B2B marketplace: Increasing investments in omni-channel commerce


lightwellomnichannelcommerce-2Study shows B2B suppliers are investing more in omni-channel commerce

According to the recent Forrester report “Building the B2B Omni-Channel Commerce Platform of the Future,” investments in omni-channel e-commerce solutions by B2B manufacturers have considerably risen recently.

Accenture and Forrester Consulting, which carried out the research, noted that more than half - 52 percent - of enterprise buyers plan to make many of their purchases through online platforms in the next three years. What's more is that currently, 49 percent of B2B buyers prefer to carry out their enterprise transactions online. In response to this shift toward online platforms, 83 percent of B2B retailers are upgrading and building out their omni-channel e-commerce resources, or have plans to do so within the next six months.

According to the report, there are several features buyers expect when connecting with their B2B retailers through an e-commerce platform, including:

  • Enhanced search functionality (60 percent)
  • Available reviews and ratings of products (58 percent)
  • Customized recommendations (50 percent)
  • The ability to integrate solutions with existing back-end systems (42 percent)

Researchers also found there are certain challenges B2B sellers must address when boosting their e-commerce and omni-channel presence. These include mitigating the complexities of integrating with back-end systems as well as difficulties associated with sharing consumer data. In addition, B2B retailers should also consider the limits they may face when dealing with distribution partners and wholesale customers, and ensure there are no conflicts between channel organizations.

Benefits of omni-channel e-commerce

While this type of strategy does come with its share of challenges, there are also considerable benefits to leveraging omni-channel e-commerce in the B2B space. According to Crowd Hub contributor Paul Rappa, these include:
  • Boosted revenues: With an effective omni-channel e-commerce presence, customers are able to make purchases at any time that is convenient for them. Even clients based in other countries can carry out transactions no matter what hours they keep. This provides more opportunities for business and results in considerably boosted revenues.

    "By doing B2B transactions over the Internet, you will increase your companies' revenue by allowing 24/7 online ordering," Rappa wrote. "By allowing for companies to make transactions all of the time, the time zone they are in becomes irrelevant."
  • Increased brand awareness: Rappa noted that in the current corporate environment, 97 percent of B2B retailers provide their services through online platforms. When manufacturers have an omni-channel e-commerce footprint, they are able to boost their brand awareness and expand their online presence.
  • Improved business relationships: A main goal for nearly any company is to ensure that its clients are satisfied with the level of services they are receiving. An omni-channel e-commerce approach to B2B purchasing helps guarantee that clients always have resources available and can remain in constant contact with their retailer.

    "Although this does not require face-to-face interaction, it does allow for businesses to get more familiar with each other," Rappa pointed out. "When businesses are closely working together, face-to-face interaction will be inevitable."

An omni-channel e-commerce approach offers a range of advantages, not only for manufacturers, but for their customers as well. An effective online presence is more important than ever, and an omni-channel strategy can help B2B retailers strengthen their Web-based footprint. However, the right software is needed in order to make this happen. Solutions like NetSuite SuiteCommerce and NetSuite Order Management are key for omni-channel commerce, and are especially effective when supported by B2B integration systems

Learn more about how growing businesses are supporting omnichannel commerce with affordable cloud platforms: