B2B Cyber Monday Can and Should Be More Like B2C Cyber Monday

B2B Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday continues to set records for consumer ecommerce. Meanwhile, B2B ecommerce remains largely underdeveloped.

Essent is publishing a series of articles that examine how B2B ecommerce can perform more like B2C.

Installments include:

Series Overview

10 Areas to Improve

Deals and Promotions

Carts and Catalogs

Customer Self-Service

Enhanced Self-Service

Guest Checkout

Leveraging Mobile

Year after year, Cyber Monday sets records. And year after year, B2B ecommerce watches from the sidelines.

Sales for the Cyber Monday weekend rose double-digits from 2012 to 2013 to a record $2.29 billion, USA Today reported. Adobe Systems reported 16 percent growth. IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark put the growth at 21 percent. That’s on top of record growth of 16 percent in 2012.

In fact, Cyber Monday ecommerce sales have set a record every year since the 2006 inception of the unofficial shopping holiday, ecommerce provider PFSWeb reported. That includes year-over-year growth of 15 percent or more in all but one year.

Yet this record-smashing growth almost exclusively reflects B2C ecommerce sales. It shouldn’t be this way. Rather than dismiss Cyber Monday as strictly a B2C bonanza, B2B sellers can look at what makes B2C Cyber Monday so successful then apply those strategies not just for one online buying occasion but for the whole year.

Cyber Monday a Teachable
Moment for B2B Ecommerce

There are identifiable ecommerce strategies, solutions, and trends that make Cyber Monday a B2C smash. B2B ecommerce websites would be wise to identify and leverage them into B2B Cyber Monday growth and yearlong success.

Granted, it’s hard to imagine Cyber Monday growing as big for business ecommerce as it already is for consumer ecommerce. Occasions like holidays or back-to-school don’t drive B2B ecommerce sales as strongly as they drive B2C ecommerce sales, a business buying decision isn’t the same as a personal buying decision, and B2B and B2C buyers simply aren’t the same.

But B2B buyers are still consumers at heart and they can be influenced by purchasing events just the same. The differences among types of shoppers are no reason to ignore a hugely successful ecommerce model that can be applied to everybody.

Business Ecommerce Buyers
Want the B2C Experience

So how can business ecommerce perform more like consumer ecommerce on Cyber Monday and beyond? Acting more like consumer ecommerce would be a good start.

According to Oracle, "Research has found that B2B customers expect the same type of online interaction – personalization, simplicity, catalog, and shopping cart – as when they shop in a B2C shopping experience.”

Ariba, the leading global B2B eprocurement network, regularly extolls the virtues of the consumer ecommerce experience, frequently describing the desirability of an Amazon-like business-to-business experience. "Technologies make the difference between a current state-of-the-art, consumer like shopping experience (think Amazon.com) and ‘old-school’, client-server shopping agony,” Ariba writes in a white paper on best practices in eCatalog management.

Forbes, citing a business ecommerce study, reported, "Nine out of 10 (88 percent) B2B buyers would prefer to shop online, but most B2B suppliers offer little or nothing to let them. … 94 percent of B2B buyers wanted suppliers to make their Web sites more like B2C Web sites.”

Wanted: B2B Cyber Monday,
Not 'Shopping Agony'

Business shoppers aren’t just business shoppers. When they’re at home, they’re B2C shoppers. And when they experience consumer ecommerce, they wonder why business ecommerce doesn’t act like that. Business shoppers want business ecommerce to feel like consumer ecommerce. They want what the experience on Cyber Monday, which isn’t "shopping agony.”

But for all of the desire for business ecommerce that’s more like consumer ecommerce, a 2013 report from leading ecprocurement service provider Source One Inc. indicated that only one in four businesses have any online presence – let alone an ecommerce website, let alone a B2C-like ecommerce portal.

Technological capabilities are equal for consumer ecommerce and business ecommerce. So nothing is truly stopping B2B websites from providing an ecommerce experience that rivals or even tops B2C. Simply put: corporate buyers should be treated more like individual consumers to increase ecommerce sales.

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