Here are some intangible strategies that every tangible business must consider deeply to have a competitive advantage.
The internet and digital technologies have completely reshaped the consumer landscape. Today’s buyers are highly informed, empowered, and engaged online.
According to a survey by Statista in 2021, 60% of the B2B buyer’s journey now takes place digitally, compared to 53% in 2020. And this statistic has increased today.
This massive shift means that companies must transform digitally to keep up.
Digital transformation is no longer an option, but a necessity for business growth and survival. Those that embrace it will reap the rewards; ones that don’t will get left behind.
This article provides a roadmap and some case studies for how B2B and e-commerce companies can digitally transform to maximize reach and engagement.
The B2B Digital Transformation
For B2B manufacturers, digital transformation is radically optimising operations in addition to sales and marketing. From shop floors to supply chains, emerging technologies are enabling new levels of efficiency and visibility.
Digital twins create virtual replications of physical assets like factories and machines. Companies can simulate changes risk-free before implementing them.
For example, BMW uses digital twins to monitor and control its production processes in real time, ensuring the quality and efficiency of its products. Digital Twin also enables BMW to test new designs and configurations before implementing them in the physical world, saving time and resources.
Here is another example of how manufacturing units or factories can use digital twins to maximize their productivity.
Augmented and Virtual reality immerse workers in hazardous repair scenarios without danger. Technicians at Siemens Energy leverage AR when servicing wind turbines, improving first-time fix rates. VR safety simulations at Walmart reduced accidents by over 15%.(Source)
Smart robotics and automation handle repetitive and dangerous jobs reliably. One example of smart robotics and automation is the use of autonomous drones for delivery.
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly without human intervention, using GPS, cameras and sensors to navigate and avoid obstacles. Drones can deliver goods faster, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods.
Robotic arms and automated forklifts are also examples of smart robotics and automation. They can perform tasks in factories or cold storage units that are tedious, risky or require high precision.
AI is more than a buzzword in the financial sector. It is a powerful tool that can automate and optimize complex tasks. A prime example is COiN, a software developed by JPMorgan that uses AI to analyse legal documents and extract key data points. By using COiN, JPMorgan has saved over 360,000 hours of legal review time per year.
The next industrial revolution is already here. B2B leaders must embrace digital transformation of operations to maximize efficiency and productivity. The future belongs to those leveraging technologies like digital twins, AR/VR, AI and intelligent automation.
The E-commerce Digital Shift
To provide seamless online experiences, e-commerce brands must leverage emerging technologies. Interactive 3D and 360-degree spin views allow deeper product visualization. Customers can examine details from all angles before purchasing.
Retail giants like Amazon and Lowes are increasingly adopting 3D models for items like furniture, apparel, and electronics.
Augmented reality takes visualization even further with virtual try-ons and overlays in real-world settings. Cosmetic brand L’Oreal uses AR so customers can virtually test products from home.
Gucci has an AR shoe-fitting app to find the perfect size.
Even cars can be configured and placed in your driveway with AR.
Gamification techniques like points, levels, rewards, and leaderboards have become standard for e-commerce loyalty programs. Nike’s app engages members with fitness challenges to earn exclusives. Gamification allows brands to motivate actions while learning more about customers.
By blending digital experiences with real-world context, e-commerce businesses can provide more interactive, personalized shopping that builds loyalty. As technology progresses, customers will come to expect nothing less.
Soon there would be a Super app that can do a lot of things in one place.
Here is an immersive way of selling multiple wearable items in one store.
The digital retail landscape is evolving rapidly – businesses must actively explore emerging tech or risk falling behind competitors.
The Payoff of Going Digital
Ultimately, digitally maturing unlocks transformational advantages:
Wider Reach: Schneider Electric expanded its B2B partner program digitally across 156 countries, driving $1 billion in indirect sales. Amazon leveraged its digital commerce foundation to launch locally in Australia in 2017 – and saw a 500% increase in third-party seller growth within two years (Source)
Deeper Engagement – Online personalization and communities breed loyalty. A study found that 96% of customers are more likely to do repeat business with brands offering personalized experiences.
Increased Efficiency – Automating manual tasks and inventory management cuts costs. Adopting self-service portals reduces customer support burdens.
Growth – B2B companies that have digitally transformed grow revenues 32% faster. E-commerce businesses that leverage emerging tech see 40%+ higher sales growth.
Faster Growth: General Electric saw industrial IoT drive a nearly 100% increase in service revenues. IKEA’s AR shopping app boosted online sales by 30% in markets where it launched.
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