2018 Technology Trends That’ll Shape B2B eCommerce in 2019

January 10, 2019

Category: Best Practices

2019 is here.

The beginning of the year is always buzzing with goal setting and strategy alignment.  In order to ensure success in the new year, it’s important to take a step back, review and reflect on the year prior.

2018 was a big year in many respects, and technology was no exception.

Here’s a look at five of the most newsworthy technology trends of 2018 that we believe will shape the direction we go in 2019.

Here are the 2018 Technology Trends that’ll shape the B2B eCommerce Space in 2019

1. B2B eCommerce sales in the US reached $1 Trillion.

Forrester research published a new report in December, forecasting that B2B eCommerce in the United States will reach the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018.  Total B2B online sales for 2018 were expected to reach $1.134 trillion, up 17% from $969 billion in 2017. Previously, Forester had predicted B2B online sales to reach $1 trillion by 2020, putting us ahead of that prediction.

By 2023, Forrester predicts B2B eCommerce will hit $1.840 trillion, up 9.4% from the projected $1.682 trillion we’ll hit in 2022.

Why this is important: Online sales are becoming an expectation, whether we’re talking B2B or B2C online sales. If your company wants to remain competitive and relevant, you’ll want to make sure digital transformation, B2B eCommerce and order management strategies are at the top of your agenda in 2019.

2. Amazon continues to roll out it’s Amazon Go store strategy.

Amazon continues to shake up the retail world with the rollout of its cashless, cashier-less Go store. At Amazon Go store locations, shoppers can grab what they need and walk right out without waiting in a check-out line. Amazon continues to prove two important things: that it is the future of retail, and that the omnichannel experience is as important as ever to consumers.

Why this is important: We’re seeing retailers prioritize the omnichannel experience. If the past is the best predictor of the present, we know this will trickle down to the B2B space too. Companies need to make sure they’re thinking ahead about how they can extend their B2B eCommerce experience to new channels.

3. Facebook’s data breach and Europe’s launch of GDPR pushed security and data privacy to the top of everyone’s agenda.

This year one of the world’s most recognizable tech brands, Facebook, faced it’s harshest criticism to date with it’s massive Cambridge Analytica data breach and misuse case. The personal data of 87 million people were lost, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress. The brand couldn’t catch a break and faced an additional breach of 50 million late in the year.

Why this is important: Even the largest companies aren’t immune to data breaches, which reinforces the urgency and necessity to keep security a priority for 2019. Future looking technology leaders should ensure that data and security are a key topic with stakeholders.

The General Data Protection Regulation was also implemented in May. The GDPR is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to individuals over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.

Why this is important: Since the beginning, the internet has made it easy to do business across the globe. As your business grows, ensure that you are complying with international regulations to meet the needs of your customers.

4. Tech giants IBM and Microsoft make future-looking acquisitions focused on expanding their cloud-based capabilities.

In October, tech giant IBM agreed to acquire Red Hat, for a $34 billion. Not only is this one of the largest tech acquisitions, but it means that predictions cloud-based software is the way of the future are correct. With Red Hat, IBM will be able to become the largest hybrid cloud provider. To the rest of the world, that means that the cloud is top of mind.

In June, Microsoft confirmed that it agreed to acquire Github. Github is the top software development platform in the world and the most popular destination for open source software projects. Microsoft’s recent moves around the cloud and AI align well with this acquisition. And because every company is becoming a software company today, Microsoft wants to be at the center of that.

Why this is important: These two acquisitions give a clear message to the technology industry – open source and the cloud are the future. Technology giants have realized that open source and the cloud are powerful tools to disrupt the industry in the coming years. For B2B businesses, this means evaluating your current technology stack to determine if replatforming to cloud-based solutions should be a priority in 2019.

5. Google’s Duplex AI Tricks a Human.

At Google’s annual developer conference in June, a new artificial intelligence technology called Duplex made a dinner reservation over the phone. This was done without confusing the person on the other end of the line. They had no idea they were talking to a robot. Google proved the importance of understanding AI as the technology develops and becomes an important part of our lives.

Why this is important: The once emerging technologies like AI, Augmented Reality, and Virtual reality are here to stay. As B2B catches up to the fast-paced innovation of B2C, be aware the B2B consumers are going to be looking for the same experience they get in their day to day lives. B2B businesses can get started utilizing these technologies through tools like chatbots, predictive sales grading, and virtual showrooms.

It’s no surprise that technology was at the center of some of the biggest trends of 2018. Understanding why these trends are important to B2B businesses can help guide your strategy for 2019 and beyond. Taking advantage of modern technologies allows you to give your customers a game-changing online experience.

Throughout our new eBook, we’ll explore our 6 B2B eCommerce predictions for 2019, and what you need to know for your future success.
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