Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce trends emerging from a post-COVID world

Ben Morgan from Accenture New Zealand shares their view on the evolution of B2B e-commerce.

16 Aug 2022

3 min

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Commerce—online and offline—was radically changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and as we move beyond, there are no signs of this upheaval slowing.

With the shift to digital, and the need for fully remote buying that came from the pandemic, B2B e-commerce has rapidly grown and adapted as businesses respond to meet their consumers’ changing needs. 

In the post-COVID world, buyer behaviours and expectations continue to rise and shift as they demand more from their digital experiences with their suppliers.

Consumers want more personalised offerings, greater convenience, and the knowledge of, and trust in, what they are purchasing.

The dairy industry is not immune to these changes in B2B e-commerce. 

Buyers want convenience and ease when purchasing products across all channels, with real-time information that is customised and personalised for them.

Figure 1 August Perspective

Success will depend on how well businesses can adjust and meet these expectations. 

Here’s three ways businesses can better anticipate and meet buyer expectations in a post-pandemic world. 

1. Personalise for your buyer, be relevant

Digital commerce enables businesses to provide their consumers with what they need, when they need it, at the push of a button. While the concept of personalisation in digital commerce is nothing new, in the post-covid landscape...

B2B organisations should be scaling their personalisation efforts to meet the rising expectations of consumers.

Consumer expectations of relevance, immediacy and convenience that are seen so readily in B2C are now expected in B2B purchasing1.

B2B Opportunities:

Take a service-over-sales approach and focus on buyer insights and needs.
Sellers doing this already benefit from their efforts, with 96% reporting higher profitability and 97% reporting increased market share.

Give users more control and enhance enduser experience.
Provide optimised search functionality and more customised filtering to reveal tailored information on the products they need.

NZMP Sports and Active Lifestyle

2. Enable your buyers, give them a seamless experience across channels 

The pandemic influenced businesses to adopt remote communications and better e-commerce platforms as nations navigated sporadic lockdowns. As we move into a post-pandemic world, businesses have the opportunity to embrace a balance across the various channels their buyers are asking for. 

This does not mean digital replaces human contact. Customers still want to be able to transact with people. In fact, a recent Gartner report, Future of Sales in 2025,

Research revealed a shift in customer preference from person-to-person sales processes to hyper-automated, digital-facing omnichannel experiences with customers.

B2B Opportunities:

Continue to invest in digital-human dream teams.
Buyers don’t just want e-commerce channels—they want a hybrid approach. Digital tools and human interaction must work in harmony for your buyer. 

Prioritise digital tools to complement human-centric efforts.
Buyers want more channels seamlessly integrated across their journey and two-way dialogue (e.g. chatbots).

Two people walking outside shipping yard in high visibility shirts

3. Make your supply chain and distribution channels more transparent

The pandemic’s disruption to supply chains and distribution channels was unprecedented and is likely to continue for some time. With this lack of stability and a shift in consumer expectations of digital experiences, buyers want more transparency across their buying journey, in real-time.

B2B Opportunities:

Enable greater flexibility within the buyer journey.
Buyers need a flexible purchasing experience that allows them to deal with unprecedented events that impact supply chains and logistics. This can be achieved through a simple digital interface (i.e. expediting or deferring orders, providing alternative fulfilment options across global warehouses to allow for business continuity).

Make information readily accessible.
Buyers want real-time, accurate information, available digitally, on the products they are purchasing (e.g. product expiry dates, understanding where that particular product batch was sourced).

For B2B to thrive in the coming post-COVID world, businesses must invest in both digital and service-oriented customer experiences; this requires the strategic harmonisation of both technology and the human touch.

To read more, download this month's Perspective Publication below.

Download this month's Perspective

Continue reading the full article in the August edition of Perspective.


Ben Morgan

Managing Director, Accenture New Zealand

Ben is a Managing Director and the Growth and Strategy Lead for Accenture New Zealand and brings 20 years of global experience in working with B2B and B2C organisations from a diverse range of industries.

He provides strategic advice on business, customer strategy and transformation and helps to link innovation to things that make a difference for people and organisations.

The views expressed above are the opinion of the author, not those of Fonterra, and Fonterra is not responsible for any decisions taken in reliance on the same.

  • Figure. 1 Accenture (2019), 80% of B2B Buyers Have Switched From Suppliers That are Unable to Align Their Services with Buyer Expectations, Accenture Interactive Research Finds.
  • Ibid

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