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Despite predictions of the U.S. “soft-landing” instead of entering a recession in 2024, businesses understandably remain cautious with their budgets. Given current macroeconomic headwinds, companies must prioritize essential investments that drive meaningful ROI over “nice to haves” that provide marginal improvements.
As businesses tighten budgets, careful consideration goes into investing in new digital capabilities. Often, there is a greater focus on tools that maintain operations, and spending on digital enhancements gets pushed to the back-burner.
Yet, targeted investment in value-added digital capabilities remain top of mind. B2B connected commerce, which connects supplier eCommerce systems with buyer eProcurement or ERP systems via PunchOut, Purchase Order Automation and Invoice Automation, is one such investment that produces short and long-term benefits such as:
- Optimized order-to-cash processes
- Increased revenue
- Reduced friction within transactions
As businesses keep a vigilant focus on opportunities to boost efficiency and increase output, B2B connected commerce has evolved from not only a key competitive differentiator but increasingly a mandatory requirement. Those who embrace this strategy, position themselves as the preferred supplier enabling them to grow existing customers as well as acquire new business.
This blog considers the opportunity costs of not investing in B2B connected commerce, the value that it adds, and how a competitive, integrated digital offering can no longer be considered a nice-to-have for B2B eCommerce.
B2B Connected Commerce distinguishes the “good” from the “great”
B2B eCommerce has firmly established itself at the core of an effective B2B omnichannel sales strategy. A 2022 Forrester report forecasts that by 2027, US B2B eCommerce will reach $3 trillion. Similarly, Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B transactions will be through digital channels by 2025.
In a business environment when many may hit the brakes in terms of investing in eCommerce capabilities, leaders are leaning into realizing their full digital potential. One key way best-in-class suppliers enhance their eCommerce offering is through integrating their eCommerce platform with buyer eProcurement solutions.
Connected commerce enhances efficiency by creating a seamless flow of transaction data between buyers and suppliers. Integration is critical to B2B eCommerce success as it attracts and retains buyers, accelerates digital transactions, and creates more opportunities to increase revenue.
Buyers favor suppliers who can integrate with their eProcurement program because it eliminates manual effort in shopping, transaction and invoicing processes. In addition to streamlining and automating processes, integration enables suppliers to be compliant with their buyers purchasing policies. For these reasons, suppliers who support their customers’ requests for integration separate themselves from their peers to win wallet share in a time when buyer budgets may be limited.
The competitive risk of underinvesting in B2B connected commerce
As more suppliers invest in creating a seamless, efficient, scalable and compliant digital B2B commerce experience, buyers will gravitate towards those suppliers.
Suppliers that underinvest can quickly lose their competitive edge. Deferring investment risks having to play catch-up with competitors who invest now.
According to a recent TradeCentric report, 6 in 10 companies report that at least 21% of their customers are asking for eProcurement integration capabilities, so the potential opportunity costs of underinvestment are real. Buyers are clamoring for integration and those who respond will come out on top.
How TradeCentric can help
B2B connected commerce is a program, not a project. Companies that target and incrementally grow their digital capability over time, driven by business strategic goals, stand the best chance of reaping the benefits.
TradeCentric’s pre-built connectors and connected commerce solutions enable thousands of companies to seamlessly trade each and every day across a multitude of commerce and procurement platforms. Are you ready to level up your B2B transactions, or will you fall to competitors who are? Contact us to get started.