The latest Wave ™ report from Forrester (31 August 2017) says that mid-sized business to businesses (B2B) companies are expected to spend over $1billion on ecommerce platforms by 2021.
Locally hosted software and legacy ecommerce technology can quickly become outdated and less effective. Manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors launching an ecommerce channel or updating their platform to stay competitive have a lot to think about.
So, what are they looking for?
Mid-sized B2B businesses need enterprise-quality commerce technology at small-business prices. Forrester says that time-to-market (TTM) and total cost of ownership (TCO) are their top priorities. That’s why Cloud-based solutions are their preferred options.
Pace of change
Forrester says that mid-sized B2B companies are now looking for much more than online catalogues, shopping carts, and promotions. B2B buyers expect to move freely between online self-service and sales team support. They expect seamless buying journeys and innovative fulfillment options.
Increasingly, manufacturers and high-tech companies are moving into the direct to consumer (D2C) market by selling directly to customers as well as wholesalers and resellers. Their ecommerce platform is becoming a tool to manage multiple sales channels.
Mid-sized B2B companies need to respond quickly in a rapidly developing marketplace. They want to be agile and launch new sites and innovative ideas quickly. A new site in the Cloud can be live in weeks rather than months. With modern service-orientated architectures and powerful application programing interfaces (API) development and integration can be simplified and streamlined.
For mid-sized companies that want to differentiate themselves from global marketplaces like Alibaba and Amazon Business, deep knowledge of customer needs and personalized service are essential. Research by Gartner predicts that by 2018 B2B companies that offer personalized online buying experiences will have outsold competitors who aren’t providing this level of service by 30%.
Driven by data
To meet rising customer expectations, mid-sized B2B companies are investing in tools to help their sales partners to make decisions about customer service.
Improved reporting, analytics, and data-driven decision-making tools are all helping to boost performance. Improving their ability to capture and analyze data mid-sized B2B companies can help their sales partners to make informed choices about products, services, personalization and fulfillment.
Forrester identifies four major elements for B2B companies choosing an ecommerce solution. Managing the ecommerce selection and ordering processes, user experience and product information management. In the future these four ‘pillars’ of ecommerce might merge into a single solution. In the meantime, companies are choosing very different approaches.
Some simplify and speed up implementation with an all-in-one approach. Others prefer to complement their ecommerce choice by integrating complementary best-of-breed solutions as part of their overall strategy. Others deliver innovation through a new customer interface and integrate existing systems behind the scenes.
For businesses that want it all…
Cloudfy can effectively support any of these business approaches. With regular updates automatically deployed in the Cloud, businesses are always up to date with the latest innovations. With out-of-the-box ecommerce and powerful integration and API there’s also the flexibility to integrate existing systems and develop for the future. New sites can be deployed quickly and costs are easy to manage with straightforward monthly fees.
For your complete B2B ecommerce solution in the Cloud, contact us today.