Lately, much has been written about the trends of B2B E-Commerce. In June 2015 Forrester shared some data expecting that by 2019 the B2B E-Commerce market will be worth $1.1 trillion. That by itself is a pretty significant number and is expected to be more than double of the B2C market at $480 billion.
LYONSCG a premier E-Commerce consulting firm posted in February the article B2B eCommerce in 2017: The Time is Now. 74% of B2B buyers say that buying from a website is more convenient than buying from a sales representative. As we have become very comfortable with online shopping for personal use, companies are now starting to apply the same concept to the B2B buying process. After all, 93% of buyers prefer to buy online when they have already decided what to buy.
Convergence of Enterprise CPQ and E-Commerce 3D Visualization for B2B and B2C Products
Gartner says, “by 2018, 40% of B2B digital commerce sites will use price algorithms and configure/price/quote tools to dynamically calculate and deliver product pricing.” Here at KBMax we offer customers not only a robust enterprise Configure-Price-Quote solution, but also the 3D visualization to guide the configuration process where dynamic updates to sizes, colors, components and features give a real time product tour in 3D. Customers who initially implemented KBMax for internal use integrating CPQ with CRM or ERP systems, are now starting to embed our technology into their websites where external B2B customers can configure and purchase highly complex products.The result is an increased customer experience due to the interaction with the configured products along with the customized pricing, while eliminating configuration errors.
When we look at the key drivers behind the growth of B2B E-Commerce I think Steve Susina at LYONSCG summarizes them accurately. We have very exciting times ahead of us.
The Changing Business Cycle:
Business buyers are 57% through their purchase decision before they are willing to speak with a supplier sales person. Other research organizations, including Forrester and Sirius Decisions, have published directionally similar research - with some experts suggesting that buyers could be as much as 90% through their decision process before contacting suppliers. Clearly, buyers are shifting online for research (and purchase).
A Changing Business Landscape:
There is a long-term movement underway from purchasing departments and purchase orders to company-issued credit cards. The purchasing authority is being pushed lower into the organization, and decisions are increasingly left to down-the-line staffers who have been issued stored value or corporate cards with the freedom to go online and purchase products and supplies.
Increased eCommerce Comfort:
Widespread consumer adoption of online purchasing provides a level of comfort with process and demand for similar ease and simplicity in the corporate order process. If people are comfortable with an eCommerce model for their personal purchases, they are certainly going to be comfortable using eCommerce in the business world - and indeed frustrated if they cannot go online for their purchases.
Need for Cost Savings:
Companies are looking to capture the cost savings from a reduction in printed catalogs, collateral and price sheets. This is related to the shifting buying cycle - as buyers delay their engagement with vendors, vendors have to put their product and service information out where the searching takes place. That means shifting from a personally delivered sales brochure or catalog to an online store with limited friction should a purchase decision be made while looking at that online store.
Marketing Personalization: B2B firms have led the implementation of personalized marketing via automation tools such as Marketo or Eloqua. eCommerce platforms and tools are also incorporating a host of personalization capabilities and will find a ready market in the B2B space. Personalization is in line with typical B2B approaches on negotiated or differentiated pricing, more refined or advanced approaches on segmentation, and personalized content.
Increased Utilization of Mobile:
The business workplace now reflects that workers are increasingly mobile - and that has led to the proliferation of firms that have adopted bring-your-own-device policies. That means there is growth in custom app development throughout the enterprise, including purchase capabilities via mobile apps.