Will Ecommerce Cannibalize My B2B BusinessBut won’t ecommerce cannibalize my current business?”

If I only had a dollar for every time I have heard the word “cannibalize” when the topic of ecommerce is brought up to a B2B company. I’d be quite well off!

As more and more B2B companies expand into the world of B2B ecommerce, cannibalization–otherwise known as channel conflict–becomes a recurring theme.

And for many B2B companies exploring the idea of ecommerce, it’s a concern that must be addressed.

So, will ecommerce cannibalize your B2B business?

The short answer: Not likely.

The somewhat longer answer: Not likely, but a lot of it depends on you.

The challenge with introducing a B2B ecommerce initiative lies in how you present it to your current channel partners. If you position your ecommerce site as a way to increase brand awareness, generate interest in your products and services, and direct foot traffic to dealers’ local stores, the initiative will be regarded as additive to their sales. If you present your ecommerce site as a competitor, the initiatve is more likely to viewed as cannibalizing.

Positive Positioning Techniques

  • Increased brand awareness. Utilize your ecommerce presence to boost brand awareness in your market. Promote product case studies, press releases and other media. Ecommerce capability will also make you more visible to search engine crawlers and the higher Google indexes your pages, the more everyeone wins. So, offer beefed up product content whenever possible to increase awareness.
  • Offer product resources. Your ecommerce site is the perfect place to host online product resources such as how-to documents, technical specifications, user manuals, FAQs and interactive tools like product videos. These resources educate the virtual AND the real-time consumer, making your site the place to go for the best information on your products.
  • Drive traffic to local stores. An ecommerce site that pushes shoppers to a local dealer or distributor is likely to be met with open arms. With that in mind, use a dealer locator to help online shoppers find the dealer closest to them and promote in-store only sales and specials.

To successfully manage a B2B ecommerce rollout, your key retailers and dealers need to know that this is not an effort to replace them, but a way to increase awareness to improve sales numbers for everyone involved. By positioning the initiative as additive in nature, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Ready to take your B2B business to the next level? View the on-demand webinar, Ecommerce Best Practices for B2B and B2C.