It’s no secret that B2B eCommerce was growing before COVID, and that the pandemic accelerated that trend. But just how much is it growing?
DigitalCommerce360 reports that manufacturers grew their B2B eCommerce revenue 18.4% in 2021, to $543.25 billion, while 2020 saw revenues of $458.70 billion.
That number is incredible—but not too surprising for us at Corevist. In fact, our clients grew B2B eCommerce revenue 27.2% in 2021, to a total of $1.59 billion. That’s in comparison to $1.25 billion in 2020.
So how do our clients grow, on average, faster than the industry? What sets them apart?
It all comes down to their priorities. Here’s what we see.
Our clients won’t build a giant product catalog if they don’t need it
In some circles, “B2B eCommerce” refers exclusively to B2C-style solutions that are adapted to B2B (sometimes with questionable success). These solutions typically run on platforms that began as B2C, which means a beautiful product catalog is a core part of the package.
But not every manufacturer needs (or even wants) that B2C-lookalike solution. In fact, some organizations can’t imagine building out a product catalog, whether now or in the future. This could be for a variety of reasons:
- Product data isn’t clean (and fixing it is a huge project)
- Product images don’t exist
- A catalog is simply the wrong way to present the product line
- Customers prefer to order by SKU, and a catalog will just annoy them
Granted, some Corevist clients absolutely need a catalog—and the Corevist Platform delivers with rich product content, intelligent search, configurable products, and more. But for those who don’t need a catalog, skipping the expense and complexity empowers them to launch and start seeing ROI faster from customer self-service.
Other organizations need a catalog, but they can’t imagine starting there because they don’t have their ducks in a row. In these cases, Corevist empowers them to launch without a catalog, start seeing ROI, and then gather internal momentum to launch the catalog.
Naturally, the Corevist Platform supports all possible paths—catalog never, catalog later, or catalog now.
Our clients love starting with order tracking and invoices
For some organizations, even online ordering is hard to imagine. It’s too much, either now, or in the future. The problem they need to solve today is the burden on their customer service reps.
In other words, they need a self-service portal where customers can track orders and invoices on any device.
Is that B2B eCommerce?
Technically, no. Even if you can find a B2B eCommerce platform that supports this (with real-time SAP integration), it will probably bundle this function with product catalogs and online ordering.
But here’s the thing. On the right platform, starting with customer self-service paves the way for iterative transformation. You can launch a B2B portal for orders and invoices, which helps customers (and your organization) get comfortable with digital processes and self-service. Cost-savings from this initiative can make your organization more efficient, or you can turn those savings into funding for the next rollout—one in which you do add online ordering (and maybe a product catalog).
At this point, you’ve taken an agile, low-risk path from analog customer interaction to B2B eCommerce. This is a huge reason why our clients perform so well in digital business. It’s a journey that the Corevist Platform supports right out of the box.
Learn more here: How Carey L. Delighted Customers And Gave Reps A Lighter Load.
Our clients think carefully about gigantic projects
Don’t get us wrong—where large projects are justified, they’re justified.
For example, upgrading to S/4HANA.
But our clients won’t sign off on projects that are bigger than they should be. That’s especially true when it comes to B2B eCommerce.
Some organizations have been burned before. We’ve heard far too many stories of companies that bought a huge B2B eCommerce package but couldn’t get it off the ground. They were promised a comprehensive SAP integration, but the vendor (or coalition of vendors) just couldn’t figure it out. Best case, millions of dollars later, they got a beautiful B2B eCommerce solution that couldn’t pass a single byte to SAP.
Worst case, they got nothing.
Bigness isn’t justified in these cases–particularly when it’s so easy to get started with Corevist, which includes that SAP integration right out of the box.
Our clients believe SAP should remain the system of record
Arguably, one challenge surpasses all others in B2B eCommerce.
It’s the question of which system will “own” your business data.
Most B2B eCommerce platforms were designed to stand alone. That means they’re built to act as the system of record for products, customers, and transactions.
This creates a challenge for organizations that run on SAP. Your ERP is already the system of record—for everything. Yes, you can install a third-party connector to move data back and forth between SAP and eCommerce. But this creates additional IT challenges, as you have to keep all three systems (eCommerce, connector, and SAP) working smoothly together.
This architecture gets incredibly complex and expensive. In essence, it breaks up your ERP’s monopoly on being the system of record.
Our clients believe that’s a dangerous road. It leads to duplicate data, synchronization problems, and reduced certainty about the “one true truth” for business data.
If you’ve already invested in SAP ERP as the system of record, you should keep it that way. There’s no reason to introduce new risks to data integrity.
That’s why the Corevist Platform doesn’t store any data. Rather, it reads and writes to your SAP system in real time. No duplication, no synchronization—and no middleware.
Our clients want to save their IT teams from unnecessary headaches
For organizations of a certain size, it’s no big deal to add more IT resources.
Life is different for our clients. They aren’t going to hire more IT staff, and the team they have is already working overtime just to keep the lights on. Throw in a looming upgrade to S/4HANA, and IT can’t take on any additional projects.
This gets tough when the business needs a B2B portal or eCommerce solution.
Our clients beat this challenge with managed, integrated solutions. They don’t have to allocate additional IT resources because Corevist reuses their business data and logic from SAP. In fact, 1/3 of our clients have no full-time staff dedicated to supporting their Corevist solution.
In a tough competitive environment, that’s a huge advantage that helps our clients grow revenue without increasing costs.