. So as online retail takes center stage, Cyber Monday has arguably become just as much of an event as Black Friday in stores.
So much so that retail behemoth Amazon.com has introduced a second Prime Day in October. Known as Prime Big Deal Day, it capitalizes on golden quarter spending. What’s the big deal? Amazon’s last Prime Day boasted sales of $12.7 billion, with shoppers buying more than 375 million items worldwide over two days — up from 300 million in 2021.
There’s no reason why B2B marketplaces can’t follow in the footsteps of their retail cousins (e.g., Amazon and Alibaba) and offer their own "sale days" for customers. This is a largely untapped opportunity, as the majority of B2B sellers haven’t begun to offer these types of incentives.
Another way to take advantage of the discount model on a smaller scale — and year-round — is to implement dynamic pricing, lowering (or increasing) prices to reflect demand levels. These kinds of initiatives require smart technology that can track customer behavior and notify sellers of trends, or automatically alter prices as needed. The savvy players that bring these events into effect will be the ones that stand out from the crowd, gaining the lion’s share of their industry’s buyer base.
In the consumer space, personalization has become key to retailers’ success. Smart retailers have learned that personalized customer experiences at every touchpoint help to drive share of wallet. International beauty retailer Sephora has introduced personal "makeover" offerings via its app, with products used in-store automatically added to the customer’s in app basket. Another example comes from Amazon, which has recently launched a new personal shopping service as part of Amazon Prime Wardrobe.
This level of hyperpersonalized experiences is trickling into the B2B world. Seventy-two percent of B2B buyers want to see vendors personalize the buying experience to their needs, and 83 percent say they want to be treated as a person, not just a number. This can include everything from tailored marketing messaging to personalized product bundles. In the complex B2B manufacturing sector, this could include implementing new software to enable buyers to configure and view their specific product before ordering it or introducing personalized pricing to offer the best deals to the most loyal customers or those with high-spend potential.
Experience is Everything
With the rise of trends like checkout-less and virtual reality (VR) shopping, consumers in the B2C sector are hungry for new experiences. And we’ve seen time and time again that when a trend appears in the B2C world, it’s not long until it takes the B2B sector by storm, too. For instance, there’s been rising interest in VR in the consumer market, which has been reflected in B2B sales. In fact, VR is now being used at trade shows and during the product development lifecycle.
Even if B2B sellers don’t want to adopt all the bells and whistles, at the very least the buying experience needs to be simple, seamless and frictionless. But as it stands, sellers just aren’t meeting this standard. In fact, 77 percent of B2B buyers describe their latest purchase as very complex or difficult. To make the buying process easy, engaging and stress-free, businesses need a composable commerce strategy that allows them to optimize their existing offerings at speed and have the flexibility to introduce new features easily.
Is Your B2B Strategy Naughty or Nice?
To take advantage of peak sales in the golden quarter and make sure they don’t end up on buyers’ naughty lists, B2B businesses need to come out of hibernation this Q4 and take notes from their retail counterparts.
However, to offer features like dynamic and personalized pricing and engaging and innovative experiences, B2B players need greater agility. These types of services can’t just be tacked onto any old commerce platform. Businesses need a composable platform that allows them to pick and choose the best apps and services for their individual business needs. A composable approach also enables businesses to introduce new features without any downtime, saving them from losing out on sales at a time when the potential for profit is huge.
Related story: 5 Guiding Principles to Optimize Modern B-to-B Commerce
Over the last 18 years, Boris has been responsible for shaping the international commerce tech industry through his unique vision and approach to strategy across product development, sales, channel & operations. Prior to Spryker, he founded two successful commerce tech companies, both respectively sold to one of Europe’s largest electronic retailers and to CGI Inc. He is a frequent keynote speaker at several prestigious events and a guest on the Innovate or Die podcast.