Catching up with the customer

Brand-new insight into what the drive toward better shopping experiences means for digital leadership

Technology and digital platforms have changed what commercial customers expect of the businesses they buy from. We can see the data-led, personalised experiences of B2C retailing adopted by B2B brands – asking difficult questions about the operational and strategic changes required to deliver smoother, customised services.

That’s why, in Q3 of 2022, we carried out research with WBR Insights to survey 100 leaders in e-commerce and digital marketing, across eight B2B sectors. We wanted to understand how their priorities were changing, to accommodate new, digital methods of attracting and converting customers.

Here’s a little taster of what we learned. To download the full report, click here.

The appetite for e-commerce is growing

Every B2B business has its own barriers to delivering the bespoke, frictionless shopping journeys which modern customers crave. The research showed a real variation of challenges, but personalisation was repeatedly cited as a problem.

58% of respondents said personalised search was a challenge, while 57% mentioned personalising content and 54% mentioning personalised experiences more broadly.

Digital purchasing has great potential for personalisation, as businesses use customer data to learn their preferences. Then they can deliver experiences and content which help raise awareness of the products which are most likely to convert. Upselling and cross-selling can in turn help to increase revenue per customer and provide complimentary services to further enhance the experience.

“Customers want to feel like you are going the extra mile for them. It comes down to personalised content, trying to push the boat out to provide the best experience.”

Mina Bastawros, VP Creative and Digital Marketing, Airbus

It makes sense then, that many leaders are turning to e-commerce platforms to quickly create and scale smoother shopping experiences for their customers. Of those we asked, only 5% had no plans to invest in a new platform, while 66% had either invested already or planned to over the next 12 months.

Businesses are seeing the value that personalised commerce can deliver – for them, as well as their customers, leading to a shift in priorities for both investment and strategy. We’ll next look at how these changes are impacting other areas, including data and talent acquisition.

Great shopping experiences start with understanding customers

At 68%, a significant majority of respondents planned to spend over 20% of their budget on investments in data analytics. The sheer volume of customer data now available to sales and marketing teams grows exponentially, so unpicking it has become more complex even as it’s become more crucial.

Investing in data means leaders can create marketing strategies which can continually evolve, to create the optimum omnichannel experience for every customer. And with 75% of respondents citing buyers’ customer experience as ‘Important’ or ‘Very Important,’ it’s clear analytics must be a key piece of the puzzle moving forward.

The benefits don’t end at experiences either. Data analytics give digital marketing a renewed ability to prove its value by measuring the impact of activity on conversion and pipeline. Which will help to build momentum for further investment and accelerate adoption of data-led, omnichannel experiences.

“Today, marketing can be a revenue-generating department and be back in the driving seat of the company.”

Carlo Segato, Senior Solution Consultant, Adobe

There’s plenty of space for new perspectives and talent

Most respondents recognised that while businesses understood the value of investing in e-commerce platforms and digital experiences, there was a skills gap to be plugged. Businesses have had to completely rethink what – and who – they are looking for in an increasingly crowded talent pool. Innovative recruitment and improved employee training were cited as useful options, but the need to invest in new staff with the right skills was shown to be crucial too.

49% of leaders said they have increased their search for top talent over the previous 12 months, indicating that improvements in online experiences will precipitate an acceleration of digital recruitment too.

“The data analytics gap is crucial to see. B2B is lagging behind on this front so this is why we are investing now. We need people who have these skills.”

Dirk Rockendorf, Head of Marketing Aftermarket and Digitalisation, Continental

It’s clear there’s no use investing in better online shopping experiences and technologies which can make sense of customer data, without people who can turn that insight into strategy. E-commerce platforms and digital skills go hand in hand, with new technologies allowing sales and marketing teams to create better content and engage every customer in the right moment to convert.

Read the report

Don’t miss the latest insights

If you want to see the full findings and get some insight direct from B2B digital leaders, you can download the final report here.

Our expert team is on hand if you have any questions about the findings, or how Adobe Commerce can help you to build better online shopping experiences. Get in touch on +44 0800 9175871 or visit to get started.