Bridging B2B's Digital Divide

 

Earlier this year, McKinsey & Company released the results of an in-depth study about the digital strategies of B2B companies. While much has been made about the “consumerization” of B2B, the fact remains that B2B continues to be a more complex, specialized space than B2C — requiring a unique commitment to the digital tools that can move the needle and influence purchases.

The McKinsey study measured four dimensions of so-called digital strength: strategy, organization, capabilities and culture. In all but one (culture), B2B companies significantly trailed their B2C counterparts in adoption and implementation of digital tools and initiatives.

Here are just a few findings that bring the B2B-B2C digital divide into sharper focus:

  • Only 10 percent of B2B companies see digital as one of their top three investment priorities, about half the average for B2C companies.
  • Only 6 percent of B2B companies have a mobile strategy, compared with 30 percent of B2C companies.
  • For a third of B2B companies, it takes more than a year to bring a new digital idea to implementation.

As the study points out, B2B faces many of the same challenges as B2C, including “shrinking shelf lives for products, more acute customer demands for price transparency and better experiences.” While the digital gap between B2B and B2C may be more pronounced in many areas, studies like this demonstrate that digitization is universally critical to long-term growth and success.

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