December 2 2021
The pandemic has accelerated the emergence of a new, global competitive situation in which customer experience is the decisive factor. In all sectors, the Finnish market is also increasingly being entered by agile and efficient global actors. Customers' spending habits have changed, and there is greater variety to choose from than before. As a result, customers hold more and more power. This can be seen in how it is easier than ever for consumers to compare prices of different suppliers, products and services, access detailed product information, and share their experiences with other consumers. Modern digital services aimed at consumers are very user-oriented, and these consumer experiences also set the bar for the B2B experience.
Unfortunately, user experiences of B2B services are generally very poor. The most common reason for this is that digital B2B services are primarily designed as a means to execute transactions between companies rather than provide service to the user.
Having followed the trends in digital sales for a long time, I’m happy to say that the situation is changing. Companies have begun to demand more sophisticated and user-friendly services from their partners, and above all for these services to integrate with the company’s own sourcing process.
Looking at the issue through numbers helps us understand the importance of digital sales to the market. According to a study conducted this autumn by our partner Valor Partners , last year, the combined value of online sales in Finland in the industrial, service, wholesale and retail sectors was around 86 billion euros and accounted for about 14% of total sales in the sectors. In addition, online sales are growing at a rate of 9% annually.
When discussing digital sales, the question often arises whether online commerce is adequate today and in the near future. It’s helpful to understand a little about the context around the theme.
In the early days of the Internet, digitalization, particularly in the form pushed by banking and financial industries, was above all about enabling self-service. Tasks that had been previously done by a bank clerk were handed over to consumers. Similarly, the first steps of online shopping in practice meant transferring the old business model online as it stood. The amount of added value created for the company or consumers was little more than that of traditional mail order sales.
From these beginnings, we have come a long way. Today, we can say that digital sales transforms the way a company operates, both internally and with its surrounding ecosystem of customers, suppliers and partners, for example. In other words, digital sales is not just about online shopping and portals but a holistic process of building commercial capabilities and redesigning business. The goal is to boost the efficiency of the company and its value network and improve customer experience.
How do we get started? The simplest way is to look at the company’s current situation: what challenges and opportunities are there in the business environment, from customers, partners and suppliers to internal processes, systems, employees and data. Once the current situation is clear, outlining the company’s target state in digital sales and establishing a step-by-step path towards that goal becomes much simpler.
Interested in learning more? Take the free Data Driven Digital Sales webinar series. You’ll have the opportunity to hear perspectives on digital sales and learn about capabilities that your company can improve to be more successful in the future. The webinars are also available as recordings. Learn more and sign up from the link below.
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