More influencers, fewer retailers and niche marketplaces – that’s how the B2B market will make change, and experience change, in the coming year. That is the prediction of Håkan Nylander, Chief Strategy Officer, Litium.“These trends have already gained momentum in the US and parts of Europe. They are now making headway in the Nordics,” he says.
Digital commerce is growing, and as a result of the current pandemic, it has gained even more momentum. At Litium, Håkan Nylander is working hard to predict trends in the area and to see where it is all headed. He highlights three trends that will have an impact on the B2B sector in the coming years.
Growing number of B2B influencers
We will be seeing a greater number of influencers in B2B, made up of various area experts. Their expertise has gained people's attention and more people are choosing to follow them.
“More and more companies have started using B2B influencers to generate interest in their products and services. Influencers play an important role in the beginning of a customer’s search for products and understanding of what is on offer. Easy access to the product opinions of someone who is perceived as credible in the area, significantly facilitates the customer’s purchasing process,” says Håkan Nylander.
Take for example: With his 680,000 YouTube followers, British coffee enthusiast James Hoffman influences consumers and companies alike
Retailers may become a thing of the past
By employing retailers, manufacturers have been able to focus on their core business. An increased need for customer data will cause the role of retailers to change. They will have to focus more on service and after-market support while manufacturers take over the tasks of sales and customer relations.
“There is a certain amount of frustration when working with retailers. You don't always have a direct connection with your end customer and therefore, you may not always fully understand their needs. Direct sales enable you to collect more data on your customers’ needs, helping you enter new markets. I think a lot of B2B companies will need to look over their business model, one advantage being that they will automatically gain better control of their brand,” says Nylander.
Take for example: A greater number of car manufacturers are following Tesla's example, moving away from the traditional retail model and into selling directly to their end customers online.
Increase in specialized B2B marketplaces
We will be seeing an increase in niched B2B marketplaces, whether it be those with a wide product range in a particular sector or those that target a particular customer segment. Here, companies possess great knowledge of their products and customers, and sell in many countries.
“In Europe today, there are over 300 B2B marketplaces. These actors’ innovative digital solutions have allowed better B2B customer service and as a result, quick expansion on new markets. B2B marketplaces have attracted a great deal of venture capital in Europe, and I believe we will be seeing similar investments here in Sweden,” Nylander states.
Take for example: The European marketplace Ankorstore, challengers of traditional wholesalers.