It’s that time of the year again. As B2B companies plans for the year ahead, we’re exploring the key digital export trends that will shape global trade in 2023.
This year, companies worldwide are anticipating various trade turmoils, ranging from global conflict to volatile energy prices and soaring inflation. Thankfully, the ability to digitally reach customers locally and globally without stretching operating budgets helped provide an important buffer.
But how can digital selling change your company for the better in 2023? What can B2B sellers expect from the competition? By how much will buyer expectations change in the coming year? Here’s a rundown of the key digital export trends to look out for in 2023.
7 digital export trends for 2023
The coming year will see some enduring trends continue, like the rise of personalization and video marketing in B2B e-commerce. But some new trends will take center stage, such as a fall in the time consumers spend online.
Being up to date on these trends, and understanding their underlying data, will be crucial to business success in 2023. Let’s dive in.
1. Digital migration
We’ve discussed how more companies have transitioned to digital selling since 2020. This trend is set to continue in 2023. According to data from the OECD, 70% of small companies surveyed said the impact of COVID-19 drove them to make greater investments in digital technologies.
With the enduring shocks of the pandemic, more businesses will go digital. The relative certainty of digital selling will be just what many companies need to keep operations ticking over in the coming year.
One implication of this trend is that B2B online sellers will likely see greater competition next year. If your competitors aren’t already online, the odds are that they will get online in 2023. Consequently, if your business is not yet digital, you should plan to transition by next year.
2. Digital marketing and administration
More small companies will find their way online in 2023. But many of the newcomers will look to make a gradual entry into the digital selling space. The OECD suggests that new digital market entrants will prioritize electronic marketing and administrative functions.
Digital marketing is already a big draw for companies, especially considering that 93% of all interactions on the internet happen through search engines. With digital marketing, new entrants can immediately start working to gain a share of those interactions.
There’s also likely to be a rise in companies using digital tools for administrative purposes. For example, popular products like Notion, Evernote, and Canva are options businesses can employ for organizing and clerical tasks.
3. Data-led marketing
Marketing is increasingly a precise exercise focused on targeting specific prospects. We’re now well beyond the days of B2B marketing strategies hinged on guesswork. With data-led marketing, businesses are introducing greater accuracy to their marketing. As a result, they can yield better results and gain more insights from previously opaque data sets.
Part of this capability arises from better tools that let companies access and exploit broader data types. There’s a greater variety of data that enables companies to plan, test, and launch successful marketing campaigns. Companies can also apply better data to assess and learn from marketing campaigns.
Personalization across various business touchpoints continues to be a key trend for digital exports. Customers don’t want to feel like just one of the thousands – they want to feel seen and heard.
How do you implement personalization in your business practices? Start by incorporating personal details in communications with the client. For example, are you sending cold emails? Simply addressing the customer by their name can help. You can also research the client’s unique needs and incorporate that into your proposition.
Other ways customers seek personalization include how they are offered services and products. For instance, a customer who bought from you expects you to know their previous purchases and leverage that information during a repeat purchase.
5. Time spent online
People typically spend between six and seven hours on the internet. According to statistics, the average person spends roughly 40% of their waking life accessing an internet-enabled device or service.
But those statistics have fallen recently. Average time spent online fell to 6.47 hours from 6.53 hours in Q4 2021. While this drop isn’t significant, it is an indicator of a likely peak in the overall time that people spend using the internet.
As a result, offering digital content to users may become trickier for businesses. There’s now a greater need to ensure they’re providing enduring value. Otherwise, they may find users leaving their content for other digital consumables.
6. Video marketing
Video is a compelling medium due to its ability to engage by showing. So, it’s unsurprising that video marketing continues to gain ground in digital export. Platforms like Alibaba.com incorporate video into their marketing channels to help foster greater engagement with buyers.
While short-form videos are currently the most popular, there is scope for growth in the consumption of long-form and live-streamed videos. Most important is ensuring that prospects see images that align with their buying intentions.
7. Real-time messaging
Finally, along with growing buyer preference for rapid service, real-time messaging is emerging as a key trend for B2B digital exports. Buyers don’t want to wait hours or days to receive responses from B2B sellers.
Consequently, sellers are implementing methods to ensure real-time or near-real-time buyer engagement. These include the use of chatbots incorporated into their e-commerce store. For sellers with a presence on B2B marketplaces, one option is to employ mobile applications they can access on the go.
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