The B2B eCommerce industry is set for a big change, riding on the digital wave. Large B2B enterprises are going through fundamental business transformation with the intent of transitioning to a global brand and distribution network. According to Forrester report on B2B ecommerce, nearly 50% of B2B companies surveyed said that they expect half of their customer base to be buying from them online within three years.
So what are the key B2B eCommerce trends to take note for the change? Brand manufacturers are increasingly selling direct to their own customers through online channels, competing directly with their own distributors. Reports from Forrester research quotes ‘B2B eCommerce professionals report 20% year-over-year growth in traffic to their websites. Omni channel B2B digital strategy has become an imperative for building a global brand and consistent customer experience, with mobile becoming a strategic channel for communicating with customers. There is also a high appetite for content driven commerce, which varies from simple digital content to complex catalogues, product specifications, to building micro sites for distributors.
All B2B organizations have legacy online platforms which are unable to adapt to the pace of the connected digital world. They will have to evolve by adopting a comprehensive digital implementation through a time bound process channel. The digital transformation will have to be a holistic process covering improved omni channel customer experience enabling business functions online, which covers enablement of pure–play direct distributors (online/offline), multi-level distributions and direct to consumer (B2C), faster time to market through agile quick phased roll outs in line with business needs, integrated supply chain management with cohesive architecture between digital platforms and ERP and SCM systems.
Therefore, the question that poses every enterprise today is how do they go about with this digital journey? It is ideal to plan in phases and create an evolutionary framework. Start with a Platform transformation phase, to articulate the digital eCommerce goals into customer journeys to provide the best customer experience and then create the building blocks to realize them through a digital eCommerce platform. Then we go for Business Transformation, to convert the base realization into deep impacting customer experience changes which improves customer centricity. Finally we enter Digital Transformation, where the complete digital experience is realized with customers and within the organization.
The digital journey will not be smooth ride in traditional B2B enterprises given their inter departmental silos and the strategic shift in business operations. The evangelization of digital ecommerce has to be a continuous process with various stakeholders and departments within the organization. The business benefits and the digital technology adoption for better future should be constantly messaged along with a detailed change management strategy to have a successful digital eCommerce implementation. Do you think your enterprise is ready for this? Tell us your views.