Transforming the B2B Buying Experience: The Evolution Toward Business-to-Individual

“The business-to-consumer world has really led the charge with creating some pretty delightful and awesome buying experiences,” said Ed Rusch, VP Corporate Marketing at Elemica, on a recent episode of Talking Logistics where we discussed Transforming the B2B Buying Experience: The Role of Consumers and Supply Chain Operating Networks. He goes on to explain:

What I mean is that [the B2C buying experience today] provides much more transparency into the product and the quality of the service. [Consumers] can purchase products very easily in a very streamlined way, with fewer clicks and using intuitive interfaces, and there’s a community of communication around products, whether it’s through social media or reviews, and people have the ability to buy via different channels [the omni-channel experience].

However, in the B2B world, it’s not like we’re not doing these things, but when it comes to the level of sophistication, we’re a bit of a laggard compared to the B2C world…I think there are appropriate things in the B2C buying experience that we can bring into the B2B world.

As I’ve written many times before, I believe that Supply Chain Operating Networks — which bring together software, B2B trading partner connectivity, and social networking capabilities — will serve as a platform for transforming supply chain processes, including the B2B buying experience. “One of the things that we’re seeing from a technology-enablement perspective, what we’re seeing with communities of people and buyers working together on a network, is that there really is a blurring of the lines between B2C and B2B,” said Rusch. “I would make the argument that what’s really happening is [an evolution toward] a Business-to-Individual experience, where in the near future you’re not going to see these traditional delineations between B2B and B2C experiences; it’s all going to be Business-to-Individual.”

So, how are Supply Chain Operating Networks (SCONs) helping to transform the B2B buying experience today, and how will they continue to evolve in the years ahead to further enhance the experience? Check out the short clip below for Rusch’s answer:

And in the clip below, Rusch discusses some of the hurdles companies must overcome to achieve this transformation. He also reminds us that technology alone can only get you so far:

Don’t confuse a user interface or a product enhancement or making something go mobile as saying that’s the exceptional buying experience that the modern buyer is expecting because the definition of a high-quality buying experience extends well beyond the look-and-feel of a product or how somebody engages with the technology.

I encourage you to watch the rest of my conversation with Ed for more insights on this topic. Do you agree that the lines between B2C and B2B will blur and evolve to Business-to-Individual? What role will technology, and Supply Chain Operating Networks in particular, play in enabling this transformation? Post comment and share your perspective!

Watch full episode: