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eCom Secrets Review: Honest Review, Huge Discount with Special Bonuses

2017 was a watershed year for e-commerce. As a technology executive with more than seven years of experience leading e-commerce platform companies, I am seeing firsthand that online buying is becoming the new normal for American businesses. For proof that B2B e-commerce is intensifying, look no further than Amazon. Since launching Amazon Business in 2015, the online retail behemoth has moved aggressively into the B2B sector, attracting more than one million business customers.

With business e-commerce in the U.S. on track to hit $1.2 trillion by 2021, according to Forrester, it’s crucial for B2B merchants to accelerate their moves toward digital transformation. Here are a few thoughts on how the industry will evolve in 2018.

B2B Buyers Are Getting Younger

According to eCom Secrets Review, nearly half of B2B buyers are millennials. This doesn't surprise me because our customers have been telling us that their buyers are young, tech-savvy and sophisticated. Unlike their older counterparts, they expect the purchasing ease-of-use they are accustomed to on consumer websites.

Understanding the unique purchasing preferences of these younger buyers will be increasingly critical to the long-term growth of B2B merchants. Buyers are no longer willing to tolerate cumbersome or circuitous purchasing processes that require significant human interaction. They demand intuitive, self-service interfaces and 24/7 e-commerce availability.

I recently met with a company in the global wood distribution business. During a meeting break, I talked to its head of strategy about the company’s shift toward e-commerce and the growing visibility of millennial purchasers. He said he believed the company, a $100 million corporation, would be out of business in five years if it didn’t make a major shift to e-commerce. If an enterprise in the wood distribution sector is concerned about its survival without e-commerce, it seems obvious that all B2B businesses need to embrace digital transformation, paying particular attention to the changing mix of buyer demographics.

Mobile E-Commerce Is Here To Stay

As buyers are getting younger, they are increasingly mobile. According to Google’s recent report, “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing,” 42% of B2B customers use mobile devices during their purchasing process. From researching products and comparing prices and feature sets to contacting merchants and completing transactions, business buyers depend on mobile devices along the entire purchase path.  

In today’s always-on workplace, a purchasing manager may find himselfcompleting a complex RFP for a major company purchase while simultaneously running out the door to take the kids to school. As buyers jump from buying gifts on Amazon to hailing rides from Uber, they have come to expect the same mobile convenience for professional purchases. Businesses that want to succeed in e-commerce increasingly need to optimize for those users. They need to create website designs that work for smaller screens. And, more fundamentally, they need to choose e-commerce platforms that are mobile-optimized from the beginning to deliver a comprehensive mobile commerce experience.

Personalization Is King

In addition to making purchasing processes more mobile-friendly and intuitive, remember that business clients expect the red-carpet treatment. The last thing a wine and beer distributor wants to see on your website is offers for distilled spirits she never purchases. Buyers expect catalogs, pricing and product selection to be curated for their purchases and organized according to their specific needs. For complex B2B businesses that offer many product lines, have large catalogs and serve many different sectors, individualization can significantly affect online revenue.

One of the most tangible ways to deliver personalization is through customized and dynamic pricing. According to research firm Gartner, 2018 will see around 40% of B2B commerce sites using price optimization algorithms to deliver dynamic pricing. In practical terms, that means sophisticated personalization, taking into account such parameters as purchasing volume, frequency and long-term relationship value. A procurement agent who purchases millions of dollars of running shoes every year should expect a more attractive set of pricing incentives than a buyer who purchases footwear on an ad-hoc basis.

It is also important for online merchants to map the customer journey and to understand places where interactions are disjointed or too impersonal. Identifying areas where the destination feels unknown will help you create a seamless experience across all channels of purchase and interaction. Companies that create personalized customer experiences will be the ones that win in 2018 and beyond.

Multi-System Integration Is Useful

To deliver efficient and customized service, merchants will increasingly need to integrate their e-commerce systems with other core platforms, from large back-end supply chain software to customer relationship management systems. For their own survival, companies and their executives could benefit from access to a unified global view of all channel-selling activities.

A system that seamlessly combines e-commerce data with detailed customer interaction history gives every team member access to the same holistic overview. This type of fully integrated solution knocks down functional silos, giving sales, marketing and customer service teams the ability to cooperate efficiently. Tomorrow’s B2B winners will be the companies that can integrate disparate technology platforms and make them work together in a way that maximizes their utility to all members of an organization.

Investment in your company’s technology infrastructure and business systems can seem daunting, but these platforms will help build a foundation to transform your business’ digital future. If you embrace the key trends that are reshaping business-to-business e-commerce, your customers will not only become loyal brand advocates, they will see you as leaders in the industry.

Brick and mortar experiences – physical, on site interactions – are more important than ever. Merchants will have to master the combination of showrooming and webrooming, events, product demos, in-store experiences and more.

Online (“pureplay”) merchants will grow their physical footprint as consumers continue to place a premium on both the versatility and depth of online shopping and the convenience of buying, picking up and returning items locally.

Brick and mortar players will digitize their physical infrastructure and begin rolling out new store features and formats based on customer experience and convenience, with a strong digital flavor.

