B2B companies are all too aware of increasingly tough competition and the proliferation of product information demands—and new research from product information management (PIM) firm inRiver reveals it’s time for B2B commerce to pivot.
The fact is, B2B buyers are used to the seamless buying process they experience as consumers—making the pressure for product sellers to adapt to buyer demands very real. The breakdown of silos that used to separate marketing from IT are evaporating is ushering in the new practice of Adaptive Merchandising—and brands that don’t adapt to this new art of marketing across channels will likely not survive.
Adaptive Merchandising is defined as knowing how customers are making purchasing decisions, adapting to their needs and merchandising product content so that they make the most informed purchase decisions.
inRiver’s newly released report, How B2B Companies Solve Challenges of Revenue and Scale with Better Product Information, collects insights from decision makers in a variety of sectors like manufacturing, food and beverage, construction, fashion and luxury goods to identify common drivers of lost revenue, delayed or cancelled product launches, and customer dissatisfaction among global businesses as well as the impact of consumerization of B2B practices.
All industries expect an uptick in revenue around a new product launch. However, businesses miscalculate the impact erroneous product information has on revenue potential, critical relationships among distribution partners, a brand’s ability to go to market faster than the competition, or in building and sustaining trust among customers. These new insights are intended to educate enterprises on trends and insights that affect business growth—and how to solve them via Adaptive Merchandising.
Highlights of the report:
Incorrect product information is the leading driver of lost revenue around a launch
One in three U.S. businesses have had product pulled from shelves or experienced a delayed product launch because of inaccurate or inconsistent product information. Among the 26 percent of UK businesses where this has happened, 33 percent identify this as a frequent challenge. This is also a key driver of product returns among German businesses, and core source of customer dissatisfaction.
Competition will continue to intensify
The average business has more than five competitors, and for some enterprises, this exceeds 15 competitors. All global businesses are experiencing greater competition since 2014, and expect this to increase. This is in addition to planning around the “Amazon Effect” and new online channels or distributors. The industries most impacted are construction and industrial manufacturing as syndication of content is difficult for thousands of SKUs and products.
Automation remains a struggle
Keeping track of product information updates is a global challenge as many product detail updates are still manual. In the U.S., 52 percent of business leaders identify this as a major pain point, particularly around what information is updated and where. In the UK and Germany, the larger challenge hinges on ensuring product details meet all the standards, formats and compliance standards of a new market or channel.
“When it comes to an effective and profitable product launch or development of a new channel, the devil is in the details,” said Thor Johnson, CEO of inRiver, in a news release. “Millions of dollars and thousands of team hours are invested into and around the launch of any product, but many businesses struggle in making this process faster, scalable, and a frictionless experience for their buyers. Our latest research spotlights shared headaches among business leaders and offers guidance on how companies can bring new efficiencies to their go-to-market strategies for commerce and merchandising success.”
This survey was conducted by Savanta in September 2019. Insights were collected from 1,333 senior decision makers across various industries (manufacturing, food and beverage, medical device manufacturing, construction, home improvement, furniture manufacturing, fashion and luxury goods) from the US, UK and DACH region, including Germany, Nordics, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most participants were senior decision makers, including vice presidents, C-level executives, and owners or partners of the business.