With eCommerce sales expected by PROS survey respondents to triple in the next five years, providing a coordinated experience across channels is a top priority for organizations
PROS® (PRO), a provider of AI-powered solutions that optimize selling in the digital economy, today announced the findings of its global survey into digital buying and selling trends. “The Future is Now: Technologies Shaping Commerce” examines how digitalization is changing the buying experience and sellers’ perceptions of technologies that are enabling it. The global study, conducted by Hanover Research on behalf of PROS, examines the expectations and digital initiatives of more than 700 companies. The respondents work for B2B businesses that sell to buyers across a variety of industries, including discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, wholesale distributors and services.
“The digital economy has created a changing marketplace that’s put more power into buyers’ hands,” said PROS Chief Marketing Officer Celia Fleischaker. “Customers now have greater expectations of their vendors, including transparency and frictionless buying experiences.
“As part of the digital transformation initiatives that 58 percent of responding organizations have already started, eCommerce and artificial intelligence (AI) are driving significant changes in how organizations operate,” Fleischaker noted. “Although the majority see these technologies as advantageous, mastering personalized customer experiences and offering real-time dynamic pricing across channels will be key to unlock their revenue-generating potential.”
Rethinking Technology Initiatives
Businesses are in the process of transforming to meet the requirements of the new digital economy. With 41 percent of responding companies planning future digital transformation projects in addition to the majority of respondents that have projects in progress, transformation will be underway within the next few years for almost all responding businesses – leaving less than one percent of respondents without any planned initiatives.
Participating organizations recognized the importance of digital transformation, as at least seven-in-ten respondents think that each element of digital strategy is either very or extremely important. Two-thirds to three-quarters of these companies believe their organization is above average or excellent in their use of technology. However, the majority of respondents have not yet implemented all of the technologies they feel are necessary, indicating that those organizations may not be as far along in their transformation journey as they believe.
Charting a New Path Forward with eCommerce
eCommerce is an increasingly important channel for businesses, as it serves customer needs by providing a self-service buying experience, while also enabling organizations to more easily scale. According to the study, there is almost universal agreement among participants that eCommerce provides a competitive advantage, as 72 percent of respondents perceive it as advantageous. In fact, 62 percent of responding businesses believe more than half of their sales will come from eCommerce within the next five years, tripling the 20 percent achieved at present by respondents.
Although the opportunities created by eCommerce are significant, responding organizations have concerns that must be addressed as they adjust to the new normal. Maintaining competitive pricing and protecting price attainment are the top two concerns that responding companies expressed, which coincides with the most frequently cited pain points by respondents of maintaining consistent customer experiences and coordinating pricing across channels.
AI Enhancing Connections with Customers
Companies are also considering new digital options, including AI, as evidenced by nearly half – a full 48 percent -- of respondents indicating they need to invest more in the technology.
One of the most intriguing use cases for AI lies in marketing and sales, where its value is rapidly accelerating. Respondents consider the ability of AI to predict customer needs as the most important way that it will impact sales, followed by automating orders and optimizing pricing for buying scenarios. As a result of its impact, 73 percent of respondents believe AI will be a high priority for marketing and sales activities within two years, compared to 48 percent of respondents who view it as a high priority today.
The full “The Future is Now: Technologies Shaping Commerce” report is available for download here.
PROS Holdings, Inc. (PRO) provides AI-powered solutions that optimize selling in the digital economy. PROS solutions make it possible for companies to price, configure and sell their products and services in an omnichannel environment with speed, precision and consistency. Our customers, who are leaders in their markets, benefit from decades of data science expertise infused into our industry solutions.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements about the functionality and benefits of AI-powered solutions to organizations generally as well as the functionality and benefits of PROS software products. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon PROS historical experience with AI-powered solutions and its current expectations of the benefits of AI-powered solutions for organizations that implement and utilize such software. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described herein include the addressability of an organization’s AI-powered solution needs, the risks associated with PROS developing and enhancing products with the functionality necessary to deliver the stated results and the risks associated with the complex implementation and maintenance of AI-powered solutions such as PROS software products. Additional information relating to the uncertainty affecting the PROS business is contained in PROS filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent PROS expectations as of the date of this press release. Subsequent events may cause these expectations to change, and PROS disclaims any obligations to update or alter these forward-looking statements in the future whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.