A few weeks ago, Forbes published a piece exploring the future and growth opportunities for businesses with B2B commerce. Everyone knows how the B2C market has been revolutionized through online commerce however it is still relatively early days on the B2B front. We’d have to agree with author Louis Columbus that born-in-the-cloud e-commerce systems are innovating at a pace that outdistances and outshines legacy on-premise systems. With the focus shifting to user experience, support for multi-tier distribution selling and advanced pricing and order workflow, the revolution for B2B e-commerce market is just beginning. Forbes supports this view citing that 56% of B2B buyers expected to buy more than half of their work purchases online within the next 3 years.
“The most successful (manufacturers) so far are relying on the born-in-the-cloud B2B e-Commerce platforms that scale to support entirely new e-commerce strategies” said Louis Columbus.
We are on the cusp of something big with a new era of automation and opportunities for customer engagement and, ultimately, a more profitable business model. Both manufacturers and wholesalers need to go beyond simply competing on price and deliver excellent customer user experiences. It’s the cloud-based services that are most adaptive and quick to support new business models, multi-tenancy, advanced pricing and varied workflows.
The team at Forbes cite six reasons that will define the future of B2B e-Commerce:
- B2B buyers expect a high-quality user experience across all channels and are loyal as a result. Amazon have set the bar high for the B2C market. Customers are starting to expect a similar user experience within the B2B market.
- Born-in-the-cloud is the way to go for lower TCO.
- Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) capabilities are becoming increasingly preferred as a way to provide an individual experience.
- Integration is key to avoid errors and impacts customer experience. Born-in-the-cloud B2B e-commerce platforms have order management designed in from the very beginning, making it possible to synchronize order processing across all channels.
- Workflow, negotiated price lists, complex product configurations are key capabilities.
- Providing unique e-Commerce buying experiences for distributors, partners, dealers, services providers and OEM’s is driving the future of B2B e-Commerce.