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03 Jul 2024

How can B2B companies benefit from unified commerce?

How can B2B companies benefit from unified commerce?

As customer expectations rise and purchasing processes become increasingly complex, companies have everything to gain from using an approach that blurs the boundaries between online and offline sales to stay competitive. Unified commerce offers a powerful solution for centralizing data, harmonizing interactions across all channels and delivering a seamless customer experience. For merchants whose main customers are businesses (B2B), unified commerce can be leveraged to optimize operations, improve customer satisfaction and drive growth.

What is unified commerce?

Unified commerce for B2B companies represents a strategic approach that aims to integrate and harmonize all interactions and transactions across different sales and communication channels. Unlike the traditional omnichannel model, which treats each channel separately, unified commerce centralizes all customer data, inventories and ordering processes within a coherent, interconnected system.

Here are some examples of unified commerce applications in a B2B context

Manufacturers with multiple distribution centers can offer their customers a consistent online ordering experience, despite inventory challenges. Customer information is centralized, ensuring unified logistics across all sales channels. Inventory is synchronized with the B2B ordering portal, and is available in real time. The manufacturer can therefore limit potential losses caused by stock-outs by offering customers several options. They can also gain in operational efficiency thanks to this digital transformation, in addition to meeting the personalized needs of their customers.

A B2B business involved in distribution could adopt a unified commerce approach, involving its sales force, for example. Sales reps on the road or in distribution centers could use a transactional platform tailored to their needs. On mobile or tablet, a version of eCommerce with key information for a B2B purchasing process such as product information, customer information, available inventory, purchase history and preferences. It’s a way of unifying the online shopping cart in a face-to-face transaction context. This example also applies in the context of a business selling multi-channel B2B and B2C, or in a B2B2C model.

What are the advantages of unified B2B commerce?

With unified commerce, you can improve : 

  • Inventory management: Real-time tracking of inventory, reducing out-of-stocks and lost sales
  • Personalization: Offer customized product recommendations thanks to customer data analysis
  • Customer service: Reduce costs and automate processes by unifying data
  • Seamless customer experience: Harmonize interactions across all channels
  • Returns management: Simplification of in-store returns, positively influencing online purchasing decisions

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How do I know if my business is ready for unified commerce?

To determine whether your company is ready to adopt a unified commerce strategy, it’s necessary to assess several factors. First, your business’ digital maturity, including investment in digital solutions and a solid data infrastructure, is essential. You also need to have a clear understanding of customer behaviors and preferences through thorough data analysis. It’s also important to check whether your current digital ecosystem has sufficient technological capabilities to deliver a unified experience. Finally, the commitment of your team is paramount, as they must be ready to support the transition to unified commerce.

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Signs that you could benefit from a unified commerce strategy

There are several indicators that a unified commerce strategy could benefit your business. For example, growing online demand, with increasing sales and customer expectations for a consistent shopping experience, is an important signal. The need for personalization to deliver tailored recommendations and shopping experiences, which can help build customer loyalty, is another element that can help you make the shift to unified commerce, as is the automation of customer service tasks to address labor shortages and improve operational efficiency. Finally, if inventory management becomes complex due to the diversity of sales channels, a unified commerce strategy can simplify this process and meet customer expectations more effectively.

Unified commerce offers B2B companies an ideal solution for centralizing customer data, harmonizing interactions across all channels and delivering a seamless customer experience. By optimizing operations, personalizing recommendations and simplifying inventory management, this approach makes it possible to effectively meet customers’ growing expectations, and improve customer satisfaction.

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