B2B ecommerce is challenging the status quo for business-to-business companies and the effects of these changes are considerable.
I recently read an Internet Retailer article that documented the ecommerce success of W.W. Grainger, a business-to-business distributor of facilities maintenance supplies.
The article asserts that in the next few years, 40% or more of Grainger’s sales will be attributed to ecommerce. This is a significant chunk of the company’s revenue and is a clear departure from their original business model.
More importantly, it’s unlikely that this trend toward ecommerce purchases will slow.
BtoBB2B.com sums it up like this:
The new rules of engagement, enforced by the new online economy, require a complete transformation of a legacy company to an e-business driven company. Technology plays a vital role in this transition and transformation and it is changing from a cost of doing business to a way of doing business. (Source: BtoBB2B.com)
Gone are the days that ecommerce is an option for the B2B enterprise organization. Ecommerce is a necessity for continued growth and customer satisfaction.
How much growth?
Internet Retailer reports that “U.S. e-commerce sales totaled $165.4 billion in 2010, up 14.8% from $144.1 billion 2009.” (Source: Internet Retailer) To give you a sense of how quickly ecommerce is growing, the U.S. Census Bureau E-Stats report states that ecommerce sales in 2007 were $127 billion.
Here’s the reality: Ecommerce is changing the way the B2B companies do business.
B2B companies can no longer ignore ecommerce as a way to bring their products and services to market. The B2B consumer is demanding ecommerce as a way to make its business purchases and companies that shy away from the channel run the very real risk of being passed up by their competition.
Don’t let that be your company–explore B2B ecommerce and figure out how to harness it to grow your B2B business.