Recent research by Gartner further qualifies trends observed across all industry that business to business (B2B) eCommerce sales are on a quantum growth path ($800 billion now to $1.3 trillion by 2020). The trail blazer has been business to consumer (B2C) and now B2B eCommerce is the emerging transaction method of choice for a wide range of stakeholders including mainstream customers of your organisation. From industry manufacturers to industrial wholesalers outwards to tradespeople and asset owners and managers who need supplies and equipment for products, asset creation or overhaul of existing assets, all players in the chain are firing up their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone to research products, connect with distributors, and make purchases if they see it makes their job easier.
These projections mean B2B commerce is serious business. The big transformational issue is that setting up and running an eCommerce store isn’t a core competency for the typical Manufacturer/ Wholesale distributor. And what may have started out as a curious “need to do it” initiative for the company’s lower level marketing admin staff or a project handed out to a small local web crew with some top cover from the IT support person on staff. Then all of a sudden it goes from curating a marketing style web site to now it’s online eCommerce store. Things have changed and no one is quite certain where to next and the spend required and knowledge gap to keep up with the competitors is widening.
This B2B shift is soon seen as strategic and gone beyond the “Corner web shop” covering a handful of products. When the reality of no content being ready, imagery either not done or poor and business ready product descriptions being non-existent there is a wake up about who will lead and do the grunt work of what is soon realized as a transformational effort for the business. Is it sales to take on this effort? Or maybe marketing admin? Or we just see it as another technology project out of IT? The owners and managers need to buy into solving this delivery dilemma sooner rather than later. This is critical as at end of the day it is all about making or not making more money in an ever increasingly complex business architecture and transactional environment for Manufacturers and Wholesalers.
Unfortunately these issues aren’t fixed with just resource chucked at them. According to Albert Woo, MD APAC and USA for Intershop “The mainstream manufacturer / wholesaler soon sees they need hand holding through the maze of new processes to administer or existing process to modify and worst of all there are no resources inside of those companies that understand the road map (or very little) and at best struggle just enough to get by.” Unfortunately for most the supply of the best digital/eCommerce experts is one where Demand outstrips Supply and many are not even that interested in the B2B side of the equation preferring to work in the B2C space with the big retail brands and big fee agencies.
How can Intershop help?
This market predicament has led us to develop our managed service offering where we take responsibility for managing your Digital Commerce Platform & Operations (IT & Business Support). The good news about this offering is that the Manufacturer / Wholesale distributor can now make an effort to acquire an eCommerce team with a genuine service level commitment and a robust experience level that will deliver business benefits earlier. It helps reduce your risk and avoids you seeing the talent you end up developing march out the door to a better offer when you are supposed to be reaping the rewards of the human capital investment. This solution is ideal for B2B companies who are looking to make their first foray into digital commerce. Get in contact with us today to find out more 1300 868 197.