It’s 2021, and in any other year, that would mean business as usual. But not today. Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the supply chain across the world was upended, mass numbers of the workforce were sent home, and companies were made to pivot in every way.
This remains the case today, even as the vaccine begins distribution across the world. And as global commerce continues to navigate the pandemic, private sector purchasing behaviors have changed.
How exactly will private sector purchasing operate in 2021?
In this guide, we’ll look at the top trends for procurements this year. From budget concerns to supply chain changes, customer service, and building customer loyalty, there’s a lot to be aware of as it pertains to commerce in 2021.
The New Normal
After a year of expecting the unexpected, the private sector is bracing 2021 to be all about transition. But that’s not a word to fear. Some forecasters say that the past year’s upheaval might bring about well-needed change, a Fourth Industrial Revolution as McKinsey calls it.
Thanks in large part to the necessity to embrace new digital technologies, McKinsey reports that “Many executives ... moved 20 to 25 times faster than they thought possible on things like building supply-chain redundancies, improving data security, and increasing the use of advanced technologies in operations.”
Naturally, this led to new ways to procure goods and services. And that’s where we’ll see significant changes in 2021 in the private sector.
A massive shift to online retail will only grow in 2021, whether it’s an individual shopping for a new pair of pants online or a car manufacturer looking to place a million orders for small parts.
Supply Chain Shifts
Regarding the ever-evolving supply chain landscape, Forbes suggests there’s reason to remain optimistic that virtual and digital improvements will make this year better than the last.
One clue is the move to new technologies such as custom AI/ML applications, especially in the logistics vertical, may improve customer experience, especially as it pertains to private sector purchasing. The same may go for new technologies like autonomous trucking, although we can’t expect to see that rolled out so soon.
Instead, robotic automation, which continues to be implemented worldwide, may drive down prices, helping private sectors invest more in products.
Customer Loyalty Remains a Concern
If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that valuing the customer as more than a pocketbook is more important than ever. That’s true for private sector purchasing as well. To keep customers, brands must show that they have their clients’ back and can meet their supply demands.
For example, Specialist ID is known as a leader in the ID badge industry. However, during the pandemic, the company pivoted to provide its numerous healthcare, education, and retail customers tools to help them navigate operating during a global health crisis. That included procuring and selling masks, face shields, face mask lanyards, no-touch tools, and other PPE hard to find on the open market.
By adding value to their products and services during a difficult time, Specialist ID has shown that it’s more than just a vendor; it’s a partner in doing good business.
Finally, in 2021, we can expect budget concerns to impact private sector purchasing significantly. While the Washington Post found that 45 of 50 of the biggest companies in America flourished during the pandemic. However, that also resulted in massive layoffs at other companies. And this upheaval has caused many companies to cinch their purse strings to stay afloat.
This year might see more conservative purchasing decisions within the private sector in reaction to pandemic cuts. Rather than place enormous orders, buyers might be more cautious, testing small batches instead.
Another factor could be less brand loyalty, where the best deal wins out instead of a commitment to a long-term vendor relationship.
Bottom line, B2B business will need to stay agile and ready to adjust even as hope for herd immunity continues. And that’s why private sector buyers should focus their purchasing efforts on companies that partner with them in their efforts to get back to business as usual, companies like Specialist ID.
Rather than ignore the changes overwhelming businesses across the country, companies like Specialist ID have faced them head-on, pivoting to provide products that make doing business easier and safer. Companies that can provide reasonable products and services, navigate supply chain issues, deliver on time while adding value to every transaction will be the real winners in 2021.
And for companies lagging behind, the need to evolve has passed. According to the private sector purchasing trends, it’s a pivot or perish moment in today’s pandemic-based economy.