A profound shift in customer behavior from offline to online channels is fundamentally changing the way in which B2B merchants interact with, sell products and services to, and build loyalty with their B2B customers, according to a Forrester study commissioned by ecommerce solutions provider hybris.
The study says that new online driven and omnichannel-centric paradigm has emerged, one in which the longer and more often B2B merchants sell online, the more pronounced and disproportionate the positive results are.
Here are three key findings from Forrester’s study:
Selling online and on mobile devices represents a significant new opportunity
B2B merchants are finding that selling online drives higher revenue and builds greater loyalty with customers. Forrester’s research shows that online-only and omnichannel B2B customers have higher average order values and are more likely to add items to orders, order in bulk, and make repeat purchases than offline only B2B customers. B2B merchants also find it easier to build loyalty with online-only B2B customers than with offline-only B2B customers by leveraging targeted crosssell and upsell offers.
Self-service tools are changing the way customers interact with merchants
Demand is growing rapidly for web-based self-service ecommerce capabilities that allow B2B customers to research, make and service their purchases from a PC, laptop, or mobile device. In a new world of around the clock, omnichannel commerce, B2B customers are increasingly demanding tools and technologies capable of serving them on their own terms. A majority of B2B merchants in Forrester’s research said that their customers are asking them for new and better self-service tools to make buying more convenient.
B2B merchants that wait too long to implement ecommerce assume a big risk
Every day that B2B merchants fail to offer a compelling B2B ecommerce experience, they fall farther behind more advanced competitors. Specifically, they risk losing market share to B2B rivals already executing an ecommerce strategy and B2B versions of consumer websites that have recently emerged in the B2B space. For B2B distributors and wholesalers in particular that rely on adding value as middlemen, failing to exploit online and mobile as leading channels for driving customer engagement represents an existential threat to their businesses.
For the study, Forrester surveyed 717 B2B merchants, including 353 merchants currently selling direct to businesses online.