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Forrester: B2B must adhere to ‘Amazon-like’ customer experience

17th Aug 2015
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Amazon is regularly held in high regard as the autochthon of online customer experience, but this tends to be in the B2C landscape, where its approach to data and personalisation was considered revolutionary in the early days of ecommerce, and continued to attract praise thereafter as the company went from one innovation to the next.

Forrester analyst, Andy Hoar believes the type of approach Amazon has taken in ecommerce is now becoming an expectation for all online businesses, and crucially, not just in B2C markets but B2B as well.    

In an updated version of the report, The New and Emerging World of B2B Commerce, Hoar states that B2C sites like Amazon, and indeed, other pionners including Nordstrom and Sephora have “set the standard by which all commerce sites, B2C and B2B, will be judged”.

“For decades, most B2B companies sold their products and services by way of catalogues, salespeople, and customer service representatives,” Hoar states.

“They did so because that was largely where their customers started their research. But the majority of B2B customers now start their research online and on mobile devices, and in many cases, they expect to complete those researched purchases digitally — forcing B2B companies to fundamentally rethink their critical customer engagement strategies.

“In fact, more advanced B2B companies are actively moving up the marketing funnel to address the customer lead qualification process in the earlier discovery and awareness stages — before customers arrive at their sites.”

What this means is that traditional ‘B2B’ companies currently moving many of their operations online are likely to shift their focus to the mobile commerce experience, much in the same way B2C businesses have done in recent years.

Forrester’s data states mobile accounts for just 3% to 5% of B2B ecommerce sales today, but that it represents 7% to 10% of all B2B ecommerce website traffic.

As a result, Hoar predicts  the percentage of B2B traffic coming from mobile to soon match the 22% currently seen in B2C, bringing with it different user expectations.

“With a majority of B2B customers already indicating that they’re using mobile devices to research and buy products online, B2B companies must put digital assets in place for mobile users to at least browse, and perhaps buy, online,” he adds.   

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