Now’s the time when you might expect to see a lot of coverage about Q4 and the holiday push for brands and consumers alike. Cyber Monday and Black Friday are still to come, and the last-minute rush to budget out the rest of winter is clearly competing for all of our collective focus as we proceed to the end of 2019.

However, with all that being said, there are some trends online B2B sellers and marketers are already taking into account as they look forward to 2020. 

The most key takeaway if you don’t have all that much time to spare is that there is likely to be a seismic shift toward more widespread use of a new (essentially more consumer-driven) format for online marketplaces and more flexible digital commerce and marketing operations, according to a Forrester Research study.

If not all of that makes sense, don’t worry. I’ll explain further.

“Buyers have never had more choice thanks to marketplaces, mobile apps, and kiosks,” Forrester says in the report, “Predictions: B2B Commerce and Marketplaces,” by digital commerce analysts Joe Cicman and Allen Bonde, along with other Forrester analysts. “Yet, old and new sources of friction remain. Many corners of B2B commerce remain untouched by digital, and few firms have reached a digitally advanced state.”

Essentially, what the brilliant minds at Forrester are saying here is that Santa’s Workshop is still making toys, and people are buying them. However, the wifi in the North Pole is not great. There’s tremendous opportunity for antiquated brands to get with the times, but there’s also the possibility they’ll get left behind.

Santa might be able to make a toy car that’s fun to play with. However, if there exists a marketplace where that same toy car can be shipped quickly and cheaply, almost done exclusively digitally, that might beat out a long shipping wait and old-school ordering procedure. The marketplace is becoming more and more consumer-driven.

Buyers are beginning to take solace in the fact that marketplaces online are almost entirely catered towards consumers. Forrester writes, “Modern buyers will make price transparency/low cost a must-have versus a nice-to-have.”

Forrester also adds that manufacturers will “double-down on signing up new non-transactional partners” and work with more affinity- and affiliate-marketing firms who can be influential in directing traffic among likely purchasers to the ecommerce sites operated by a manufacturer or its distributors and resellers.

The report continued explaining that “Headless commerce will become the default” as providers of ecommerce platforms use APIs, or application programming interfaces, to connect their ecommerce transaction engines to customized software suites that address the particular ways online sellers want to interact with their customers.

This is great news for anyone who has an extensive knowledge of the affiliate space! We can’t wait to see what’s to come in 2020. Oh yeah, I guess there’s also a little presidential race too.