News Feature | January 23, 2017

B2B Businesses Need To Capitalize On Cloud-Based Commerce Systems

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Considering The Cloud

Industry evolution sees gap between expectations of B2B buyers and what brands can provide.

Frost & Sullivan projects B2B e-commerce will hit $12 trillion in sales worldwide by 2020, up from $5.5 trillion in 2012. Archana Vidyasekar, senior research analyst for Frost & Sullivan’s Visionary Research Group, explains, “The main driver for migration to B2B is the pressure from industry leaders to move to online platforms.”

Furthermore, B2B businesses are currently relying on outdated commerce systems, and industry evolution has led to a widening gap between expectations of B2B buyers and what brands can provide. This is according to the 2017 B2B Digital Commerce Imperative study from CloudCraze, which found top business customer pain points reflect an inability to accommodate complex needs.

To learn how B2B brands can drive greater sales through digital, CloudCraze surveyed nearly 200 IT and marketing professionals with an online presence about the challenges and opportunities they face serving customers across channels. The study revealed more than 65 percent of B2B businesses surveyed last updated their systems more than two years ago, before SaaS had matured. As a result, 70 percent lost a business deal because of an ordering-specific pain point, and 31 percent missed out on at least $2 million in sales. According to the study, “The opportunity for B2B businesses lies with cloud-based commerce systems built with the customer in mind.”

With a growing demand for self-service and advanced payment options from B2B buyers, going digital has become critical to long-term success. The challenge B2B brands are facing is supporting the complex, industry-specific needs of their buyers. The widening gap between customer expectations and current business offerings represents the inability for businesses to meet the needs of more advanced and personalized ordering, pricing and, payment features due to a failure to integrate their systems with customer data and a reliance on outdated, on premise platforms.

B2B organizations reported most customers’ expectations want convenience, demanding mobile access to their commerce platform (55 percent), convenient payment processes (52 percent), and advanced payment features (50 percent) — all things B2B organizations struggle to provide. Thirty-five percent of respondents report the inability to provide a seamless omnichannel customer experience as their biggest pain point.

According to the study’s authors, the solution is “an agile, CRM-based solution that puts the customer at the center of the commerce experience. These solutions enable businesses to understand and accommodate the needs of buyers through a holistic view of their CRM data. What’s more, today’s cloud platforms offer flexibility, cost savings, and quick speed to market.”

While businesses are aware their current commerce platforms are responsible for missed sales and revenue, most are still failing to prioritize implementing SaaS systems that provide the necessary flexibility to implement with more advanced features.

The study concluded, “B2B businesses are at a digital roadblock. Those that are currently offering basic digital commerce channels are unable to move on with more complex features due to outdated, product-focused systems.”