Coca-Cola is using artificial intelligence (AI) to increase sales to business customers by automatically prompting them with tailored messaging.
The food giant shared on a call Tuesday (Oct. 24) discussing its third-quarter earnings results how its eB2B platform has been digitizing and implementing new technologies to drive sales.
“Year-to-date, we’ve connected 6.9 million customers to the eB2B platform,” CEO James Quincey told analysts. “We’re continuing to expand coverage and offer customers personalization at scale. Initial pilots suggest that customers who receive AI-written push notifications can be more likely to purchase recommended SKUs, resulting in incremental retail sales.”
Around the world, the company is looking to shift bottlers’ relationships with business customers to digital platforms. Quincey explained that major retailers are already digitally connected, and now the company is looking to bring its smaller B2B customers into the digital sphere.
“If you can digitize the relationship, then it tends to be deeper and more productive,” Quincey said on the call. “And then once that exists, layering on an AI component … can then provide them suggested purchase orders.”
Many B2B transactions remain stuck in the past. PYMNTS Intelligence’s report “The Strategic Role of the CFO: How AP and AR Digitization Are Transforming Customer Relationships,” a collaboration with Versapay, revealed that 25% of B2B payments are made by check.
However, traditional payment methods are increasingly falling out of favor. The same study found that 40% of chief financial officers said the use of checks has become less common because of digitizing accounting operations. Additionally, 78% said that cash on delivery is being used less frequently. Conversely, 68% said that regular ACH is being used more frequently, and 64% said the same of PayPal.
“People are looking for ways to optimize their businesses,” Mangopay Chief Revenue Officer Luke Trayfoot told PYMNTS in an interview for the April installment of the “B2B and Digital Payments Tracker,” “Merchants Need Modern Payment Systems to Meet Customer Demand,” created in collaboration with American Express. “They’re trying to reduce costs and increase growth at the same time — and technology helps enhance that.”
For Coca-Cola’s part, digitization is becoming table stakes, as integration of AI recommendations becomes the next goal. Market research firm Gartner predicted that 75% of B2B sales organizations will be using AI-based selling by 2025.
Meanwhile, AI-powered B2B payment solutions are receiving funding by the millions, and businesses are taking a tip from B2C trends to see where payments are headed.
“You don’t have to look much further than B2C today for the future of B2B tomorrow when it comes to things like efficiency and digitization,” Corcentric President and Chief Operating Officer Matt Clark told PYMNTS in an interview.
Coca-Cola, for its part, is just beginning to find ways to use AI to boost its B2B business, looking to explore more going forward.
“We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible,” Quincey said on the call. “But we’re investing in digital capabilities now to expand our potential down the road.”
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