RESEARCH NEWS: B2B ecommerce growing but brands still face challenges

B2B ecommerce is undergoing a radical transformation, but brands still face many challenges, according to the 2013 Ecommerce Report by Intershop.

Ninety-two per cent of the 400 B2B brands surveyed already sell online, and the remaining eight per cent have plans to. Almost one quarter of these organisations (23 per cent) are planning to increase the number of products they sell online by a further 40 per cent.

However, 96 per cent of these brands are facing challenges. Half find it difficult to provide intuitive and user-friendly interfaces for multiple touch points such as B2B online stores and mobile apps. While 48 per cent say it is difficult to manage complex organisational structures such as different user roles, multiple business models, multiple commerce touch points and multiple data domains.

Despite these challenges, almost half (49 per cent) agreed bringing business buyers from offline to online could result in a higher overall bottom line. Some 44 per cent expected higher average basket values, and 43 per cent said bringing buyers online could result in more return customers and higher brand loyalty. 

When it comes to the features their customers expect, intuitive search and navigation are understood to be important by more than three quarters (77 per cent) of B2B organisations, followed by online order approval (75 per cent), self-service account management (74 per cent), category and product pages (73 per cent) and online store analytics (72 per cent).

Jochen Moll, spokesman of the board of management at intershop says: "Where there is complexity, there is also opportunity. Organisations that can develop their B2B commerce channels now and offer a consumer-like approach will be well placed to capture market share. They will need to understand how to manage the complexities around their new channels, but the effort will pay off.”