Applying Contextualized Concepts to Indirect Spend

We must build greater empathy into the indirect procurement solutions that we deploy to frontline users. Part of this effort requires thinking of guided buying as a key enabler. This includes the concepts of “multi-channel,” contextualized and intuitive shopping and buying models. If we get contextual approaches right, we can steer users to the right decisions. But we must think like creative merchants and distributors, not like procurement (i.e., how do we guide users in a seamless manner to the optimal outcome for us).

Suppliers are often smarter than we are in procurement in a buying situation by knowing how to get customers to spend more or spend the equivalent in higher margin areas by directing or redirecting behaviors. Yet multi-channel and contextual approaches and intuitive interfaces and models are just the ante. As we mentioned before in this series , we must think about as much enabling “the back end of Amazon” for users as it is the front end shopping experience – and this is not easy.

The front end, while critical, is actually a much easier place to start. Here, think consumerization: simple, any device, lean design, etc. Yet the consumerizing of B2B buying is not just about the interface but the overall experience. We must, for example, hide complexity and show what is necessary (e.g., in a configuration scenario, providing step-by-step insights and guidance rather than overwhelming the user up front). We must also consider support and guidance for all form factors – i.e., devices, computers, etc. And finally, we must also think in terms of an overall buying experience from “cradle-to-grave” for a given object or service.

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