Is ecommerce right for my B2B organization?

As a business-to-business (B2B) organization, you’re probably hearing a lot about B2B ecommerce and how it will change the way you do business. You might also be wondering whether the B2B ecommerce opportunity is big enough to offset the associated costs of developing an ecommerce site.

In short, it is most definitely worth it.

For a long time, people (wrongly) assumed that the consumer-focused or business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce opportunity overshadowed the B2B one. Turns out it’s exactly the opposite. According to Forrester Research, US B2B retail sold more than $8 trillion in goods in 2014. By 2020, they expect the US B2B eCommerce market to be worth $1 trillion — twice the size of the US B2C eCommerce market.

B2B Ecommerce Take Away

Wondering what this means for you and your organization? Here are our suggestions as you consider your ecommerce strategy for 2016.

  1. If you don’t have ecommerce yet, get moving. While the B2B market space is still relatively uncrowded, it won’t be for long and first movers always have the advantage. (If you think you can wait, consider this: Amazon launched its very own B2B ecommerce site, AmazonSupply.com, targeting thirteen specific verticals. If you’re in one of those verticals, change is coming sooner than you can imagine. Think you have time to wait and see? So did Borders, CompUSA, and Circuit City. The time is now. (Learn more about how to compete with AmazonSupply.com in your market.)
  2. If you have a B2B ecommerce site in place, make it better. Successful ecommerce sites (and all websites, really) require constant attention to remain effective. Too often the mentality is, “Thank goodness the website is live! Now I can relax!” Not so fast. If you’ve been using this “set it and forget it” strategy, it’s time to update your site’s functionality, images, content and messaging.
  3. Do your homework. What are your competitors doing with regards to ecommerce? Don’t get caught unaware–do some competitive analysis and then get to work making your ecommerce customer experience better for your customers, dealers, distributors and sales channels alike.
  4. Find an organization to emulate–but always be yourself. Check out AmazonSupply.com–they are the gold standard of B2B ecommerce functionality backed by the robust Amazon fulfillment and distribution machine. Determine which AmazonSupply features you have to have on your site–keep in mind that this is going to be a limited list–and get to work. And remember, while you strive to be more and more like AmazonSupply with each iteration of your website, keep in mind that you are not Amazon and that’s okay. Be the best version of your organization online and in person instead.

To learn more about how to position your B2B organization for success with ecommerce, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.

Subscribe to our B2B Happenings newsletter to keep up on the latest b2b commerce and sales enablement trends >