The Consumerization of B2B E CommerceIn a recent webinar, Brian K. Walker of Forrester Research brought up the concept of the consumerization of B2B ecommerce.

What is the consumerization of B2B ecommerce?

Quite simply, it refers to the move from a utilitarian B2B ecommerce experience toward a rich and engaging online experience that focuses on the B2B customer as a consumer, albeit one with a corporate credit card in hand.

Historically, B2B ecommerce has been a means to an end, providing B2B customers with a quick way to place an order. Emphasis was put on the usefulness of the site and how well it helped achieve that goal.

Recently, as B2B consumers have become more and more accustomed to a user-focused ecommerce experience in their personal lives, B2B ecommerce sites have begun to adopt B2C ecommerce techniques to better engage the B2B ecommerce shopper. Such techniques include:

  • Rich web design – Dynamic and visually pleasing site design elements including images and graphics that convey corporate branding and key messaging.
  • Focus on user experience – Is the site easy to use and does it employ industry best practices to delight the B2B ecommerce shopper?
  • User defined product categories –Grouping products in a way that most closely matches the way the shopper searches for products on your site improves site intuitiveness.
  • Engaging and interactive content – Products are supported by robust product descriptions, interactive content such as product videos and side-by-side comparisons.
  • Search – Advanced search capability allows shoppers to quickly and easily isolate the products they wish to buy via key word, product name, or item number.
  • Merchandising and promotions – B2B ecommerce sites are leveraging the power of dynamic merchandising and promotional capabilities, reaching out to buyers in a way formerly only found in B2C ecommerce.

The consumerization of B2B ecommerce is allowing B2B organizations to provide a consumer-friendly and consumer-focused ecommerce experience – engaging the customer, increasing sales and improving brand awareness.

To learn more about how to maximize the success of your B2B ecommerce site, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.