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Why reinvest in B2B commerce?

15-08-2016 Okko Huisman

Increasingly more companies choose a B2B e-commerce platform as a sales channel. Forrester predicts that big American companies (minimum turnover of 50 million dollars) will in 2019 invest over 2 trillion dollars in a new e-commerce platform, against 1.2 trillion in 2014. This is almost double. Where does this strong growth come from? Read in this article the most important reasons to get started with B2B commerce.


An example of replatforming: Dell

Last October hardware giant Dell switched to a new e-commerce platform. Dell annually achieves sales of 15 trillion dollars; the majority (11 trillion dollars) being sold to B2B environments. With the new platform, customers can now easily place orders themselves, make customized products, and check if products are in stock.

Entering new markets

Reinvestments in a new commerce platform - such as the Dell example above - are increasingly seen within corporate markets. Companies want to enter new markets, sell products through marketplaces, open online shops abroad, and inspire end users. But if this is technically not possible with the current e-commerce platform, they are forced to replace it.


b2b commerce

Responding to changing customer needs

Customer experience is increasingly receiving attention in business-to-business (B2B) organizations. The main reason, according to the research firms Forrester and Accenture Interactive, is the impact of consumer platforms like Amazon and Alibaba on the expectation levels of business customers. In the Netherlands this trend is similar to shopping experiences, for example with Cool Blue and Wehkamp. This experience takes consumers through the corporate ordering process so their expectations grow. About 90% of B2B companies should therefore invest the coming years in a better customer experience.


Digital commerce has evolved according to research firm Gartner from simply an online transaction platform to a platform that revolves around customer experience. Marketing, efficiency, customer journeys, and omnichannel are terms that also receive more attention within B2B. The question is whether your IT landscape is able to respond to this.


Shift to omnichannel

The shift from linear to omnichannel - a seamless brand experience across all channels - is in B2B e-commerce in full swing. Forrester recently conducted research among B2B suppliers and questioned them about this shift. 86 percent of the respondents expressed an interest to invest in omnichannel to remain successful in the long term and 83 percent in order to retain and grow sales and profits. But the realization of an effective omnichannel experience for buyers, in practice seems to be difficult. It requires the integration of systems, organizational structures and processes; all at the same time. A powerful and flexible platform is a prerequisite for achieving this.


Cost savings through ease of ordering

Another important focus of replatforming is ordering convenience for customers. For it is much cheaper if customers can buy their products without intermediaries. 52% of B2B companies indicate to save costs by letting customers order online independently, according to research of Internet Retailer.


Working towards a more efficient ordering process

At the time customers log into an online environment, you can offer them a lot of benefits with a modern e-commerce platform, such as access to product information (stocks, characteristics, numbers), price agreements, specific assortments for each customer, and wish lists. This allows the ordering process for the customer to be more efficient and easier, which leads to loyal customers and more online sales. Existing customers who order online are more loyal and spend on average 67% more per order than new customers.


Many opportunities

In short, (re) investing in a new commerce platform that can also serve the end user, provides a lot of opportunities. Want to know more about B2B e-Commerce? Let me know via a comment or contact me via ohuisman@cloudsuite.com.


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