There is no doubt that 2013 has been the year to pour gasoline on the red hot B2B eCommerce fire. A few weeks ago Forrester Research released yet another B2B eCommerce relevant study entitled “Online And Mobile Are Transforming B2B Commerce”. This one was commissioned by hybris and is available for free on their website.
“A profound shift in customer behavior from offline to online channels is fundamentally changing the way in which B2B companies interact with, sell products and services to, and build loyalty with their B2B customers.”
Not an earth shattering revelation, but probably a message worth conveying to the 51% of the 717 respondents who said they weren’t selling online yet.
There were several other tidbits that came out of the survey that are worth filing away in the “interesting facts” category:
- Online customers have higher average order values (AOV), are more likely to add items to orders, order in bulk, and make repeat purchases. (That’s probably something that we should go back to our clients and verify, but I’d like to believe it.)
- 9% of respondents will stop publishing their print catalogs within the next 5 years. The remainder said they would never stop publishing them. (I’ll believe it when I see it.)
- 52% of respondents said that their customers are using tablets and smartphones to research and buy products online. (100% of our clients have customers using smartphones/tablets. But within any one client of ours that number can vary from <1% of visits using smartphone/tablets to >42% that do. Most industrial B2B clients are buying from work and using desktops. The more consumer the product, the more smartphone/tablet usage we see.)
- Companies with significant B2B online experience all strongly agree that it’s much easier to reach customers with cross-sell and upsell offers online than offline.
- Loyalty is much easier to build online than it is offline.
- There is an increasing demand to go online coming from customers directly. (Stands to reason since there is a whole new generation entering the workforce that have higher eCommerce expectations.)
- B2B eCommerce is global and requires support for local languages, currencies and logistics.
- Scaling B2B eCommerce capabilities requires a robust partner ecosystem, qualified employees and C-level support. (I couldn’t agree more. In fact, we value the talent that our clients bring to our projects so much that we’re going to be instituting a recognition program for them shortly. Stay tuned.)
All in all, a nice piece of research that should make those companies already on their B2B journeys feel happy about the decisions they’ve made. For those that haven’t decided to get on the bandwagon yet…here’s another little nudge for you:
“Firms that Act Now Will Gain Appreciably, Companies That Don’t Will Fall Farther Behind”.
Thanks hybris and Forrester. Keep on educating ’em!