Lessons Learned: What B2C eCommerce Can Teach B2B

In our new report, B2B eCommerce: Going from Surviving to Thriving By Adopting Proven B2C Principles, we assess the current state of B2B eCommerce, what impact B2C has had on customers’ expectations for B2B eCommerce, and how B2B eCommerce professionals are leveraging lessons learned from B2C to drive more business online. 

We conclude that B2B eCommerce enterprises have something to learn from their more experienced B2C brethren who have set a standard for customer expectations and established a series of eCommerce best practices. A few key findings:   

  • B2B eCommerce is still in its infancy but making impressive gains. In 2009, the latest year for which data was available, the US Census Bureau reported that US B2B eCommerce (net of EDI) totaled $352 billion. By comparison, that’s over twice the size of the $145B market for US B2C eCommerce. Further, a growing number of companies now report that B2B eCommerce will represent nearly 50% of their total sales within a few short years.    
  • Consumerization is driving the B2B eCommerce experience.  All B2B customers are also B2C consumers. And like it or not, they’re comparing their B2B eCommerce experiences with gold-standard B2C eCommerce experiences from Amazon and others. And like B2C consumers these days, B2B customers demand products faster, less expensively, and more conveniently than ever before.
  • To achieve a breakthrough, B2B must adopt proven B2C principles. As we identify in the report, early winners in the B2B eCommerce space have successfully incorporated B2C-like personalization, recommendation, interactivity, search, self-help, and ratings/reviews features and functions into their B2B eCommerce shopping experiences. 

For other key findings and to read more about how the B2B eCommerce is evolving and maturing, you can download the full report here.