Sam Bayer


State of B2B eCommerce, 2012

A few weeks back I wrote about how Forrester Research was predicting that B2B ecommerce revenues would be double those of B2C ecommerce in 2013 in the US.  Today I’m going to share why one of the industry’s stalwarts, hybris Software, thinks this is going to happen.

In their “2012 State of B2B ecommerce” Report, the 224 B2B procurement specialists that hybris Software polled, provided the following insights:

  • they prefer to order online versus using paper catalogs (duh)
  • they prefer suppliers that provide BOTH digital and traditional sales channels
  • they want their B2B ecommerce experience to be as easy and useful as their B2C experiences
  • mobile access is growing in importance, especially when researching purchases

These surveyed procurement specialists also offered their view on why they liked to use their suppliers B2B ecommerce channel.  They saw the following benefits:

  • 89% liked “the ability to do business with my supplier when it’s convenient for me”
  • 85% enjoyed the time savings that they realized
  • 81% valued the fact that they were “better informed about the status of my order”
  • 77% benefited from better information “about the products I am purchasing”
  • 72% profited from being “alerted to products I was not aware of”

So there you have it.  Another survey telling us that the “consumerization of B2B ecommerce” is the driving force in the growth of the industry.  Actually, I couldn’t agree more…and I couldn’t be happier.

When I reflect on the evolution of the B2B ecommerce industry, thanks to this consumerization phenomenon, I’m pretty certain that we are in the midst of its period of most aggressive growth…the B2B majority are finally being motivated to act.

I believe that the innovators in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s were motivated by improving internal efficiencies and differentiating themselves from their competition.  The next wave of B2B ecommerce adopters, the so called “early adopters” (up to 2010) were focused on keeping up with their competition.  We’re now crossing the chasm and the early and late majority (or 68% of the market potential) are now poised to jump on the bandwagon.  That’s mainly due to the fact that suppliers are now becoming more externally driven by the “consumerization” effect.  Their customers are demanding that they become easier to do business with which is coinciding nicely with the Great Recession’s imperative to lower operating costs.

I didn’t need Forrester Research or hybris to tell me that the market is growing really fast (we’re doubling every year).  But it’s nice to know that I’m not hallucinating and others see what I see.