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4 Reasons Why Life Science Companies Need a Digital Transformation Agenda in Latin America


It is not new that customer purchase behavior was dramatically impacted by the advance of digital technologies, as buyers ourselves we can notice how retail has reshaped itself to accommodate our demands for fast and personalized services. However still some B2B leaders think this trend has small impact on short term to their business and here is some data to highlight this perception should change.

1. “The Death Of A (B2B) Salesman”

This quote is by Andy Hoar, Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst. This study by Forrester predicts that by 2020, one million USA sales reps will lose their jobs due to digital technologies and empowered customers.

In 2017, 68% of US B2B buyer preferred online channel for a first touch point with a company’s product over a contact with a sales person.  

2. Amazon Effect

According to an eMarketer Report (B2B E-COMMERCE 2016 Working Toward a Seamless Customer Experience), B2B buyers expect to have same digital experience with their company purchases as they have with their own personal transactions on amazon.com.

Basically personal expectations are expanding to business experiences and this trend in particular is called Amazon Effect…“It’s just easier to order via Amazon. [Buyers] do it for their household, why not for their company?” said Brian Walker, chief strategy officer at enterprise e-commerce solution provider SAP Hybris.

Digital buying is increasing in general, in Brasil e-commerce is expected to grow 15% in 2019 based on report E-bit Webshoppers 39 by The Nielsen Company. This means more people are engaging with digital platforms aiming for more convenience and this should reflect on B2B environment.

3. Life Science Segment Customers Are Shifting To Online

A report from PWC (Selling into Life Science Research 2020, The eCommerce Shift) does an analysis of the customer journey of the Life Science Research Market from 2013 and expectations of behavior to 2020 which indicates that this customer is shifting from a mixed online + offline experience to a pure online journey, closing the existing gap that once companies had which obligated customers to access print media or contact a sales representative in order to have a more educated choice about the products they needed and to submit their purchase order. Still according to this report, in 2013 eCommerce was responsible for 38.4% sales share, and it is expected to sustain rapid growth until 2020 projected to reach 70-80% of share.

The key external drivers of this shift brought by PWC are:

  • Customer usage of digital channels increases globally
  • Customers also expect “B2C-like” shopping experience in B2B
  • New pure players such as AmazonSupply enter the LSR distribution market

4. Life Science Latin America Landscape

The main Life Science companies still have opportunity to grow in Latin America by driving more digital technologies. Only few of the big companies have investided in the region on marketing technology or e-commerce operations.

That scenario is somewhat disconnected from the strong digital behavior represented by Latin American countries, as mentioned before on this post, Brasil’s e-commerce expectation of growth is 15%, internet penetration reached 70% of the population, 85% percent of web users access information on the internet every single day and spend an average of 9h 24 min online per day (source PagBrasil / Brasil: Os números do relatório Digital in 2019).


Author: Rachel Frota