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

Is your content marketing missing the mark?

Does it ever seem like the content you create falls flat on its face or that the leads you’re generating aren’t worth following up?

Dan Ratner

managing director, uberbrand

​ Creating a purpose-driven brand

So you want to be a brand with purpose. But what does it actually mean to build a brand with real meaning?

Paul Chappell

Partner and managing director, Brand + Story

Customer experience crisis: Proactively mitigating the risk of broken promises

Last Friday, three weeks after United Airline’s spectacular customer experience disaster, customers received a letter from the company’s CEO, Oscar Munoz.

Very rarely have I come across views so true. There are so many gems in this article, reflective of reality, onec can read it again and a...

Shyam Mishra

ANZ digital chief: Tackle the ‘frozen middle’ of your organisation or face irrelevancy

Read more

STOP STEALING BUISNESS CLASS TOILETS from A380, new 787's and A330's!!!!Thats what you call customer experience ONE toilet for all Busine...

Joe

Qantas CMO: What it's taking to evolve our customer experience

Read more

Dare i suggest that a "CEO" role in a peak industry body like Think Brink is not really much of a leap from CMO because it is also a mark...

Sventana

CMO to CEO: Think Brick chief reveals what it takes to make the jump

Read more

Grate post, thanks for the post.No matter what your business is, if you do no not rank among the top most search results of Google, Yahoo...

Rahul

Image intelligence:10 must-see infographics for marketers

Read more

Thank you Shane Blandford for carrying my Smarketing vision into KM !

Peter Strohkorb

​CMO Interview: Why aligning sales and marketing drives innovation at Konica Minolta

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in