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B2B commerce and the changes during the Covid-19 pandemic Corona insights from the B2B Expert Group

The B2B digital group, with more than 25 experts in the field of digital at large Dutch B2B companies, meets several times a year to discuss relevant B2B topics.

Just like everybody else, the members were affected by Corona and adjusted to new ways of working. How did this digitized working affect their companies? What do they see happening on the digital channels? And to which messages do they draw attention to without being opportunistic? These and other questions were addressed on the first virtual session of “Let's talk B2B!”

Positive actions

People and their organizations are still adjusting to what is coming. Many heartwarming actions have been taken. An example: Willem Verschuur from Louwman Groep: "We have made cars available to healthcare staff, for commuting".

Read all learnings from the Expert Group in one whitepaper!

Ramon Kok, Managing Director Manutan explains: “We have been looking for the right approach. Great promotions to push a product no longer work. But combining products with content that meets the challenges and questions of the customer is currently working very well. It is also noticeable that the previously less common digital channels perform much better than before. A good example of this for Manutan is our amazing blog that is now read by many more customers.”

Working from home

Remote work is nothing new for some parties. At Evident, the staff has always worked remotely with offices in Lisbon and Utrecht. What is different now is that everyone works from home. It is important to stay socially connected to each other. An example to realize that is to keep video on with every call. Additionally, a 24/7 video stream is open for everyone to tap into to have a cup of coffee or tea together. Furthermore, there are several initiatives to keep fit. A colleague from Lisbon provides an online workout 3x a week and some have grouped up in a running app to challenge each other to run at least 10 kilometers a week.

Richard Rijsterborg of Fabory notices that it is now difficult to complete cases in a project-driven company, for they often depend on a lot of people and factors. “We ensure that people receive assignments that they can deliver within a week. It is important that people can continue to make progress.”

Unexpected insights and results

Manutan has refocused their marketing and advertising initiatives. In looking even more than usual at what products are currently needed – and spending the complete budget on those categories, they could achieve results beyond expectations. A focus on a much smaller group of products resulted in an improved ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) for them.

Jeroen Poelman, Manager Digital & Content at Manutan: “That was a huge eye-opener. By listening more closely to the customer and focusing very sharply, the result was much higher than expected. We want to continue this even when the pandemic is over.”

Maarten Stramrood also sees a significant increase in digital sales at Brenntag. “We see more visits to our Brenntagconnect.com site, which comes mainly from online search. These are often unknown customers who are now introduced to our company. ”

Sybrand Brouwer of INDI agrees. “We currently see many unknown visitors. These are new customers who are really shifting to the digital channel. That is certainly a consequence of the measures surrounding Corona.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has a lot of impact on everyone and everything. Digital business plays a huge role in how companies will get through the crisis. The key question is: Is this shift to online only temporary?

Many B2B companies are working on maintaining this trend right now. We invite you to discuss your ideas in our LinkedIn group.

Join our LinkedIn group to participate!