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B2B eCommerce: Forrester eBusiness Wrapup–Six Factors driving the Consumerization of B2B eCommerce

Steve Susina • November 5, 2014

LYONSCG was a proud sponsor of last week’s Forrester Forum for eBusiness and Channel Strategy (#FORRForum) in our hometown of Chicago. The event featured great sessions from Forrester Analysts and their clients, an expo with solutions from a dozen leading solutions providers (including LYONSCG!), and 500 of the brightest digital minds from across the US and around the world, taking in the conference and sharing insights. Forrester-eBusForum

One of the trends we explored at the show is the increasing consumerization of B2B eCommerce. Forrester and Internet Retailer have recently published data that shows that the B2B eCommerce market is already four times the size of the B2C space . . . and B2B is growing faster.

And that ties into our presentation at the Forrester eBusiness forum, delivered by our executive vice president and co-founder, David Barr. He presented on October 29th on The Rise of B2B eCommerce: How the Consumerization Trend Enables Effective Online B2B Sales. We’ve prepared a white paper on B2B eCommerce, based on his presentation that provides insights into how online channels offer new possibilities to extend the B2B buyer/seller relationship.

Throughout the show, we were exposed to the industry factors that are driving the consumerization of B2B eCommerce. Here are six reasons that stand out:

  1. The Changing Business Buying Cycle – The Corporate Executive Board has published research that suggests that customers are 57% through the purchase decision before they are willing to speak with a supplier sales rep. 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).
  2. Changing Payment Landscape – There is a long-term shift from purchasing departments and purchase orders to company issued credit cards. The purchase authority is being pushing lower into the organization, and the 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.
  3. Increased Comfort with eCommerce – Widespread consumer adoption of online purchasing provides comfort with process and demand for similar ease and simplicity in the order process. If people are comfortable with an eCommerce model for their own 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Personalization Trend within Marketing – 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 with respect to negotiated or differentiated pricing, more refined or advanced approaches with respect to segmentation, and personalized content.
  6. Increase of Mobile Technology in the Workplace – 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.

The Forrester Forum for eBusiness provided a wealth of information and data for eCommerce professionals—especially those in the B2B world. The consumerization of B2B is a trend we expect to see continue into 2015 as firms continue to adopt new ways to engage with customers.

Discover how to take advantage of the opportunities B2B eCommerce offers to maximize sales and customer satisfaction in the LYONSCG white paper, Consumerization of B2B eCommerce. We present five case studies that demonstrate how to leverage and adapt best practices from B2C eCommerce.

An electrical engineer by education and marketer by choice, Steve Susina uses data and analytics to help firms generate demand, establish thought leadership and strengthen the company brand. He currently serves as Marketing Director for Lyons Consulting Group (LYONSCG), a full-service eCommerce digital agency. He is a Marketo Certified Expert with more than five years experience using marketing automation.

Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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