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July 2020 B2B eCommerce News Roundup: Manufacturing & Supply Chain Updates as COVID Uncertainty Continues

August 4, 2020 | Oro Team

The uncertainty and turbulence caused by the pandemic is not letting up. Airports are having difficulty coordinating testing at airports, and the debate around school reopening rages on. If a few months ago, hopes for a quick economic recovery were high, the resurgence of daily new infections across the southern states has quickly tamped them down.s

In our May roundup, we observed the Q1 GDP drop to be comparable to the economic contraction the US faced at the peak of the 2008 financial crisis. Now, that number has ballooned to a whopping 32.9%, making the previous quarter’s figures seem like a mere blip in comparison. This is alarming news since it comes at a time when case and death rates spark controversy around reopening.  

This July 2020, roundup brings us a variety of marketing, customer experience, supply chain, manufacturing, and distribution news. We’ll also share some inspiring stories about how some B2B sellers are capitalizing on this new environment, and what lessons you can take away from their success.

July 2020: B2B eCommerce, Economic Realities, and Back to School

Remote work is here to stay, and businesses must plan for it

Google sent shockwaves through the internet in June by announcing that they will allow employees to work from home until the summer of 2021. Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision, too, aiming to get half of Facebook’s 50,000 employees working from home by 2030. In their article, HBR lays out a strategy that every business must lay out to establish a long-term, shock-proof remote work vision.

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Product and distribution channel changes key to reclaiming revenue

As CFOs continue to be concerned about a global economic downturn, they are looking for ways to rebuild revenue streams. PWC’s CFO Pulse survey revealed that offering new, enhanced, or repurposed products offerings and changing distribution channels from in-person to digital are proving to be popular ways to rebuild revenue. Among investment cuts, digital transformation and customer experience are least likely to be affected.

Global CFO survey

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Concerns about ongoing school reopening don’t affect spending

Deloitte’s annual back-to-school survey presents a glimpse into the general public’s preparedness to adjust to the new normal. Customers are expected to spend the same amount as last year (albeit online), which is excellent news for manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers. Key statistics highlight general attitudes and spending patterns, predicting possible outcomes during Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the holiday shopping periods.

Concerns about school reopening

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Q2 sees historic GDP slowdown but stable unemployment numbers

The effects of March and April closings became fully apparent, as evidenced by a steep decline in Q2 GDP. While unemployment levels remain at 20 million, a small drop in the number of unemployment claimants has been observed. This, combined with stable activity in manufacturing, shows that some companies are still rehiring while others are laying off.

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Rethinking your brand’s value proposition and delivery method

In the 1960s, 30% of milk was delivered directly to homes, and drive-in theaters were popular. With reopening plans in question and social distancing measures slowly being accepted, consumer habits continue to change. Businesses with high-touch business models are rethinking their value proposition and considering how technology can support their new offerings.

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Corporate culture and psychological safety during COVID-19

Is there a correlation between culture and response to COVID-19? Research by Denison Consulting demonstrates that organizations without a clear culture of communication and learning were not as resilient or responded poorly during the height of the pandemic. EHSToday explores how organizations can build adaptability and maintain an advantage during the crisis.

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Teleworking not possible for all industries or jobs

Businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing sectors are less able to offer telework to their employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agricultural industry is least likely to offer telework, with only 8 percent of employees able to telework. The good news is that today’s technology and the right digital transformation strategy make remote work far more feasible than many manufacturers have realized.

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Marketing and Customer Experience in B2B eCommerce

How to keep closing B2B deals as the pandemic continues

While over half of B2B buyers hold off on purchases due to the pandemic, these budget cuts aren’t impacting technology, eCommerce, and marketing automation in the same way. HBR explains how to continue selling to the more anxious, demanding, and financially conservative customer.

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Key to success: tune and retune your offerings and message

Sales and marketing leaders realize that customer expectations have shifted. Successful brands must sense how the market evolves and respond quickly with the most effective course of action. According to last month’s survey, 67% of respondents believe the easiest and most effective way to do that is to refocus their messaging.

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Supply Chain News in B2B eCommerce

Outsourcing vs. offshoring: what’s the difference?

Striking a perfect balance between resilience, flexibility, and affordability is difficult in a supply chain crisis. The pandemic has demonstrated weaknesses in outsourcing and offshoring manufacturing strategies due to increased labor and shipping costs, political instability, tariffs, and epidemics.

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Manufacturing News in B2B eCommerce

Manufacturing stabilizes for the first time

The beginning of July showed a rebound in manufacturing activity as compared to the same time last month. While the numbers are still much lower than February levels, this is nevertheless good news for supply chains, distributors, suppliers, and other B2B brands.

manufacturing trends b2b

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Soaring hand sanitizer demand is here to stay

The OTC (over-the-counter) pharmaceuticals hand sanitizer market is expected to grow 126% between 2019 and 2025, making it the fastest-growing segment in the market. UK co-packers report that demand for hand sanitizer and sanitization kits fell slightly in May but remains high, a trend likely to continue.

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B2B eCommerce Success Stories

GAP moves into B2B eCommerce with mask portal

In a mere five weeks, Gap, Inc stood-up a B2B portal to sell reusable, non-medical grade cloth face masks to businesses. Gap expects that as employees return to the workforce, organizations will need to place bulk, recurring orders for masks and other face coverings.

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Why Costco continues its rise to the top

While Costo has been sluggish in its push for eCommerce, the pandemic accelerated their efforts. With optimized supply chains, limited SKUs, a valuable homegrown brand, and a partnership with Instacart, Costo is beating their sales records this year.

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Braskem shares multiple global COVID-19 initiatives

Braskem, a global B2B petrochemical manufacturer, utilizes the OroCommerce digital commerce platform to manage the website experience, sales, shipping, and more. The platform allowed Braskem to share a number of global COVID initiatives for supplying PPE, hand sanitizer, and 3d printed face shields for healthcare professionals.

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Hope You Enjoyed This July 2020 Roundup!

We at Oro hope you found our July 2020 roundup informative and entertaining. If you have a great source and think we missed a newsworthy article or resource, let us know on Facebook and Twitter or in the comments below. Don’t forget to check OroCommerce blog for the latest on B2B commerce.

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