Harnessing B2B Marketing Trends to Build a Powerful Wholesale Experience for Retailers
Take a look at some of the ways your brand can grow and improve your B2B offering in 2023
2023 is almost here! This means fresh initiatives and opportunities to advance your wholesale B2B channels, strengthen existing relationships with retailers, and open new doors. There are some exciting trends emerging across the B2B landscape, including rethinking how a B2B system can function, incorporating micro-influencer marketing into the B2B experience, and offering augmented-reality experiences to buyers.
Trend #1: Make It More like B2C
This isn’t a new trend, but it’s even more relevant now. The drive to make your B2B act more like your B2C is still a key priority for brands.
Why? It’s what your retailers are expecting.
This means making sure your wholesale B2B platform meets expectations in tooling and functionality. Specifically, you need:
- Shopping-cart functionality
- A fully shoppable platform
- A 24/7 self-service portal
- Easy follow-ups on abandoned carts and unfinished orders
As more and more Millennials and Gen Z’ers become retail buyers, it’s critical to realize they don’t want to be sold to—they want to be engaged with a genuine experience, driven by personalized content and shared values. These buyers are digital natives, and they expect the B2B experience they have at work to mirror the B2C experience they have at home. “We have the best widget for the best price” isn’t enough anymore, and the new buyers will move on to brands that offer the experience they want.
The key pieces of functionality you need to deliver a more engaging experience to the digital natives in your platform are:
- Access to data, analytics, and insights
- Strong segmentation tools and ways to deliver personalized experiences
- A powerful digital or virtual showroom
Trend #2: Influencer Marketing + User Generated Content
As consumers ourselves, we run into influencers and user-generated content (UGC) daily. Whether it’s someone in our personal social feed recommending a product, or a social network’s algorithm delivering influencer content relevant to our known interests, or a peer inviting us into a new digital community, it’s how business is getting done.
While you can’t put those same algorithmic tools into your wholesale B2B platform (because it isn’t a social network), you can still harness the power of influencer marketing and UGC inside your B2B. Modern buyers are looking for more-personal experiences, and they’re placing more weight on a brand’s reputation and values than ever before.
Fortunately, this increase in attention to influencer marketing comes with a focus on micro-influencers. Research shows that niche influencers have the highest engagement rate across all platforms. You can take this knowledge and apply it to your B2B platform by tapping into key reps and retailers across your B2B landscape.
As you build out your digital showrooms and retailer experiences, you should work with your reps, superusers, retailers, and channel partners as micro-influencers to generate testimonial content in the form of quotes, recommendations, videos, or whatever else you can collaborate on. Fortunately, since your digital B2B experiences are handcrafted, you can curate this content to harness the power of influencer marketing and UGC as a way to create trust and drive growth, without having to rely on the whims of an algorithm.
Trend #3: Augmented Reality and 3D Models Are Changing the Face of B2B
As reported by ARtillery Intelligence, there were almost 600 million active AR devices in 2020, and that number is expected to hit 1.73 billion by 2024. It has become clear that augmented reality is more than just a quick fix for supply-chain and pandemic issues—it’s here to stay.
Amazon has an AR try-on experience for shoes in its B2C marketing. And once again, as we continue to see buyers push for B2B platforms that deliver a B2C-like experience, the demand for AR inside B2B is rising. Wolverine Worldwide recently built virtual experiences and delivered augmented-reality showrooms to its buyers at its global sales conference in 2022.
3D Model Produced by Envoy Studios
This is an especially powerful trend to jump on as brands continue to find it difficult to provide samples amid supply-chain issues. Reps and retailers can use AR technology to interact with a product and get as close to the real thing as possible. Inside of your B2B, augmented reality and digital 3D models can enhance your showroom and buying experiences, creating new ways to merchandise directly on store shelves and improving education for retailers.
3D models of your products can be the source of additional 2D and Video eCom content. This drops cost and affords your brand complete flexibility in creating additional content on demand during the season to easily support several channels with content.
Don’t Forget Your B2B Fundamentals
As you move into 2023, it will be critical to remember to stick to your fundamentals along with all these new technologies and trends. Part of the reason we are seeing greater demand for B2C-like experiences, and why tapping into your user base for content and shared experiences will work, is because retailers still want that human connection.
Trends in wholesale B2B strategies enable brands to find ways to engage with people, conduct more business, and generate greater success. But it can be easy to lean into them too much and lose that essential human connection that retailers crave.
Every interaction users have inside your B2B should be an engaging, personal experience that adds value. Envoy B2B delivers the tools to harness these upcoming 2023 B2B trends, while still creating opportunities for you to interact with and support your retailers.
Get in touch to learn more about why our obsession is helping retailers fall in love with your brand, and how we can get your brand’s B2B up to speed on the latest trends.
Envoy B2B is a wholesale content and e-commerce platform for your entire team. Our tools and services are designed to help you create dynamic content, increase your speed of sale, and bring you closer to your retailers. Envoy B2B provides the technology you need to empower your team and support your retail channel. Envoy currently works with great clients like Ducati, Lems footwear, Howler Brothers, Gogglesoc, Green Lines, Keds, Merrell, Hush Puppies, Cat Footwear, Chaco, Saucony, Oofos, Topo Designs, Joules, and more.