As a B2B company, why does ecommerce matter? Does it matter at all?
Since the launch of the Internet, ecommerce has largely been the territory of B2C companies. Why are B2B companies jumping on board the ecommerce bandwagon all of a sudden?
It’s because Ed is retiring soon and when Ed retires, Jeremy will be taking over.
I imagine you’re wondering, “Who’s this Ed guy? And what does his retirement have to do with my B2B business?”
Ed is the customer you built your business on. He’s in his late 50s or 60s and just got the hang of using email on his computer at work. Ed’s purchasing habits are based on relationships. He’d rather call you up and place his order and he prefers to talk to his sales rep, Nancy, every couple of weeks. He knows enough about the Internet to view pictures of his kids, but doesn’t have a Facebook account, doesn’t “tweet,” and isn’t interested in much else on the World Wide Web. Ed likes his job, but he likes to fish more and he’s starting to think about the day when he can retire to the Florida Keys and spend as much time on the water as he wants.
Did you catch that last part?
Ed–the customer you built your business on–he’s thinking about retiring, if he hasn’t started planning already.
I ask you this: When Ed retires, who will you sell your product to?
Okay, so you’re probably wondering, “Who’s Jeremy?”
I’ll tell you.
Jeremy is your next generation of customer. He’s in his mid-30s and his short-term plans include a promotion that helps him climb the ladder at his company. Jeremy’s purchasing behavior is based on convenience. He doesn’t go anywhere without his smart phone and he prefers to shop online, whether the purchase is for business or personal use. He’d rather avoid calling a customer service rep to place his orders and is likely to have made a purchase using mobile ecommerce technology recently. And he probably will do so again in the near future. What’s more, Jeremy knows he has at least 20 years before he can think about retiring.
Jeremy is your next generation of customer and he’s probably doing business with you on some level already. If your company doesn’t offer his preferred way to purchase it’s likely that Jeremy will move to the competition who DOES provide him a way to purchase via ecommerce, and soon, mobile commerce.
Ecommerce matters because Ed will retire soon and Jeremy will take over. As a B2B company, if you don’t have a strong ecommerce strategy in place soon, you’ll be the only one who misses the boat when Ed retires.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider Before Beginning an Ecommerce Intiative.