Omnichannel commerce as driver of digitalization of commerce
New system landscapes and combined ecosystems bring integration challenges
Basingstoke, UK, 12 October, 2015 – Organizations are reaping significant benefits from their digital B2B commerce strategies, but the fast-paced success has come at a price. This is the key finding from the Intershop 2015 E-Commerce Report, launched today, which explores the major shift currently taking place in B2B commerce.
The survey of 400 European e-commerce decision makers, conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne, revealed that 97% of organizations have felt an impact due to changes in their B2B channels. Online-driven, omni-channel transformation is changing the way B2B brands connect with, engage and retain customers. On the other hand, digitalization demands the ongoing integration of supply chain and demand chain, leading to more cross-linked processes, companies and businesses.
Overall, respondents expect their organization’s digital platforms to grow by 13% in the next two years – a trend that is driving a parallel evolution of the e-commerce ecosystem from today’s web shop to a more complex and comprehensive customer engagement platform. Almost all (98%) respondents expect that their sector will benefit from the digitalization of business, and the same proportion (98%) see opportunities from the digitalization of business.
Yet, many are daunted by challenges as they build out the next phase of their B2B e-commerce business – especially when it comes to enabling an interconnected digital enterprise infrastructure. Most respondents (91%) expect to encounter challenges when growing their digital platform. The integration of IT systems into the B2B commerce landscape is viewed as a primary goal for the next three years. The vast majority of organizations (94%) still needs to integrate at least one IT system into their B2B commerce landscape, while they are also looking to incorporate an increasing number of business processes within their B2B e-commerce platform.
The research also showed that B2B e-commerce teams are under intense scrutiny, with 99% of those surveyed saying that their organization measures B2B commerce success – by measuring customer satisfaction (65%), revenue growth (64%), average order value (48%) and spend-per-customer (47%).
“While B2B e-commerce offers huge growth opportunities, it is very much a race of the fittest,“ commented Dr. Jochen Wiechen, CEO, Intershop. “For many organizations, delivering highly relevant and contextual experiences to their B2B buyers requires a radical rethink of their business structures, and a new dimension of automating processes along supply and demand chain. Those organizations able to re-engineer their offering fast and effectively will successfully deliver against today’s buyer expectations. Those that lag behind, however, risk losing out.”
Further key findings include:
Technical faults (47%), low initial digital B2B sales (44%) and issues integrating digital and offline channels (44%) were the challenges most likely to be expected when setting up digital B2B channels.
Almost all (98%) of respondents saw a greater need to collaborate internally and are working towards enabling a more integrated overall process. In particular, there is a focus on greater internal collaboration with sales executives (55%), e-commerce (52%) and key account management (48%).
Around four-in-ten respondents (39%) are looking to rethink the engagement process around customer-centricity – using pricing, data management and integration to drive personalization and customization to the next level.
A further 38% are looking to go beyond B2C best practices to deliver faster and improved customer services, introduce new business models that generate new revenue services, and enable faster and improved product development cycles.
Cloud based services (62%), e-commerce platforms (48%) and mobile applications (47%) were top investment priorities.
“It is great to see how many of the organizations we surveyed have embraced digital enablement. This capability is not only driving sales, but also helping them to enhance the good old fashioned face-to-face conversations that take place between key account managers and buyers and influencers,“ said Dr. Jochen Wiechen. “On the other hand, digitalization is clearly rewriting the rules of competition. This means organizations are facing ever greater pressure to integrate their e-commerce operations directly into the business infrastructure. If they want to compete successfully, they will need to achieve true digital transformation.”