The B2B buying experience should be frictionless, and so the pressure to adapt to buyer demands is real.
New research from inRiver finds heightened competition, speed to market, and tracking & sourcing up-to-date product information across markets to be the biggest challenges faced by businesses across sectors, including fashion & luxury goods, manufacturing and construction, when handling product launches.
All industries included in the survey expect an uptick in revenue around a new product launch. However, businesses miscalculate the impact erroneous product information has on revenue potential, critical relationships among distribution partners, a brand’s ability to go to market faster than the competition, or in building and sustaining trust among customers. This new report is part of inRiver’s commitment to educate enterprises on trends and insights that affect business growth and how to solve them via Adaptive Merchandising™.
The definition of Adaptive Merchandising is knowing how customers are making purchasing decisions, adapting to their needs and merchandising product content so that they make the most informed purchase decisions.
Highlights of the B2B report:
- Incorrect product information is the leading driver of lost revenue around a launch: 1 in 3 US businesses have had product pulled from shelves or experienced a delayed product launch because of inaccurate or inconsistent product information. In the UK, over a quarter (26%) admit this has happened frequently. This is also a key driver of product returns among German businesses, and core source of customer dissatisfaction.
- Competition will continue to intensify: The average business has more than five competitors, and for some enterprises, this exceeds 15 competitors. All global businesses are experiencing greater competition since 2014, and expect this to increase. This is in addition to planning around the “Amazon Effect” and new online channels or distributors. The industries most impacted are construction and industrial manufacturing as syndication of content is difficult for thousands of SKUs and products.
- Automation remains a struggle: Keeping track of product information updates is a global challenge as many product detail updates are still manual. In the US, 52% of business leaders identify this as a major pain point, particularly around what information is updated and where. In the UK and Germany, the larger challenge hinges on ensuring product details meet all the standards, formats and compliance standards of a new market or channel.
“When it comes to an effective and profitable product launch or development of a new channel, the devil is in the details,” said Thor Johnson, CEO, inRiver, “Millions of dollars and thousands of team hours are invested into and around the launch of any product, but many businesses struggle in making this process faster, scalable, and a frictionless experience for their buyers. Our latest research spotlights shared headaches among business leaders and offers guidance on how companies can bring new efficiencies to their go-to-market strategies for commerce and merchandising success.”
The global research also reveals the following UK specific insights:
- Incorrect product information is the leading driver of lost revenue around launch:
- 26% of UK businesses admit inaccurate product information is one of the greatest obstacles when stocking or attempting to secure a distributor for a product
- A quarter admit having had products pulled from shelves or experienced a delayed product launch because of inaccurate or inconsistent product information, and another 1 in 4 have experienced returns or customer dissatisfaction very often as a result
- Fighting off the competition: 70% of UK businesses noted that they face more competition now compared to five years ago. Most impacted industries are; construction (80%) and industrial manufacturing (71%), with the challenge of syndication of content for thousands of SKUs and products.
- Implementing automation for new market expansions
- More than half (53%) said that the most challenging aspect of launching products is ensuring product content meets the standards and formats for all markets or channels involved
- A third (31%) of UK respondents said the translation of their product information is still done manually by a person rather than automated, with two of the biggest pain points being the time taken to update product data in each market / channel (45%) and keeping track of which information has been updated and where (40%)
This survey was conducted by Savanta in September 2019. Insights were collected from 1,333 senior decision makers across various industries (manufacturing, food and beverage, medical device manufacturing, construction, home improvement, furniture manufacturing, fashion and luxury goods) from the US, UK and DACH region, including Germany, Nordics, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most participants were senior decision makers, including vice presidents, C-level executives, and owners or partners of the business.