The Top Three B2B E-Commerce Trends for 2013

Customer-facing front-end business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is poised to reach $559 billion in US sales by the end of 2013 says Forrester Research in a recent report. To capitalize on this growing market, companies must invest in B2B e-commerce sites that can maintain channel harmony, optimize distribution, and profit from opportunities. Their report outlines the landscape and some key trends that eBusiness and channel strategy professionals will see in the world of B2B eCommerce over the next 12 to 18 months. b2sb 


In today's broader B2B eCommerce landscape, the challenge for companies, is knowing exactly where to focus energy and investment dollars, especially in a market that is seeing accelerated growth. Forrester believes that B2B eCommerce organizations must address three key trends in 2013, three places you can start:

The B2B Customer Experience.

Today’s B2B customers shop in the B2C online marketplace. And they expect and anticipate the same, smooth B2C-like experience when visiting B2B sites. Successful B2B sites use B2C techniques to deliver online experiences that “transcend the transaction” — including personalization, breadth and depth of product selection, a simplified login experience, and compelling deals and offers. An example from B2B Staples Advantage website employs B2C-like personalization. staples

Get Creative about sourcing B2B eCommerce Talent. 

Recruit and empower leaders who have B2C eCommerce experience. Because more companies are diving into B2B e-commerce, the pool of skilled talent is shrinking. Many businesses will have to accept some salary sticker shock when hiring existing talent. Others may have to get creative, recruiting B2C talent or cherry picking internal talent, converting promising internal employees into B2B assets. 

Harmonizing Channel Conflict.

As attractive as B2B online sales are, channel conflict remains a big concern for many companies. However, it should not be a roadblock. Top companies are leading the way by using e-commerce to benefit the direct business buyer experience — from enabling specific customer segments, to arming sales reps with online sales portals.

Accelerate the development of a self-service model and begin migrating customers online. B2B companies can now profitably merchandise and market to, as well as transact with, these customers entirely online. By digitizing sales qualifying via product configurators and do-it-yourself online support — as Dell has done — B2B companies with self-service portals can drive down the cost of acquiring and keeping a customer. dell


Visit Digital River to learn more about 2013 B2B trends, download a complimentary copy of the Forrester Research report, Key Trends in B2B E-Commerce for 2013. (Please note that this download is available for a limited time.)