As a society, we’re heading toward a future where the businesses that provide more immersive experiences will come out on top.
Gone are the days where just any product that checks off boxes will suffice. Customers now expect brands to keep up with their ever-changing tastes and provide buying experiences as compelling as they are convenient.
This is where CPQ for B2B eCommerce steps in.
CPQ solutions configure, price, and quote complex orders without the headaches that the regular back-and-forth communications between departments usually entails. Because they automate the entire end-to-end process, there’s no room for human error, and customers get their customized products quicker, with fewer (if any) complaints.
Demand for visual CPQ solutions exploded during Covid as manufacturers scrambled to replace outdated face-to-face sales interactions with fully immersive B2B eCommerce buying experiences. But demand is still accelerating.
The CPQ software market is poised to grow by $1.14 bn during 2020-2024. Several influential consumer trends are at play that suggest B2B eCommerce is here to stay. This article explores these trends and what you can do to start leveraging CPQ before you get left behind.
How to Deliver a B2B eCommerce Experience
Executives shouldn’t think of eCommerce as "just another sales channel". Learn how this massive shift in B2B buying is shaping how companies win or lose.
- About B2B eCommerce
- Current Trends That Favor the Rise of CPQ for B2B eCommerce
- You Know the Data. What Will You Decide?
But First, Let’s Briefly Explain B2B eCommerce
In short, B2B eCommerce is the sale of goods or services between businesses through an eCommerce website. It often mimics the B2C online shopping experience (B2C companies are way ahead of their B2B counterparts when dealing with customers online.)
How Does CPQ Software Fit into B2B eCommerce?
CPQ software lets sales teams and end-customers accurately build, price, and quote complex products, eliminating the need for specialized training as well as the chance of human error.
CPQ software makes it possible for businesses to create custom orders and, crucially, gives them the facilities they need to execute those orders with ease.
Visual CPQ software like Epicor CPQ has a visual product configurator–an interface that buyers can use to customize and personalize complex products in real-time. Buyers are presented with 3D products on-screen and can point and click to change anything from colors to parts.
Configurators can easily be embedded into eCommerce websites to empower buyers to configure and purchase configurable products without interacting with (human) salespeople.
Why Current Trends Favor CPQ Software for B2B eCommerce
1. Personalized Products are the Future of eCommerce
Here are a few of the most prominent reasons why online personalized product sales are on the rise:
- Instant gratification. Our society is driven by instant gratification. Everything anyone wants or needs is available from the comfort of their own home–and fast. There’s no need for slow, in-person interactions anymore.
- Social sharing opportunities. It’s common for satisfied customers to share photos of their personalized purchases over social networks for a tiny ego boost. This creates brand ambassadors and a free marketing opportunity.
- Inherent feelings. Finally, you have consumers’ intrinsic feelings of pride, creativity, and the need to differentiate themselves from the masses.
What does this all equate to?
Huge potential for companies able to provide highly personalized products. CPQ makes this possible.
2. Buyers Will Spend MORE Money on Personalized Products
According to the Deloitte Consumer Review, 20% of buyers are willing to pay a premium for personalized products or services. That’s money for companies leveraging CPQ for B2B eCommerce. And of the consumers interested in customized products and services, over 40% prefer to be led by brands and choose from a selection of options.
3. Customer Experience Is Becoming The Most Dominant Factor in Purchase Decisions
The more consumers share feedback about their online purchases, the more customer experience matters and affects a brand’s reputation. When it comes to specifically improving customer experience in B2B eCommerce, CPQ solutions are the way to go.
Here are four reasons why:
- Shorter sales cycle. Before CPQ software, the sales team had to go through large product catalogs, draw out complicated diagrams, interact with engineers, and call the buyer nonstop until a final product was decided upon. Only then would it be sent to the manufacturing floor. With CPQ, the process is slashed to mere seconds. All an eCommerce customer needs to do is drag and drop to build their product in line with product rules, and voila! Product completed.
- More efficient experience. The logic and rules built into the backend of the 3D product configurator prevent technically non-viable selections when configuring highly complex products. Plus, a wide range of documents can be generated on the spot. This all makes for a better, more efficient engineer-to-order (ETO) process
- No human error. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Since everything is automated, there’s no room for human error. This equates to fewer delays, returns, and miscommunications in addition to higher customer satisfaction and retention.
- Higher buyer confidence. Due to real-time 3D product visualization, buyers can dynamically interact with their products to get the right configuration. This instills confidence in the purchase.
When things run smoothly internally (in your business), the outward reflection (what the buyer experiences) is flawless.
4. Visual Buying Experiences Are Driving Revenue Growth
Vision is our dominant sense. It facilitates up to 85% of our perception, learning, and cognition. So, if you want to engage your buyers fully, you need to do so in a visually compelling way–which is where CPQ steps in.
CPQ programs provide a fully immersive shopping experience for the buyer. Buyers can visualize what they’re going to buy in 2D, 3D, AR, or VR before they even complete the purchase.
We Know Where Trends Are Going. Will You Join In?
CPQ is here to stay, and its implementation in your B2B eCommerce operations could make the difference between sales plateauing and skyrocketing.
If you choose growth, here are some pointers to keep in mind so you can pick the right CPQ for B2B eCommerce:
- The more immersive, the better. Not all CPQ solutions have 3D, AR, or VR options. You’ll want to pick one that does. They provide a more immersive product visualization experience that will continue to transform the CPQ process in years to come.
- Advanced rules engine. The rules engine is the brain behind automated product configurations. It makes self-service buyers’ lives that much easier by guiding them to optimized configurations and preventing mistakes. If you sell technical products, make sure your rules engine can tackle complex mathematical functions and manufacturing data.
- Integrations. What use is CPQ software if you can’t integrate it with your other business technology? Integrations are the only way to deliver personalized buying experiences using data from your other platforms.
With a CPQ solution like Epicor CPQ, you can get all this and more. Contact us for a demo, and we’ll show you how.