Today’s blog post was delayed by my traveling to San Antonio, TX for an industry-specific trade show. It’s been nearly three years since I last traveled by airplane, but I grew up as an airline brat and I thought I had this flying thing down. Needless to say, things have changed considerably in three years. There were two things about my travels that got me thinking and I wanted to share them with you.
The first thing that stunned me was the fact that a traveler no longer has to print out a boarding pass to gain access to her flight. Nor does she have to check-in with a gate agent or at a check-in terminal. Both of these actions can be completed from her smart phone. Quickly downloading an app allows the traveler to check in as well as provides the traveler with a unique boarding pass containing a special bar code that can be scanned at security check points as well as when she boards the aircraft. I had no idea that technology had moved on that far in the world of air travel in the short time since I last flew. Luckily, the road warriors that I am traveling with quickly got me up to speed on how to navigate these changes. I must say that they are truly time-saving innovations.
The second thing that caught my eye was the wide availability of automated and fully-branded “mini stores” that are really high-priced vending machines. They seemed to be around every corner. For example, in a Best Buy Mini Store, travelers can replace a forgotten camera, purchase an iPod with preloaded music in a genre that suits their tastes and noise-canceling head phones while waiting to board their flight. The mini store concept clearly serves the customer with what they want or need most, when and where they need it.
What do these observations have to do with B2B ecommerce?
A lot, it seems to me.
The world of B2B ecommerce is growing at a rapid pace. Technology is changing, and as it does, it is changing the B2B sales experience. If you’ve been biding your time waiting to see if this “B2B ecommerce thing” pans out, I assure you that it is here to stay and that if you don’t start changing the way you do business to accommodate what today’s customer demands, you will find yourself falling further and further behind the competition. The time to get into the game of meeting your customers where they are and by providing your products for purchase in their preferred format is now. Dont let the future of B2B business pass you by.
To learn more about how to grow your B2B ecommerce presence, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.