B2B eCommerce is no longer new. Most B2B enterprises have been slowly creeping onto the digital bandwagon over the past couple of years. Simple web stores have been built. A digital presence has been staked in the ground.
Much of this growth has come thanks to expectations set by companies like Wayfair, Amazon and other major B2C eCommerce retailers who have become household names, particularly as free and expedited shipping, in-store and curb-side pick-up, and loyalty programs become the expectation. Online shopping has become the norm. In fact, according to the National Retailer Federation’s Annual Holiday Consumer Survey, consumers planned to split their 2017 holiday shopping amongst online sites, department stores and small businesses, but online sites were ranked the most popular option (59% of survey respondents ranked it first), due to the flexible shipping and delivery options that B2C shopping brings.
What people don’t know, is that the B2B eCommerce market is far bigger than the B2C eCommerce market. In fact, US B2B eCommerce is estimated to be a 780 billion dollar market compared to the 350 billion dollar B2C market, and “the number 20 B2B eCommerce company in the US would be the number 5 B2C eCommerce company in terms of online revenue” (Trellis.com).
With such strong market growth expectations, businesses are shifting focus on honing their digital strategies to keep up with competition and the demands of their buyers. Conversations around upgrades and customizations and integrations are more commonplace than the “let’s just get started” conversations we were having a few years ago. According to The Forrester Wave B2B eCommerce Suites for MidSize Organizations, Q3 2017, manufacturers and distributors are upgrading and replatforming their current commerce infrastructure “to capture and – very importantly – retain demanding, channel-agnostic customers” .
While companies have always looked to commerce suite vendors to support basic capabilities like running online catalogs, shopping carts and promotions, they now expect highly customized seamless purchase journeys, innovative fulfillment options, assisted sales alternatives, integrated microservices, PIM systems, unique corporate account ordering experiences, and much more.
These new demands are driving the need for enterprises to move towards alternatives like headless eCommerce platforms which can support fast, cost-effective, custom B2B eCommerce applications that go beyond the shopping cart.
To read more about the 5 B2B eCommerce trends made possible by headless eCommerce platforms, download our 2018 eCommerce Predictions eBook.