You are likely already aware at the speed at which the B2B e-commerce market is growing. While the B2C market is expected to be about $523 billion annually by 2020, the B2B market in the US is expected to be nearly double that at $1.1 trillion, according to the Forrester/B2BecNews Q1 2017 B2B Buy-Side Online Survey.
Along with this rapid growth, you have also likely heard about the many disruptors in the B2B market.
Disintermediation of supply chains is resulting in competition between former partners, as new partnerships form. Enterprises practicing ”business as usual” may find themselves with slimmer margins or being squeezed out of the channel altogether. Amazon Business is growing at 20% per month and already has more than 30,000 vendors signed on. With all these choices and the ability to rapidly price shop, brand loyalty is also taking a nose-dive.
On top of all of these changes, B2B buyers are behaving differently from how they used to. They are, in fact, acting more like B2C shoppers, which is who they are when they aren’t at work. Sixty-seven percent of ‘Millennial generation’ B2B buyers prefer to shop online, compared with 51% overall. Ninety-two percent of US buyers have used Amazon to research a work-oriented purchase and 74% confirm that buying online is more convenient that buying from a sales rep.
The takeaway is simple: B2B buyers now expect a rich e-commerce experience, each and every time.
Get Ahead with the Best Product Information
It is no surprise that B2B buyers begin their product search on Google or, increasingly, on Amazon. What may surprise you is where they complete their search and where they ultimately buy. You got it—it is where they find the best product information. Great product information is good for your top and bottom line!
So, What’s Next?
If you would like to continue delving into these data and insights, please join us to continue the discussion on July 20 at 1 PM CDT. Together with our partner, DATAgility, we are hosting a webinar to talk about:
Register now for the webinar, Why Manufacturers Need PIM in Their E-commerce Stack on July 20, 2017 at 1 PM CDT, hosted by DATAgility and inRiver. Hear more aboutthe changes in the B2B online marketplace and how you can ensure that you are doing everything you can to give your customers the best digital experience possible.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver
In the world of digital commerce, “customer experience” has become the buzz word, or buzz phrase, of the day. Digital commerce enterprises—whether B2B or B2C—want to provide their customers with the best possible online buying experience.
By 2020, companies expect that customer experience will be more important than price and product offerings as the key method of differentiating their brand. This is not really all that surprising, considering that buyers have shown that they will pay a premium for convenience and that they can be brand agnostic if they find the right product.
Getting buyers to find your product quickly through compelling product content and targeted personalization are the keys to e-commerce success. In fact, one study revealed that 70% of respondents indicated that customer identification or personalization of customer experience is a leading priority for 2017.
The question is: How do you create a great customer experience?
inRiver has teamed up with two of our most valuable and most experienced partners to try to answer that question. We are collaborating with Episerver and Rightpoint on the strategies and tactics that can help you provide a stellar customer experience each and every time. Join us on Thursday, April 20, 2017 for a complimentary webinar where we introduce these concepts.
At this online event, we will cover a number of topics, such as:
In addition, we will discuss how to create great product content to use in your personalization efforts. Last, we will highlight some great real-world examples that show how your B2B and B2C peers are creating great customer experiences.
You know that customer experience is one goal of your e-commerce initiatives. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn more about the tools and strategies to meet your e-commerce goals.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc
inRiver’s upcoming PIMpoint Summit 2017 is heavily focused on micro-moments, those intent-driven moments in a buyer’s journey when they are deciding where to go, what to do, how to do something, or what to buy.
The challenge is determining how to make all your best and most appropriate product content available to the buyer in those micro-moments - when they need it. Not only does this take skilled marketers who acutely understand the individual buyer journey, but also requires tools and processes that can support what can be a Herculean effort to address micro-moments.
Manufacturers and distributors may, in some cases, be one step removed from the micro-moments that exist in the retail environment. However, an increasing number of B2B purchases are also being transacted digitally, or, at the very least, being researched in real-time online. It is also important to note that many of today’s Millennial-aged business buyers did not grow up reading catalogs. Making up as much as half the number of B2B buyers, this generation of businesspeople are very comfortable with both researching and buying online.
Thus, we are now in the age of the customer, when empowered buyers can quickly compare product options and make purchases in a single click. They may only contact you when they need to, such as when product information and pricing is only available to the sales rep or when they have a problem or complaint. You need to make the access to information and buying options easy; if you don’t, your competitors will.
The Content Store is an functional application within inRiver PIM. Many types of content can be stored in inRiver’s content store, including images, multi-media files, specification documents, user manuals, product descriptions, and safety information. All these content types are available in a simple-to-use portal.
For those of you who are manufacturers, the Content Store allows your distributors to access and download product information. For wholesale distributors that sell to retail stores, dealers, or contractors, you can provide your customers with a simple way of accessing product information. This is a method that avoids the exchange of emails, files, and spreadsheets. Essentially, the content store within inRiver PIM is a repository for content and product information. You no longer need to email, send spreadsheets or marked up PDF or Word documents. You can simply send your partners, dealers, customers, and internal stakeholders to the Content Store for whatever information they need.
inRiver PIM is a powerful, easy-to-use solution that encompasses and enables the four key stages of the PIM process - supply, enrich, plan, and publish.
The Content Store is the heart of the inRiver PIM organism - a virtual one-stop shop of product information that users can access for all of their product information needs. Instead of descending into spreadsheet Hades or searching for the latest version of product data within the organization’s “content spaghetti,” users can simply add needed content to a shopping cart for download or create assortments online for distribution internally or externally. In addition, multiple Content Stores can be created based on user need. For example, many distributors have set up content stores for their customer-facing sales teams to streamline content and facilitate the sales process. Simple administration functionality allows for the management of users and granting of user permissions. In addition, the inRiver PIM Content Store provides a single-click catalog creation feature for easy publishing - to multiple channels - of customized assortments, looks, or product bundles in PDF format.
If this concept intrigues you, we invite you to learn more. We recently recorded a brief 20-minute webinar and demo that describes the Content Store in more detail and provides an in-depth look into the functionality. Designed specifically for B2B companies who aspire to sell online, the demo includes real-world data and examples.
It is time to be resurrected from an eternity spent in spreadsheet purgatory. Take a look at inRiver PIM’s Content Store! Watch the Webinar On-Demand!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc