Mobile shifts B2B commerce to online

Many brands run push-programs that deliver content to target audiences. ‘Freemium’ content, from offerings of webinars, ebooks, white-papers, case studies, blog entries, research papers, or videos arrives in buyers inbox daily. However, do customers actually spend the time to read the content in these email campaigns?

The B2B sales process is traditionally long and used to involve significant face-time with sales representatives, with a few rounds of on-location meetings and where a successful close-of-sale that involved a hand-shake. Today, in B2B markets, buyers explore products and services online and go through over 55% of the purchasing activity before ever engaging with the brand’s reps. 92% of B2B companies utilize Email marketing to promote online sales. According to Accenture Digital’s recent study, 86% of B2B companies state that they offer eCommerce capabilities on their websites and 59% report that one-third of their customers purchase products and services online. The study is titled ‘Channel Shift: Measuring B2B Efforts to Shift Customer Online’ and it offers insights into successful B2B online purchasing efforts in the U.S.

Accenture found that 55% of B2B companies, whom had five or more years of investment in eCommerce systems, reported that more than half of their customers complete the procurement cycle online. When it comes to revenues, the B2B respondents stated that online sales were important contributors to the bottom line, as follows:
– 27% reported that customers purchases online were 11% to 35% of their total company revenue.
– 50% reported that sales were 10% or less of total revenue.

Mobile commerce (mCommerce) has become a major productivity and convenience platform for consumers and B2B buyers alike. Mobile devices have reshaped people’s preference to consume products and services online, carrying several activities such as research, browsing, email, social media, communication, and more. In fact, B2B procurement staff don’t just use mobile when they are out of the office, but utilize their smartphones in the initial phases of research and comparison of offerings, and also throughout the entire purchasing cycle. This shift emphasizes the importance of creating meaningful content that provides rich mobile experiences.

In a ‘crowded’ digital world, brands are challenged with providing content that is valuable, highly relevant and engaging. Dense or ‘heavy’ content has shown to deflect customer interest, where short and simple content that is presented in easy formats gets more user attention and greater click-throughs. The Accenture’s study clearly shows that B2B online dealing is highly important and B2B companies are advised to make the effort to move more customers to eCommerce and mCommerce.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Accenture Digital ‘Channel Shift: Measuring B2B Efforts to Shift Customer Online’ report can be downloaded by clicking here.

Accenture’s infographics ‘Moving B2B Business Online’ describes the current state of B2B eCommerce buying and is available here.