Lessons learned from B2C tactics

June 29, 2012 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce
Lessons learned from B2C tactics

Anyone who’s tried their hand at teaching has quickly learned that there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. No matter the age group or grade level, there’s a veteran teacher somewhere nearby who has perfected the best approach to keeping their students calm, collected and engaged. So when a new teacher is in doubt, it’s probably best to just beg, borrow and steal from education's long-time, sure-fire methods.

So is definitely the case when B2B organizations go to market. Instead of going at it blind, B2B marketers can learn a thing or two from B2C businesses and their tried-and-true marketing methods. And to prove that point, Forrester Research, a research veteran itself, conducted and published its study “B2B eCommerce: Going from Surviving to Thriving By Adopting Proven B2C Principles.”

In it, Forrester assessed the B2B eCommerce landscape and took a close look at how the B2C model has given it shape. What came of Forrester’s research is essentially that B2B marketers still have some learning to do. Here are a few takeaways to support that point:

"B2B eCommerce is still in its infancy but making impressive gains," Forrester explains. "In 2009, the latest year for which data was available, the US Census Bureau reported that US B2B eCommerce (net of EDI) totaled $352 billion. By comparison, that’s over twice the size of the $145B market for US B2C eCommerce. Further, a growing number of companies now report that B2B eCommerce will represent nearly 50% of their total sales within a few short years.

"Consumerization is driving the B2B eCommerce experience," the editors at Forrester continued. "All B2B customers are also B2C consumers. And like it or not, they’re comparing their B2B eCommerce experiences with gold-standard B2C eCommerce experiences from Amazon and others. And like B2C consumers these days, B2B customers demand products faster, less expensively, and more conveniently than ever before.

To achieve a breakthrough, B2B must adopt proven B2C principles. As identified in the Forrester report, early winners in the B2B eCommerce space have successfully incorporated B2C-like personalization, recommendation, interactivity, search, self-help, and ratings/reviews features and functions into their B2B eCommerce shopping experiences.

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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.