B2B commerce is trending towards the B2C model, an Oracle report has found, and companies are looking to expand their online sales because customers' expectations have changed in the face of those consumer buying practices.
Thirty one percent of the 99 B2B e-Commerce professionals Oracle surveyed said direct sales were still the top revenue earners. However, 28% said they have more than half of their revenue coming from online. Eighty percent said they agreed that customer expectations had shifted because of B2C and retail practices, and this is leading the charge toward modifying businesses' online customer experiences.
Online Growth + Mobile
B2C practices that most influence B2B customers are personalization, online catalogs and SEO, the report found, and those practices are driving the growing importance of a powerful online presence. Because of the increasing importance of online business, 41% of respondents said they were slightly concerned with it conflicting with direct sales.
Those same respondents, however, said it was a necessary step, so that means at least they understand its importance. On the other hand, 35% of those who said they weren't concerned with so called channel conflict were deriving 50% or more of revenue from online. That could be due to the specific industries those companies are in or it could be they simply have been focusing more online, and therefore are less concerned with cannibalizing direct sales.
There is more evidence of this cautionary stance though. Eleven percent said channel conflict was a big concern, even though they consider it a necessary step. Furthermore, nearly 10% of respondents said they have no plans for mobile at this time, a number we found to be a bit higher than we might have thought.
B2B companies are worried most about pricing followed by product and channel complexity, an Oracle B2B Commerce report found.
Customer Experiences a Main Focus
While direct sales are still a large portion of many B2B companies, tying together a comprehensive online and mobile presence is growing in importance. As the above image shows, there are plenty of roadblocks on that path, a likely reason 42% of respondents said customer retention was a top metric for them to succeed. It should be a priority for any business, but for those who are still struggling with their online model to reel in new customers, keeping the current ones happy is an understandable focus.
In the 2012 version of this same report, companies reported they were investing in e-Commerce technology. In fact, over 80% said they were doing so, and now that focus has shifted slightly to include mobile and the most popular B2C tactics.