E-commerce
B2B becoming more complex, but also more lucrative

For many companies, the aim of providing their B2B partners with a relevant offering requires a change in business structures and the automation of the entire value-creation chain. Afterwards, nonetheless, these organisations benefit significantly from their strategies in B2B retail.

According to the recent E-Commerce Report 2015 from Intershop Communications AG, the roughly 400 respondents expect that the digital platforms in their organisation will grow by 13% over the next two years. Behind this lies a development from the previous online shop through to a complex and extensive platform for customer retention.

The majority of respondents (91%) also expect to encounter difficulties when developing these digital platforms. Integrating IT systems into B2B commerce is seen as one of the most important aims for the next three years. Almost all organisations (94%) must still integrate at least one IT system while simultaneously incorporating a growing number of business processes.

Almost all respondents state that their organisations measure success within B2B commerce based on customer satisfaction (65%), turnover growth (64%), average order volume (48%) and expenditure per customer (47%). Yet there are also challenges: technical deficits (47%), low initial turnover in the digital B2B business (44%) and problems in integrating digital and offline channels (44%) hamper the development of digital B2B channels. A particular focus lies on stronger internal collaboration with sales managers (55%), the e-commerce field (52%) and key account management (48%).

Around four out of ten respondents (39%) will still rethink the retention process relating to customer orientation in order to take personalisation, customer-specific addressing across price strategies and data management to the next level. Outsourced IT services (62%), e-commerce platforms (48%) and mobile applications (47%) are among the top investments.

Meanwhile, digitalisation also establishes completely new competition rules. For instance, IT organisations are subject to ever greater pressure to incorporate e-commerce directly into the IT infrastructure. If they want to remain competitive, however, they must undergo such transformations.

For the E-Commerce Report 2015, Intershop commissioned the British market research institution Vanson Bourne to survey 400 B2B decision-makers and e-commerce managers from the United Kingdom, USA, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries. The B2B organisations achieved online sales of more than five million euros each. The report is available to download free of charge following registration. (Source: Intershop/bs)