Some of the world’s largest retailers like Walmart and Amazon have launched their own B2B eCommerce operations in an unsurprising move to enter the digital age of procurement. But for smaller suppliers, establishing an online store for their corporate buyers can be difficult and costly.
Intershop, however, announced Tuesday (May 12) the release of a new Commerce Suite Instant tool that makes launching B2B eCommerce operations affordable. The solution focuses on U.K. small businesses, the company said, through its “shop in a box” style of service. According to Intershop, its new tool offers customizable promotional tools, product and order management, and online payment support to provide a B2C-like online shopping experience.
But the service also includes tools specific to the B2B world. For example, Commerce Suite offers automated order approval services, a built-in quote management tool, and mechanisms for simplified repeat oders.
“For B2B organizations, self-service eCommerce offers a huge opportunity to cut the cost of serving customers – by as much as 90 percent according to Forrester,” said Intershop Managing Director U.K. & Ireland Matthew Diss, citing Forrester research that found 56 percent of B2B executives agreeing that they have business customers that can only be profitable if business is done online. “That’s why we have put together our Instant solution. It can help B2B organizations have a fully featured, powerful eCommerce platform up and running in less than three months.”
Innovators have largely focused their development efforts on introducing the B2C experience to B2B online shopping so suppliers can gain their share of what is expected to be a $6.7 trillion market by 2020. But the B2B world faces challenges unique from B2C commerce.
A recent report by the U.K.’s eCommerce Expo, which surveyed several experts in the industry, concluded that while suppliers largely have the digital infrastructure needed to support online purchases, they need to change their mindset to support a B2C experience. Even still, the research found, businesses must balance robust customer experience with the complicated process of B2B purchasing, often larger-scale and more customized than B2C transactions.