B2B E-Commerce – May the Force Be With You!

When B2B buyers placed orders through an e-commerce portal, 44% of suppliers claimed the average order value increased compared to orders placed through more traditional channels, such as in person or via phone or fax, Forrester Research Inc. highlighted in a recent study.

Forrester’s survey, based on an online poll of 450 B2B e-commerce professionals from the United States, Europe, and Asia, also found that 52% of respondents said the costs for providing customer support decreased when customers who placed orders through an e-commerce portal, compared with support costs for customers who placed orders outside of the portal.

In addition, 56% of respondents said they had customers that they could handle profitably only if the customers placed their own orders online without assistance from sales reps.

Another study, based on an online survey of 400 B2B companies in the United States and Europe last April and May, found that 49% of respondents said they expected to improve their financial performance by moving their business customers to an online buying system. In addition, 44% of respondents said they expected customers who used their e-commerce portals would have larger average order sizes than when they shop offline, and 43% said e-commerce would lead to a higher percentage of returning customers. This study was conducted by technology research firm Vanson Bourne.

The Intershop study found that 92% of respondents said they conduct some B2B sales online, and the remaining 8% had plans to sell online. In addition, 23% of respondents said they expected to increase their amount of online B2B sales by 40% or more over the next 12 months.

Statistics like these clearly demonstrate B2B e-commerce is gaining momentum quickly and has become a force too large and strong for businesses to ignore if they expect to compete or survive in the digital age. Smart companies will harness this force, and use it to their business advantage. May the force be with you!

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