With the rise of Amazon, Uber, and home IoT products, consumer expectations for real-time visibility and connectivity have never been higher. And these trends are not isolated to the world of B2C. Consumers’ experiences are now
informing their professional expectations, and this is driving digitalization across every industry — none more so than supply chain.
In our recent white paper The Digital Supply Chain: Meeting Rising Expectations in the Age of Amazon, we discuss how rising consumer expectations are driving new requirements for industrial supply chains. But what are some of the specific trends in the consumer space that are impacting B2B requirements for visibility?
One of the biggest recent innovations in the consumer space has been in the level of transparency and visibility available for online shopping. When you order a product on Amazon, you get real-time, to-the-minute updates regarding the status of your shipment. Even your local pizza shop sends email and text message updates, providing real-time insight into the status of your meal as it's delivered from the oven to your doorstep.
In response to these rising expectations for real-time visibility into consumer shipments, B2B businesses have begun investing in similar tracking solutions to improve their customers' experiences. According to a 2016 PWC report on the future of the logistics industry, “like individual consumers, industrial customers now expect to get shipments faster, more flexibly, and with more transparency at a lower price.” To meet these rising expectations, manufacturers and shippers are integrating real-time multi-sensor trackers into their supply chains, enabling a new level of immediate insight into the location and condition of in-transit goods.
Another high-profile consumer trend is the growing expectation for on-demand services. The prime example of this trend is the skyrocketing popularity of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, as well as bikeshare services like Mobike, LimeBike, and Bird. These services make it possible to order a car or borrow a bike at low rates without any planning ahead. Similarly, services such as Uber Eats and Grubhub make it possible to order food for immediate delivery at the touch of a button, while apps like TaskRabbit enable consumers to request virtually any kind of freelance service in a matter of hours or less.
While many commercial goods cannot be prepared and delivered quite as quickly as consumer products and services, these rising consumer expectations for on-demand service have spilled into the B2B world as well. Wholesalers that once relied heavily on traditional, slow-moving sales tools such as phone calls and storefronts are now adapting to consumers’ growing expectations for a customer-driven eCommerce experience. This means mobile-friendly digital stores that enable easy online ordering, SEO-optimized digital tools, and a smooth, consumer-esque shopping and support experience. In fact, a recent report from Forrester found that 74% of B2B buyers preferred to buy online rather than from a traditional sales representative, preferring the fast, smooth experience of on-demand shopping to a traditional, lengthier sales process.
Finally, no matter the industry, global coverage has become a must-have in recent years. From Wi-Fi enabled global communication tools such as Skype and the Google suite, to flexible cell phone plans allowing affordable international roaming, to home IoT devices that enable you to stay connected to your home camera or other systems from anywhere in the world, the modern consumer expects to maintain connectivity worldwide. And that standard for global visibility is having a huge impact on the commercial supply chain.
The world is smaller than ever before. To stay competitive, manufacturers and shippers are embracing a global mentality, and investing in tracking technologies that enable them to keep an eye on their goods as they travel all around the world. With IoT-powered multi-sensor tracking, it becomes possible not just to know the location of in-transit goods as they traverse a global supply chain, but to stay connected and maintain visibility into the precise condition of these vital shipments.
Go Digital — Or Get Left Behind
The key to all these trends is a growing reliance on digital tools and technologies. To stay competitive in the modern landscape — and stay relevant in the minds of today's Amazon Age consumers — it is vital that manufacturers and shippers integrate globally connected, real-time digital technologies into their supply chains. With comprehensive digitalization, modern B2B businesses can gain a new level of visibility, and ensure that their customers enjoy a top-notch supply chain experience from end to end.
To learn more, download our free white paper: The Digital Supply Chain: Meeting Rising Expectations in the Age of Amazon. And if you'd like to gain a new level of visibility into your supply chain, request a trial with Tive today.