Report: E-commerce lessons also apply for procurement
Executives are private consumers, too, and the convenience or accessibility of e-commerce is leading companies to demand more effective methods for B2B commerce and procurement practices, according to a recent FitforCommerce whitepaper sponsored by IBM.
Traditional selling methods still dominate B2B sales strategies, but digital B2B platforms are growing quickly — even faster than B2C commerce. The retail e-commerce market is valued at $262.5 billion, while the FitForCommerce estimate values the B2B e-commerce market between $600 billion to $1 trillion.
The most effective B2B digital commerce platforms have five common traits: advanced configurability; complex product combinations; product offering, contract and pricing segmentation; multi-market and buying-cycle workflows; B2C best practices; and a single, adaptable global platform, according to the report.
E-commerce has transformed the supply chain in various ways: from emphasizing the importance of last-mile deliveries, increasing the complexity of reverse logistics or shifting the geographic concentration of warehouses. Based on this report, it appears procurement is also being transformed by e-commerce.
In addition to the basic customer relationship management capabilities, digital platforms allow procurement professionals to expand their supplier queries and expand visibility across the supply chain.
Yet the trend towards digitalization is not limited to these features: freight forwarding, load boards and customs brokerage is going digital, too. Above all, the shift comes to show changes in consumer expectations affect every link in the supply chain, albeit in different ways.