Have you ever visited a B2B eCommerce website and tried to buy products from there?
Besides the functionality difference, did you notice that the experience in most of these websites is not as good compared to most B2C eCommerce websites. Most of these B2B websites have not been upgraded for years for fear of causing conflict in prices across other channels.
Fortunately, things are changing for good.
B2B buyers are increasingly demanding the same quality of experience and sophistication as enjoyed by B2C consumers. Like their B2C counterparts, B2B consumers are also demanding intuitive and user friendly interfaces across multiple touch points.
The great expectations of B2B consumers makes for a really BIG opportunity for eCommerce vendors and service providers, and they can no longer afford to ignore it.
As per Gartner’s strategic planning estimates, the B2B market is expecting the following momentum:
- By 2018, 70% of e-commerce will move from business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B models to models that focus on the individual customer experience.
- By 2018, more than 50% of commerce sites will integrate technologies from more than 15 vendors to deliver a digital customer experience.
- During the next three years, 60% of digital commerce analytics investments will be spent on customer journey analytics.
- By 2018, organizations that have fully invested in all types of online personalization will outsell companies that have not by more than 30%.
Thankfully, Magento’s recent release -Magento B2B- has tried to fill this gap to a large extent.
Let’s take a moment to talk about why Magento’s new program matters to B2B customers and business owners, and how your brand can garner the maximum amount of value and impact from this platform.
What makes Magento B2B solution the darling of B2B ecommerce?
Before you dive into the applications of Magento’s platform, it’s a good idea to give you a quick overview of its new features and functionality.
As per Magento’s Marketing team:
“…buyers want self-serve information and online ordering options from their vendors. Buyers do not want to talk to a sales person; they want to research and then order online on their own.”
According to the team behind Magento’s new offering, this latest release is all about giving your audience exactly what they want when they visit your site.
From enabling self-serve browsing and purchasing tools that aim to cut out the middleman to promoting a cleaner and more manageable site experience, Magento’s new B2B program more than delivers on the premise of adding a “consumer-friendly” business-to-consumer (B2C) connection to the standard B2B experience.
Following are 5 major benefits that a B2B business owner should expect from:
- Personalized Recommendations
- Powerful Search Capabilities
- Easy Buyer Experience
- Buyer and Seller Analytics
- Ability to Nurture Leads Throughout the Buyer Journey
Aside from giving your site a major face lift, this re-imagined version also comes with quite a few bells and whistles for your side of the sales process. Enterprise brands making the switch will have access to the following:
- Segmentation and personalization metrics pertaining to visiting customers.
- Suggestions for integrating relevant site data to other extensions of a brand’s advertising and marketing operations.
- “All-in-one” operational sales platform.
This “all-in-one” system provides complete control over site and sales operations from a single platform. When paired up with the fact that Magento stands as a recipient of Forrester Research’s highest possible score in the “Cost of Ownership” category, it’s safe to say that this program is a flexible, cost efficient alternative to other enterprise-level platforms.
Why Magento B2B is perfect for the Current Marketplace Climate
It doesn’t take much to see that Magento platform packs quite the punch.
However, simply telling you about all of its features and functionalities probably isn’t enough to seal the deal. To really uncover the utility found within this B2B e-commerce platform, it’s important to understand why the marketplace climate is ripe for a change among brands like your own.
“B2B marketing has long been under-represented, not to mention B2B ecommerce.” – David Bowen, Econsultancy
David Bowen of the Econsultancy blog, in his look at current industry trends and consumer activity, uncovered these two poignant statistics:
- 38 percent of B2B executives have seen a rise in online orders over the past year.
- B2B websites polled during this timeframe also saw a 44 percent increase in the average amount spent by customers during their time on-site.
So what’s causing this massive rise in demand for functional and engaging B2B eCommerce portals? As the experts from Marketing Watch report, this increase in B2B activity all comes back to consumer preference.
“Distributors and manufacturers favor the Magento platform because they can curate consumer-like experiences for their buyers and still take advantage of Magento’s flexibility to customize any aspect of the order flow to match their unique business requirements…” – Mark Lavelle, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Commerce Technologies, eBay Enterprise, via the Marketing Watch report
Essentially, the vast majority of B2B buyers – 93 percent to be exact – prefer to purchase online via self-serve tools instead of dealing with in-person or phone sales teams. To put it in even plainer terms, B2B sales online are exploding, so having the right platform that supports your site and generates an enjoyable user experience is more important than ever before.
Peter Sheldon of the Forrester research group points out the trend is only going to grow stronger and more prevalent over the coming years.
- The number of B2B buyers that will complete more than half of their work purchasing online will nearly double by 2017.
- Up from 30 percent today to 56 percent at that point.
The moral of the story is clear: You can put off making the switch to a platform like Magento for a while, but ignoring this trend for too long will only cause your brand to fall behind as other organizations give these customers the type of online-shopping experience that they crave.
Going a Step Further with Ease of Customization
By now, it’s easy to see that Magento development is the perfect solution to the rising need for a more “B2B-centric” approach to the B2B sales process. However, undoubtedly you are wondering what would be the best ways to fit this program into your existing systems, all while extracting the maximum amount of value from the platform. Once you’ve made the switch to Magento, the answer to these questions lies within the program’s extensive customization features.
Magento has long been known for its insistence on flexibility and integration with other enterprise-level systems. This new B2B program is no different. When it comes to enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, Magento offers compatibility with a wide array of options. Supported ERPs include:
- Microsoft Dynamics
Not only that, this platform also offers the ability to customize product catalogs based on the needs and habits of various segments within your audience. Think of this process as digitally guiding each B2B customer through a unique purchasing experience that takes place on their preferred channel. Much like other forms of digital marketing, having a site that is both responsive and personalized is one of the most effective tools you can offer to customers of all shapes and sizes.
B2B e-commerce is a reality and it will get bigger in the near future. The blurring of the difference between B2B and B2C experience is pushing B2B companies to build omni-channel experiences to serve their customers, and accelerate their business to growth.
Considering Magento’s B2B solution comes packed with features inherited from eBay retailer suite, which is a leader in B2B retail already as per Forrester, it is certainly one of the best eCommerce solutions to choose from.