"At Forrester, we estimate that it will reach more than $1 trillion in the U.S. by 2020, double the size of B-to-C e-commerce," writes Forrester Analyst Susan Wu in her May 8 blog post.
With an $8.2 trillion U.S. B-to-B market at their fingertips, but "only a fraction of it ... purchased through pure e-commerce channels," as she writes in her March research abstract, Wu provides two bits of advice on May 8 that may help rectify that situation.
Wu suggests B-to-B marketers:
- Improve Automation. As B-to-Bers create efficiencies in the areas that eat up the largest share of wallet — the wholesale and distribution spends — they need to keep up with orders. That's where Wu says marketing automation needs to come to the rescue, handling details about storage, packaging, sorting and labeling.
- Make Use of the Growing Number of Marketplaces. "[B-to-B] retailers looking to provide a catered assortment of products turn to distributors and wholesalers to access products across multiple manufacturers and to save on bundling costs," Wu writes. "Distributors' and wholesalers' product and industry expertise is valuable to more specialized retailers without a vast reach, in terms of contacts." [Editor's note: In the B-to-C world, examples of marketplaces include Amazon and eBay.]
If Wu is right, maybe soon more B-to-B marketers will be taking the advice to pay attention to B-to-B buyer-specific advice. Dale Traxler, senior director of global alliances for Insite Software regularly tells B-to-B marketers to cater to business buyers' online customer experiences, the content they see, how to approach personalization, and how to integrate everything from enterprise resource platforms to freight systems.
For instance, in Traxler's October 2014 post in Practical Ecommerce, he writes about B-to-B buyer-targeted customer experiences.
"[Business buyers] frequently reorder the same items," he says. "They want access to order history, inventory availability and freight options. Rather than calling a sales representative for a large purchase, they want the ability to request a quote online. Businesses also want to accommodate their corporate buyers, who typically purchase products for many locations. Their pricing history and catalog should be readily available. Budgets and purchase history should be easily accessed.
What else is happening in the B-to-B marketing space?
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