As a regular online shopper, when we think about Online Shopping or eCommerce, we mostly picture about B2C eCommerce like Amazon. But, a huge part of the Online eCommerce is B2B eCommerce. According to Forrester Research, in 2014 the B2B sale in US was $692 billion and that was a very conservative number. This year the prediction is that, it will reach $780 billion and the sale will reach more than a trillion dollar by 2020.
So, what is the role that Content Management System like Sitecore can play to influence the sales of a B2B eCommerce company. Both B2B and B2C eCommerce need some sort of CMS for managing the content, media or digital assets etc. for the eCommerce Site. Those are mostly similar in functionalities. The real difference how the Digital Marketing or in case of Sitecore, how the Experience Platform will be used to drive the B2B sales. But, before diving into that discussion, let’s look at what B2B businesses think about the importance and effectiveness of Content Management System. Below is a survey result I picked up from a Salesforce blog.
As per that survey, Marketing Analytics (Experience Analytics in Sitecore), Content Management (Sitecore), Marketing Automation (Engagement Planning in Sitecore) and Predictive Intelligence (Personalization in Sitecore) are very critical and effective. The good thing is Sitecore is one of the Market Leaders on those areas and Sitecore is capable of putting B2B business in advantageous position if used effectively.
For last few years, I am working mainly in the area of integrating eCommerce with Sitecore and spent lots of time understanding B2B clients’ business and requirements. The B2B commerce is different and most important difference is that, a Business buys products from B2B site for reselling or running it’s business. Where as in B2C an individual buys products for his/her use. In both cases, a user buys products, but in B2B, user buys it for his/her company. That’s why in B2B the buying is less impulsive and that’s make a huge difference on how the Perosonalization features should be used. For example, based on what a B2B user has bought or looked at in the past, a Quick List can be recommended instead of Product. Quick List is a list of Products that can be added in the Cart quickly from the list. It’s effective because it speeds up the buying process for the customer.
Lots of time the B2B user is a Customer Service Representative (CSR) and buys products for the Customers he/she is assigned to serve. A CSR not only buys products for the customer, they also educate them, fill up their questions and create a long term relationship with them. The B2B site can be and should personalized for the CSRs. For example, it will be helpful for CSRs if they can quickly find the documentation of the products. Based on what customer he/she is helping at that time and customer’s past buying data, documents, articles etc. can be made available to CSRs in the personalized website. The CSRs are knowledgeable person and they usually use Quick Order tools to buy products. The Quick Order Tool should be made more accessible to CSRs than regular user. These are just few examples of how personalization can be achieved in B2B site.
More and more B2B businesses are entering in the digital market. The B2B businesses are going from printed catalog to EMail Marketing. Most of ours clients see the power Personalized EMail Marketing and return of investing on Intelligent Targeted Marketing campaign using software like Sitecore. The user base is changing too. More and more people from young generation are entering in the B2B space. On their personal time they are online shopper and they expect similar experience from B2B business too. B2B business must change to satisfy this generation.
The software like Sitecore will make huge impact on the B2B market in the coming years because of its capability to make the business reach to more customers, using less resources and less time. Furthermore it will make shopping experience intriguing and satisfying for the user and thus it will attract more customers. I am looking forward to integrating more and more B2B business to Sitecore.