Hybris: Omni-channel more important for B2B than B2C

Chief strategy officer of technology vendor says the global ecommerce market for B2B is worth more than twice that of B2C

The global B2B ecommerce market is worth more than twice that of B2C. So why is it that the latter is getting all the attention?

According to the research firm, Frost & Sullivan, B2B ecommerce will be worth US$6.7 trillion by 2020, compared to US$3.2 trillion for B2C. And unless suppliers are investing in making B2B transactions easier for buyers, they could lose out to newer competitors.

“B2B has been the undiscovered country,” says Brian Walker, chief strategy officer for hybris Software. “When people talk about online or omni-channel, they always revert to retail examples, and that is because it is what most people are familiar with, it is what most people experience every day.”

This focus on B2C and retail, however, has significant impact in the B2B world, Walker says, as it serves to set the expectations of buyers across all relationships.

“Those same consumers are business people trying to get tasks done, and often times these tasks are chores – placing an order, going through a reorder process, making sure there is product there on time, and so on,” Walker says. “If anything, the need for efficiency and self-service, and the ability to do that any time of day, are even greater in a B2B context.

“The buyer’s age is changing. They are not the 55-year-olds used to doing it a particular way. They are the 25 or 30-year-olds who grew up as digital natives and who don’t want to talk to people, and certainly don’t want to send an email.”

According to research commissioned from Forrester by hybris, 93 per cent of B2B buyers surveyed would rather transact on their own electronically than speak to a supplier’s representative. However, Walker says that doesn’t mean suppliers should stop using salespeople and branch offices.

“There will be a role for talking to someone and negotiating a price, or maybe it is a complex purchase - those are scenarios where I would expect to want to engage with a human being and talk it out,” he says. “Once I am past that point, though, when it comes to ordering replacement parts or service, I don’t want to have to go through the hassle of getting hold of somebody, explaining the problem, scheduling an appointment, all these kinds of tasks. I just need to get it taken care of.”

The same survey found up to 50 per cent of respondents would switch to a competitor if they were easier to work with.

“The customers’ expectations have changed,” Walker says. “Even in the case of a complex purchase today, you still need a digitally enabled experience to complement that.

“It’s about recognising the changing expectations of the customer, and then recognising you are open to disruption if you don’t begin to embrace that change. Within B2B, there are pockets of people who are reluctant to acknowledge the change that’s occurring.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in