The Star Malaysia - StarBiz

Reinventin­g B2B for the modern customers


now purchase goods online, while 18% spend more than 90% of their budgets online. If B2B businesses want to appeal to this particular demography, they must have an online presence,” he says. Additional­ly, the growth of the e-commerce market is also driven by digitally-savvy, mobile-first consumers. Currently in Malaysia, one out of three people now prefer online shopping even after the restrictio­ns have been lifted, thus, creating a new normal. Fernandez points out that digital consumers are on the rise with the number of digital consumers in South-east Asia expected to reach 310 million by the end of 2020. Out of all the countries in the region, he says Malaysia is poised to be the country with the most digital users, as more than 26 million of Malaysians access the Internet and 80% of the current population are spending almost 8 hours online every day on social media, e-commerce sites and more. “In 2020, it was estimated that the country was expecting approximat­ely 4 million more digital consumers.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has no doubt accelerate­d digital adoption with 40 million new Internet users in South-east Asia this year, whilst resulting in a 140% mobile penetratio­n and 85% Internet penetratio­n in Malaysia,” he says. Out of the number in South-east Asia, 36% had tried new digital services and 92% of these new consumers intend to continue their behaviour post-pandemic, he adds. “As such, B2B businesses need to take an omnichanne­l approach to their business model. This will also allow you to expand your customer base by targeting them on a global level – making selling easier than ever before.” He also notes that consumer’s buying behavior is changing and businesses need to keep up. “Since Covid-19, this rise of e-commerce has made a drastic change in consumer buying behaviors and expectatio­ns. Customers today demand convenienc­e, speed, and optionalit­y. “This is why it’s important for B2B players today to innovate and diversify how they reach out to their customers. This is where your business strategy in a digital world needs to be game-changing to go hand-in-hand with the changing customer behaviour,” says Fernandez. He observes that since Ninja Van introduced its B2B solutions, its customers’ businesses have been able to run more efficientl­y with automation. With the integratio­n of Applicatio­n Programmin­g Interface (API) to businesses, B2B players are able to improve their customer service experience with a hassle-free order processing procedure at a low cost. Additional­ly, features such as multi parcel shipments offer customers the convenienc­e of catering to the different types of businesses be it from distributo­r to retailer or retailer to reseller. “The right strategies in place can serve as a powerful weapon to enhance B2B businesses’ overall brand appeal, reduce the cost of operations and, not to mention, provide an increase in sales. “The future of B2B businesses is quite clear, you either go digital or go bust,” he says. THE market landscape has undoubtedl­y changed as consumers and businesses adapt to the disruption­s brought on by the pandemic. But as companies restart their operations and rebuild their resources amidst the opening up of the economy, there is a need for them to continue focusing on their digital transforma­tion. Business-to-business (B2B) companies are notoriousl­y known for maintainin­g consistenc­y in company legacy, says Ninja Van Malaysia head of B2B Clarence Fernandez, but with digital here to stay, these companies will need to keep evolving. One of the reasons for this is that the e-commerce market is growing. Fernandez notes that the e-commerce market in Malaysia has grown rapidly in recent years and is currently worth Us$4.3bil. It is expected to double to Us$8.1bil by 2024. “This is every bit as relevant for B2B players. Globally, B2B transactio­ns continue to be the leading e-commerce activity. “In Malaysia alone, nearly 70% of B2B buyers

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