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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How to leverage the Internet of Things to understand consumer intent

'Intent' is the single largest performance marketing variable. It shapes our search queries, dictates our purchase paths and mediates meaningful interactions with brands regardless of channel, media or content type.

Oliver Smith

Business development, Performics Australia

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Data has been an increasingly critical factor in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing and business operations.

James Bennett

Chief experience officer, Kalido

Our sharing future is both terrifying and exciting

Discussing the future in a realistic fashion is often a disappointing prospect. For all the talk of hoverboards, jetpacks and lightsabers changing the way we do things, the reality tends to end up being something as mundane as a slightly cheaper way to get around the city.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Hi James, shouldn't marketers also be focusing on collecting and utilizing up to date first-party profiling data on customers so that mes...

Tom

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Read more

Wouldn't reconnecting with younger consumers be in direct contravention of the code on alcohol advertising?

Tim Palmer

Vodka Cruiser reconnects with younger consumers via category-first Facebook Live campaign

Read more

Thanks for the article Jennifer, you raise some interesting points. The supermarket and shopping centre examples particularly struck a c...

Jill Brennan

Why marketers should take note of social robots

Read more

Winning the retail game is really tricky at this point in time. Many retailers have declared themselves as bankrupt. But yes harnessing t...

Vanessa.M.Magers

​Bricks and clicks: Balancing digital and physical to win the retail game

Read more

Excellent article, Thank you.

Steve Beards

How Aprimo hopes to help marketers tackle distribution of content, funds and data

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in