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May 21, 2019 | 2 minute read

B2B ecommerce: four challenges to overcome

written by Kristin Schepici

A successful B2B digital transformation doesn’t mean going from paper catalogs to artificial intelligence (AI) overnight. And as much as this phrase is overused, it really needs to be a “crawl, walk, run” venture for B2B organizations to succeed. 

Before setting out on this digital transformation journey, let’s go over the challenges the industry currently faces and what steps other B2B organizations are taking to overcome them.


Time-honored analog relationships
For many B2B organizations they have spent most of their history offline. Having built customer relationships in-person or over the phone - all human interactions. Therefore, what B2B buyers have come to expect from sellers aren't always a part of the buying experience when moving to digital. However, a small AI-powered implementation of say a chatbot can empower customer service reps with conversational marketing tools to cross-sell or upsell. Ecommerce chatbots can also allow customer service reps to engage with more than one customer at time, reducing lag time between serving clients.  Learn how a 112-year old distributor transformed with a chatbot.

How an HVACR supplier increased their speed to market and online sales with a modern ecommerce platform

Managing multifaceted purchase flows 
Portland, OR-based HVACR supplier, Johnstone Supply has a business model that is centered on selling equipment and parts to contractors from hundreds of suppliers. Resulting in an ecommerce catalog of more than 100,000 products and a million SKUs. This complexity places a lot of demand on their backend systems; and with ongoing challenges to leverage their product and customer data, they realized their current commerce solution was not able to handle the digitalization of the work flow, especially if it is account-specific. Learn how they reevaluated their existing commerce and CX technology stack.

Swisscom lost its head_Get Elastic

Disjointed legacy systems
Swisscom was struggling to get new offerings to market fast and the overall customer experience was becoming fragmented. Since they had used a full stack commerce platform, their heavy back-end systems were slowing down customer-facing front-end innovation. Legacy applications and organizational silos prevent companies from taking advantage of new technologies and customer touchpoints. Learn why Swisscom is no longer limited to the capabilities of their monolithic platform, and our now building with their customers’ expectations guiding the way.  


Global growth and efficiency
Managing global expansions can be a daunting task when approaching the laundry list of local requirements and supply chain complexities in each county. Ana Milevskaja, Senior Product Marketing Director at Elastic Path states, "it can start with leveraging a third party provider for a merchant of record and supply chain services, such as Digital River, or leveraging third party marketplaces, such as TMall and Alibaba. Partnering with a local expert to understand regulations for your products is a must. Learning from this experience and adapting to local laws and customs will help build a sustainable global business.