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How is AI shaping the future of B2B E-commerce?

Most people have experienced AI in one form or another via interactions with websites such as Amazon or Netflix with their personalized recommendations or with AI assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Home. This trend of using AI and machine learning is no longer limited only to B2C. The growing popularity of AI is influencing B2B buyer expectations and B2B companies are increasingly leveraging AI and machine learning to improve search, personalization, reordering, and ultimately streamline business processes.

The application of AI and machine learning needs to be refined and fine-tuned as the process followed by B2B companies is completely different than the B2C company processes.

How can AI change the following aspects of B2B ecommerce?

Product search

person searching for products online

AI is enabling the next generation set of search tools. Buyers no longer need to depend on catalogs to search for products. Using image recognition, a mobile app can enable buyers to search for an app using a picture captured by their smartphone. The app can deliver relevant results based on the image along with the buyer's purchase history.

Another method used by buyers include voice - and find it convenient to send voice prompts to Siri, Google Home or Alexa as search queries. Combining traditional text-based search and text-to-speech along with image recognition allows the buyer to search according to his/her individual preference.

Chatbots are greatly improving interactions with buyers through conversations that mimic real-life dialogues exchanged by people in real-life.

Crafting recommendations

As B2B buyers, the expectation is fast and relevant search results. Leveraging AI, businesses can anticipate buyer needs by analyzing their past purchases to predict what they may need next. This process further enables automated marketing campaigns which, makes reordering easier.

It can also be leveraged to recommend complementary products or services. For instance, if a buyer has previously purchased a set of cutlery, the recommendation engine would show a variety of cutlery organizers that would complement the set. AI can also personalize and optimize promotions and sales offers based on comparing purchase history of clients with business-wide patterns.

This provides an enhanced experience for the buyer, which helps build brand loyalty.

person holding a tablet with data stats

Real-time data collection

Procuring usable information from the data generated by an e-commerce business can be an extremely difficult task. With AI, extracting relevant and usable information becomes easy, which further enables the business to identify new patterns of buyer behavior to improve product offers, and speed up decision-making.
Administrative processes such as stock control can also be optimized with automated tracking and reordering, saving valuable time for businesses.

Though B2B e-commerce trends differ from B2C, B2B businesses expect the same user-friendly online buying experience that they get from consumer websites. With more companies adopting AI-based applications into their business models, it becomes imperative for B2B businesses to evolve with the changing technology trends. This further helps them to get an edge over their competitors and stay ahead.

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