Ecommerce businesses have had to overcome a number of challenges in recent years. Problems with global supply chains, supply difficulties and even major technology outages have shaken the foundations of countless brands.
For companies in the burgeoning B2B e-commerce landscape, the rapid transformation of the world in recent years is starting to open new doors for sensational growth. However, to capitalize on these opportunities, companies must first know how to manage the unpredictable and overwhelming impact of demand volatility.
If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that countless companies are drastically unprepared for sudden changes in demand. By making sure you know how to keep your business running smoothly in unpredictable circumstances, you can stay one step ahead of the competition.
Steps to Survive Demand Volatility
The opportunities for B2B brands in the ecommerce space are definitely increasing. As of 2021, online sales for B2B marketplaces and sites rose 17.8% to reach $1.63 trillion, and data suggests demand will only continue to grow. While business buyers are looking for easier ways to access the tools and resources they need, B2B ecommerce businesses are poised for rapid growth.
However, business growth does not always run smoothly. Demand volatility is increasing due to economic changes, unpredictable geographic boundaries and changing technology. The best way to prepare is with the right strategy.
Step 1: Invest in scenario planning
No matter how well prepared and informed your company is, it is difficult to predict every possible situation you may encounter. We discovered this in 2020, when the pandemic turned the whole world upside down.
However, scenario planning can still help you prepare for a range of outcomes by helping you visualize what to do when certain changes occur to your business. Scenario planning involves modeling a potential response to a wide variety of potential changes that could affect your business. You might look into what to do if you suddenly don’t have access to your usual supplier, or if you need access to additional financing to purchase materials when customer demand rises.
Scenario planning allows you to use a selection of possible ‘plan B’ options if something unexpected happens in your organization. If you struggle with scenario planning from the get-go, consider using tools like Monday.com to help you out.
Step 2: Find the right partners
Being prepared for anything in today’s unpredictable world often means working with the right partners. This starts with making sure your supply chain and fulfillment network is made up of reliable people you can trust to help you through declines and increasing demand.
It can also mean that you have ‘back-up’ suppliers you can turn to in the unlikely event that something goes wrong with your supply chain. This ensures that you are never without an option to fulfill orders as demand increases. However, arguably the most important partner most B2B ecommerce businesses need is the right financing partner.
A partner capable of consistently providing capital for economies of scale, rapid growth and demand volatility ensures you are ready to access the financing you need when demand increases. The key to success here is finding a company that can move with you through both increasing demand and declines. For example, platforms like 8fig offer flexible financing options that can adapt to changes in inventory constraints, production delays, or a sudden influx of orders. You can build lines of financing based on your current situation, plan your supply chain needs, and create a custom plan for remittances in the same environment.
In fact, there is no judgment or stress when you suddenly need to change something in your environment. According to the team, about 90% of the company’s salespeople submit change requests.
Step 3: Use forecasting and planning tools
As mentioned above, it’s difficult to fully prepare for every change in demand that may come your way, but there are tools that can help you make more accurate forecasts and plans. For example, solutions like CCH Tagetik give companies access to AI-infused supply chain planning tools so they can automatically collect valuable information and use it when planning for the future.
AI-enhanced technology can be a great way to strengthen your forecasting and planning strategy, as it allows you to collect larger amounts of data and spot trends automatically. AI solutions can even suggest potential supply chain and fulfillment strategy strategies that you may not have considered yourself.
In some cases, you can also leverage automation with your forecasting and scheduling tools. With automation features, you can set up alerts and notifications to inform you when something changes in your supply chain or your demand levels that could affect your business processes. The sooner you are aware of changes in your ecosystem, the easier it is to make valuable changes quickly.
Prepare for demand volatility
Learning how to protect your ecommerce business from demand volatility in today’s unpredictable B2B environment can be complex, but it’s well worth it. While it’s impossible to predict every potential problem that could lead your business astray, the tips above should ensure you have the safety nets and guidance to keep your business running no matter what.
This post How to Bulletproof Your Ecommerce Business for Demand Volatility? was original published at “https://smallbiztrends.com/2022/05/steps-for-surviving-demand-volatility.html”