Last updated: B2B e-commerce: Measuring the ROI of re-platforming

B2B e-commerce: Measuring the ROI of re-platforming


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At the start of any B2B commerce initiative, a company needs to determine, “Why are we doing this project?” This stage may include a business case and ROI analysis to determine the core reasons why you are investing in a B2B e-commerce platform.

This is not only important because you want to get the ROI, but you also want to figure out exactly where you think the upside in the e-commerce business is going to be for your particular business and industry.

Is it going to be increased revenue and average order value? Is it going to be cutting costs and efficiencies on the operations side? Or is it going to be building and maintaining loyalty with your existing customer? More than likely, it’s going to be a combination of all three.

Another piece of the justification phase relates to understanding the size of the B2B market. The B2B e-commerce market is actually twice the size of B2C e-commerce. In fact, Amazon actually accounts for about one-third of all B2C transactions. In that regard, B2B is even larger and has no one major player. It’s well diversified.

Secondly, B2B is growing faster than B2C. I’ve seen different estimates, and it’s roughly three times faster than the B2C e-commerce market.

And third, your customers are expecting you to be online and have an e-commerce presence. Your competitors are there already – not just your existing competitors, but also the disruptive competitors such as Amazon Supply and Google.

Along with the upside, you have to balance that with some of the fears inside the organization. Will I lose my job? Will I lose commissions? Will I lose customers? And you’ll often hear, “My customers don’t want to go online. They don’t like to order online.”

In my experience, customers actually like to order online, no one has lost commissions, and no one has lost their job. In fact, you generally end up hiring more people, because the business grows. About 40 percent of customers have gone on to use the e-commerce portal, 25 percent of customers order online, and when they do order online, they order 10 to 15 percent more. They’re also happier, and you retain them longer.

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Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series of five posts. In the next post, the author will discuss the best ways to handle requirements gathering and writing an RFP.  

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