There was a time, not so long ago, that companies sold to consumers online but traded with other businesses through catalogues, telesales teams and salespeople out on the road. That has changed. With the meteoric rise of B2B eCommerce, does that spell the end for traditional B2B sales channels? Or is there an opportunity for catalogues and sales teams to be brought back from the dead?
The Size of the B2B eCommerce Market
B2B eCommerce set to be worth $1.13 trillion by 2020
The increase in B2B eCommerce shouldn’t come as a surprise. Forrester Research found B2B e-commerce companies generated $780 billion back in 2015. They also predicted that B2B eCommerce revenues will continue growing and will be worth $1.13 trillion by 2020.
According to Forrester, B2B eCommerce is the place to be:
74% of B2B buyers research half or more of their work purchases online.
93% of business buyers prefer to buy online when they’ve decided what to buy.
56% were expected to make at least half of their work-related purchases online by 2017.
Who are the B2B eCommerce customers
ThoughtShift always starts by getting a thorough understanding of the customer, so exactly who are B2B eCommerce customers? It seems reasonable to assume the decision makers are older, more senior occupants of the C Suite. However, a study by Google with Millward Brown Digital revealed that B2B e-commerce sites also need to focus on the people researching buying decisions. And that means those ever online, face-to-face contact dodging, millennials. According to the study, nearly half of researchers were aged between 18-34.
So how important are those researchers? According to Google / Millward Brown, very important. While 64% of the C Suite respondents had sign-off, so did 24% of the non C Suite. When it comes to influence the non C Suite are even more important. Over 4 out of 5 Non C Suite employees influence decisions.