Online menswear brand Frank And Oak has opened 16 physical stores in North America. The in-store experience includes premium coffee and barbershop services.

Nordstrom opened a 3,000 sq/ft store with no merchandise in order to focus on services and brand experience such as tailoring, try-ons, stylists and more, including fresh juice and manicures. The space doubles as a pickup and return point for online purchases.

Online box-mattress pioneer Casper has opened 15 pop-up shops in cities around the US in 2017.

Portland’s Velo Cult stands out in a city with 80 bike shops by blending culture with retail. They carry a selection of new, custom and vintage bicycles, serve at least 12 craft beers on tap, roast and serve coffee on site and have a stage for local musicians.

Home Depot makes $5 Billion online, but its top priority remains a stellar store experience. Stores and staff support the customer journey for both DIY homeowners and professional contractors.

The IRL (In Real Life) pop-up shop in Chicago’s Water Tower Place is a showroom for online-only brands to display their products.

Iconic Canadian parka brand Kanuk‘s unique in-store experience includes a -25˚C (-13˚F) cold room to test jackets in real winter conditions.

The Disruption of B2B eCommerce.

The perfect storm is about to hit the nearly 1 Trillion $ B2B eCommerce sector.

Changing B2B Buyers’ expectations are pushing the need for B2C-like functionalities, at a time where B2B investment in commerce capability is a priority for a majority of B2B CEOs. The growth of the digital-savvy millennial workforce, mobile ubiquity and relentless optimization of eCommerce technology is forcing the hand and pace of the traditionally slow-moving B2B sector.

Many B2B buyers and users will experience their first frictionless, B2C-like purchasing and ordering experience in 2018 as they continue transitioning their product discovery and buying behaviors to online and mobile. Everything from print catalogs to sales calls are being replaced by a digital-first discovery process and a buyer-centric, simplified ordering process.

This ease of ordering/easy-to-do-business-with interaction will lead to increased ordering and share of budget for the vendors who put the user at the heart of the buying experience, an experience that draws its blueprint from the lessons learned from 20 years of B2C and retail eCommerce.

The perfect storm (for disruption)

By 2019,B2B firms will spend more on eCommerce technology than online retailers do.

56%of B2B buyers expected to make half or more of their business purchases online in 2017, up from 30% in 2014.

The US B2B e-commerce market could reach
$1.1Tand account for 12.1% of all B2B sales by 2020, and over $6 Trillion worldwide.

eCommerce platform vendors (Magento, Insite, Sitecore, Oracle, Hybris, more) are rolling out B2C-like functionalities that co-exist with complex B2B business rules (partial orders, volume pricing, etc.)

56%of B2B buyers expected to make half or more of their business purchases online in 2017, up from 30% in 2014.

The average age of a B2B buyer/researcher is now
under35 years old.

89%of buyers search online in a B2B purchase process, with 74% doing so for more than 50% of their purchases.

71%of B2B researchers start with generic unbranded searches and average 12 online searches before engaging with a specific vendor’s site.

Marketplace behemoths Amazon and AliBaba have become the “Google of shopping” in several B2B environments  and are blurring the lines between B2B and B2C.


  • In October 2017, Amazon launched Business Prime shipping, a paid annual membership program for businesses in the US and Germany
  • Amazon business has amassed over 1 million “Amazon Supply” subscribers in 5 years.
  • Amazon Business, the marketplace where Amazon combines more than 30,000 sellers (and itself), had $1 Billion in sales in its first year and is growing 20% every month
  • Alibaba generates 80% of all online sales in China (yes, 80%) and is, at its core, a B2B portal for connecting Western businesses and Chinese manufacturers.

From “What WOULD it look like” to “What DOES it look like” in your home.

Augmented Reality (AR) will be huge in 2018 as brands roll out features that allow consumers to use their mobile devices to visualize items in their home or office before purchasing.

From couches to blenders, consumers will be able to see exactly how an object looks in their environment before ordering, including visualizing “plus-sized” items like furniture or bathtubs. This should drive an increase in orders for “plus-sized” items, as well as related shipping and services. AR may also help to reduce returns – eCommerce’s $260 Billion dollar problem.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called Apple “a market leader with AR, noting there are already 1,000-plus apps with AR features on the App Store. Stemming from that, he said AR, which first sparked interest for marketers through the success of apps like Snapchat and the virtual game Pokemon Go, is now “mainstream,” pointing to applications with retail shopping, gaming, entertainment, education and the enterprise on both a small and large scale”

Houzz’s app lets you take rooms in your house and then place multiple products within them, virtually, from a selection of 500,000 product images. The million users of Houzz’s previous AR features were “11 times more likely to purchase and spent 2.7 times more time in the app”.

Amazon added augmented reality directly into its existing, conversion-focused app’s search function. The AR view feature lets you view thousands of products in your home and office before you buy them, including electronics and tools.

IKEA Place is an augmented reality app that lets consumers experience, experiment and share adding Ikea products into any space. Products are in 3D and true to scale, so consumers can see whether the furniture or accessory will fit and what it would look like in context.

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