The B2B Commerce Marketplace Is Massive
Online B2B sales is estimated to reach nearly $8 trillion this year. Salesforce research tells us that 70% of business buyers expect an “Amazon-like” buying experience from their business vendors just like they would in a normal B2C transaction. They also say that 74% of business buyers expect their vendors to personalize these experiences to their needs.
As we have become very comfortable with online shopping for personal use, companies are now starting to apply the same concept to the B2B buying process. After all, 93% of buyers prefer to buy online when they have already decided what to buy.
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B2B Commerce Demands Are Different Than B2C
Companies know that providing a general product listing with a “Call us” button isn’t eCommerce. When they think of taking their complex product or service to an eCommerce platform, it can seem impossible or daunting. They aren’t selling a sweatshirt where the only product attributes are color and size. Gartner knows that implementing product visualization can bridge this gap for product companies – allowing for configuration, quoting, and purchasing of complex products using visual CPQ. They also know how CPQ can make positive ripples throughout the manufacturing process:
“Companies that implement 3D product visualization solutions see significant improvement in their deal win rate, lower costs for drafting computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, less rework in the factory and lower carrying costs for samples at retail locations.”
– Gartner 2019 Innovation Insight for Visual Configuration
Why Does Implementing B2B Commerce Matter?
The Changing Business Cycle
Business buyers are 57% through their purchase decision before they are willing to speak with a supplier sales person. Other research organizations, including Forrester and Sirius Decisions, have published similar research – with some experts suggesting that buyers could be as much as 90% through their decision process before contacting suppliers. Clearly, buyers are shifting online for research and buying.
A Changing Business Landscape
There is a long-term movement underway from purchasing departments and purchase orders to company-issued credit cards. The purchasing authority is being pushed lower into the organization, and decisions are increasingly left to down-the-line staffers who have been issued stored value or corporate cards with the freedom to go online and purchase products and supplies.
Increased Online Commerce Comfort
Widespread consumer adoption of online purchasing provides a level of comfort with process and demand for similar ease and simplicity in the corporate order process. If people are comfortable with an eCommerce model for their personal purchases, they are certainly going to be comfortable using B2B Commerce in the business world – and indeed frustrated if they cannot go online for their purchases.
Need for Cost Savings
Companies are looking to capture the cost savings from a reduction in printed catalogs, collateral and price sheets. This is related to the shifting buying cycle – as buyers delay their engagement with vendors, vendors have to put their product and service information out where the searching takes place. That means shifting from a personally delivered sales brochure or catalog to an online store with limited friction should a purchase decision be made while looking at that online store.
B2B firms have led the implementation of personalized marketing via automation tools such as Marketo or Eloqua. eCommerce platforms and tools are also incorporating a host of personalization capabilities and will find a ready market in the B2B space. Personalization is in line with typical B2B approaches on negotiated or differentiated pricing, more refined or advanced approaches on segmentation, and personalized content.
Increased Utilization of Mobile
The business workplace now reflects that workers are increasingly mobile – and that has led to the proliferation of firms that have adopted bring-your-own-device policies. That means there is growth in custom app development throughout the enterprise, including purchase capabilities via mobile apps.
How does KBMax help with B2B Commerce?
KBMax offers customers a robust enterprise Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solution with a powerful rules engine to satisfy the needs of the most complex of products. We then pair this with our 3D visualization technology that guides the configuration process where your users can dynamic update sizes, colors, components, and features – giving a real-time product tour in 3D.
Customers can embed our technology into their websites where external B2B customers or distributors can configure and purchase highly complex products for themselves. This configuration work done by the internal or external user can help to power the entire business: quotes, invoices, bills-of-material, cut sheets, assembly instructions, and more sent to downstream systems and teams to facilitate the entire product manufacturing life cycle.