Commentary

B2B Commerce Moves to a World Gone Mobile

B2B commerce is going mobile.

For as long as I can recall, I’ve been hearing from numerous businesses that mobile wouldn’t impact them since they were primarily B2B companies.

This always struck me as making no sense, since mobile behavior couldn’t be expected to affect only consumer behavior.

People operating in a B2B environment don’t live in a vacuum. They also are individual consumers, and what they see and experience in the B2C world should be expected to influence what they would come to expect in B2B.

Now comes along some international research that highlights the B2B move to mobile commerce.

The study was conducted for Intershop by Vanson Bourne, a market research company specializing in technology. They interviewed 400 senior IT and business decision makers from merchants with a B2B focus and annual online revenues from $1 million to more than $100 million.

The study shows that about half (51%) already use mobile as a sales channel and a total of two-thirds plan to.

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Regarding customer touch points that B2B businesses don’t currently use but would like to over the next 12 months, the most common response from companies worldwide was mobile, including stores and apps.

Topping the list of the merchants’ vision for B2B commerce were integrating new touch points such as mobile apps for order entry, order history and status and sales rep apps.

It should come as no surprise that market dynamics are impacting the shift towards a mobile focus in B2B.

For example, a majority (81%) see customer demand and expectations as a driver of change in B2B commerce, and almost two-thirds (71%) credit mobile device use.

The bottom line is that business buyers are coming to expect the same levels of mobile functionality that they experience at B2C retail.

And some of those levels are on the rise.

4 comments about "B2B Commerce Moves to a World Gone Mobile".
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  1. Carissa Ganelli from LightningBuy, September 16, 2013 at 5:15 p.m.

    B2B behavior usually follows B2C behavior, because after all, B2B buyers are consumers too. Their experiences as consumers shape their purchasing decisions when they are buying on behalf of their companies. B2B buyers expectations are being set not just from their experience with Salesforce or Hubspot but when they buy on Amazon and in a Starbucks store. Those B2B buyers will expect 1-Click Ordering and mobile payments and other consumer-facing innovations. It's just a matter of time.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, September 16, 2013 at 5:29 p.m.

    Well stated Carissa, and the expectations will only increase over time. Thanks for your observations.

  3. Nancy Arter from Outward Media, September 16, 2013 at 8:47 p.m.

    I agree with Carissa -- B2B normally does follow B2C. And your points are excellent (both of you), we are all consumers first -- no matter what we do for a living. And, there's another reality . . . a high majority of us are ever-connected. We make decisions constantly on-the-go and we do it on our mobile device. It'll be fun to see how B2B marketers embrace this and start to seriously market via mobile -- past mobile-versions of creatives.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, September 16, 2013 at 8:54 p.m.

    Thank you Nancy. It does appear many in the B2B space are late to mobile, initially missing the points you highlighted.

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