What do B2B companies that are considered ecommerce masters have in common, and how can you become one?
A recent Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper commissioned by Magento Commerce can finally help answer that question.
The study, titled “What It Takes To Be A Leader In B2B eCommerce*”, was carried out via online surveys of 302 B2B ecommerce decision makers in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, and China.
Defining B2B Ecommerce Success
How do you measure a B2B company’s ecommerce success? Via adherence to the following five best practices:
- A dedicated ecommerce leader
- A dedicated ecommerce department or team
- Cross-functional alignment and agreement on the company’s ecommerce strategy
- A dedicated technology team supporting ecommerce efforts, and
- A dedicated P&L for ecommerce sales
And how many of those best practices are companies actually incorporating in their strategies? Among those surveyed, the results weren’t very encouraging, as only a little over a quarter are incorporating four or five.
- 19% are considered Novices, with no alignment between ecommerce strategies and other parts of the organization, and with no dedicated ecommerce operations.
- 55% are Explorers, with an average of two of the aforementioned best practices in place.
- Only 26% are Masters, with four or all five best practices in place.
What Masters Offer
What do these businesses offer customers on their ecommerce websites in order to reach Master status?
To emulate them, try to incorporate the following features (percentage denotes how many Masters offer that feature on their sites):
- Marketplaces on site, enabling third parties to sell directly through the company’s site (73%)
- User-generated content (80%)
- Option to purchase online and pick up at a local branch (82%)
- Visibility into inventory (88%)
- Opportunities for upselling and cross-selling (88%)
- Site personalization (89%)
- User reviews and ratings (90%)
- Advanced site search including merchandising and filtering capabilities (90%)
- Videos, photos, and illustrations (i.e. visualization capabilities) (94%)
- Detailed product descriptions (100%)
Becoming a B2B Ecommerce Master
Whether your business would already be considered a Master, or whether you fall into the Explorer or Novice category, there’s always room for improvement.
The key three recommendations from Magento’s study are as follows.
1. First, build a dedicated ecommerce team.
This means you’ll have to assign a point-person or leader that will ensure objectives are met. This team should not only be customer-facing, but touch the sales and customer service departments as well, making sure all employees are working in alignment to ensure an optimal customer journey, which brings us to number two.
2. Ecommerce and sales teams should share common goals.
While change, like a newly minted ecommerce team, can be difficult for businesses, having shared goals and incentives will encourage teams to work together while garnering support for your new strategy.
3. Invest in solutions that can change with your growing business.
We’ve written quite a bit about B2B sales complexity and going omnichannel, and how the right solutions can help you tackle both. As buyers’ needs continue to evolve, so must your business, and therefore, so must the tools you choose to invest in. Ensure you’re deploying flexible solutions that will grow with your business, allowing you to make changes on the fly, meet customer expectations, and maintain that edge over the competition.
*2018 Forrester Research, Inc. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester®, Technographics®, Forrester Wave, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc.