There’s a provocative question. Does it happen?
Could it happen?
Absolutely! We see it all the time among Corevist clients, but it was validating to see McKinsey & Co. reporting this as well. In a recent survey of 600 B2B decision-makers, McKinsey uncovered this and several other startling facts.
Here are 3 key points from McKinsey’s survey (plus our take on each one).
42% of B2B buyers are willing to place $50k+ web orders (and 20% will do $500k)
These stats may surprise you. B2B eCommerce is for small transactions, right? Dealers and distributors will never place giant orders with a single click—will they?
McKinsey’s data challenges this assumption, and Corevist’s data does the same. (More on that in a moment.)
While $50k might seem like a huge B2B eCommerce order, it’s not even the upper threshold of the norm. McKinsey also found that 20% of respondents were willing to complete transactions of $500k – $1M online.
This is no surprise to us. Corevist clients experience this willingness every day. Here are the 4 biggest orders our clients processed through Corevist B2B portals in the last 30 days.
$990k – Leading chemical manufacturer
- Largest line item: $830k
- 10 line items
- 764 units total
$600k – Leading CPG manufacturer
- Largest line item: $300k
- 9 line items
- 7,824 units total
$540k – Leading industrial equipment manufacturer
- Largest line item: $400k
- 3 line items
- 1,920 units total
$400k – Leading chemical manufacturer
- Largest line item: $380k
- 3 line items
- 124 units
Those are just the top 4 orders in the last month.
We could go on, but you get the point. 😊 Your dealers and distributors are ready to buy online, and they’re ready to save you money in the order acceptance process. Just think about the cost of order entry for the above transactions in a phone, fax, email, or EDI scenario. With all those SKUs, quantities, and pricing rules, you’re looking at back-and-forth communication with customer service reps (plus manual order entry). Even with EDI, you’ve got a high potential for order errors that will need human intervention.
Now imagine moving those big transactions online. Imagine posting those sales hands-free—through a 100% self-service channel that always shows real-time inventory and accurate pricing (and won’t accept orders with errors).
Some companies will read these stats and think, that’s great, but I can’t imagine those eCommerce numbers in our industry.
Others will think, we still don’t have to launch B2B eCommerce now.
We caution anyone who takes that view because…
65% of B2B companies across numerous industries now offer eCommerce
McKinsey’s finding was no surprise to us. While the world was already shifting to digital before COVID, the pandemic threw that shift into overdrive. A digital channel is now the standard for manufacturers selling to dealers and distributors.
But what is B2B eCommerce, anyway? Is it Amazon Business? Is it a branded, login-protected portal for known customers? Does it have to have product images?
There’s no right answer that fits every company.
In fact, your version of B2B eCommerce doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. McKinsey defines B2B eCommerce as “fully executing a sales transaction online.” For manufacturers, there’s plenty of opportunity to find out what your customers actually need in B2B eCommerce and craft a great experience around those requirements.
Maybe your dealers and distributors need an Amazon-style catalog with tons of images and product content.
Or maybe they don’t.
Maybe you need to sell on Amazon Business—or maybe that’s a strategic liability, since you lose control of the transaction and the customer relationship.
Perhaps your dealers and distributors just want to punch in orders by SKU in a branded B2B portal. Or maybe they want to build an order once, save it, and reorder it every month with a few tweaks. (Remember those giant stock orders we shared above.)
Some manufacturers hesitate with B2B eCommerce because they can’t imagine online ordering in any form. But even if you don’t want to move order placement to the web, your customers still need a portal for post-order care. Digital interaction here is far better than the alternative (i.e. phone, fax, and email for post-order inquiries). Your dealers and distributors will love you for offering order tracking, account history, and invoice payments in a B2B portal. And with a solution like Corevist, you can launch a portal for post-order care and grow with online ordering when you’re ready.
Only 40% of companies have created eCommerce that’s more appealing than offline channels
McKinsey asked respondents to evaluate their eCommerce offering across 4 areas—product and service availability, warranties, shipping and delivery options, and personalized recommendations. Only 40% of companies rated their overall eCommerce experience as more appealing than alternative channels.
This stat is a little saddening. It shows how difficult B2B eCommerce is for many organizations. Typically, those challenges arise when the company bites off more B2B eCommerce than they can chew. Big bang projects, misaligned vendors, ballooning cost and scope creep—B2B eCommerce is a nightmare for many manufacturers.
But it shouldn’t be.
And this is where the opportunity lies.
Corevist launches in 30 days. Our prebuilt SAP ERP integration supports standard SAP business configurations, and our template-based UI takes out the cost and ambiguity of custom projects. You can start with post-order care functionality like self-service lookups for orders, shipments, and invoices. When you’re ready, you can grow with online ordering—then scale up with product images, rich content, and additional integrations.
Whatever your path in B2B eCommerce, the point is to get started. Manufacturers can’t afford to wait much longer.