E-Commerce Strategies for B2B

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IBM Software October 2010 e-Commerce Strategies for Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales and Marketing

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  • IBM Software October 2010

    e-Commerce Strategies forBusiness-to-Business (B2B)Sales and Marketing

  • 2 e-Commerce Strategies for Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales and Marketing

    As businesses emerge from the economic downturn, they haveincreased their focus on making the most of customer insightsand digital channels to transform the customer experience,open up new markets and reduce organizational complexities.According to the IBM Institute for Business Value report The path forward: New models for customer-focused leadership,47 percent of business leaders have increased focus on e-commerce and 46 percent are focused on developing effective digital customer experience.

    Traditionally, business-to-business (B2B) rms have used theInternet in silo to expose their product catalog for ordertaking. But the successes in the business-to-consumer (B2C)e-commerce worldand the rapid adoption of Internet tech-nologies like Rich Internet Applications and Web 2.0hasprompted B2B rms to rethink e-business strategy. As a result,many of the leading B2B rms are embracing the Internet asfoundation platform for all sales and marketing efforts by following the best practices from the B2C world.

    The primary objective of our site is tomake it easier for our customers to do theirjobs, says Adrienne Hartman, CorporateE-Commerce Manager at J.J.Keller &Associates, Inc.

    On the other hand, B2B buyers are consumers too; the buyersalso expect B2B sites to provide the similar experience, contentand community collaboration that they get in a B2C site. Thedesire by the B2B rms to adopt B2C-like techniques and anincrease in customer expectations has started driving aB2C/B2B convergence phenomenon.

    Today many B2B rms (especially businesses that sell nishedgoods like industrial supplies or parts for maintenance andrepair) use the power of the online channel to effectively mar-ket, sell and build brand loyalty. Even original equipment man-ufacturers (OEMs) are starting to use the web channel tomarket and sell directly to end customers without creatingchannel conict.

    This whitepaper will discuss B2B e-commerce market drivers,strategies and best practices for adopting the Internet and webchannel for sales and marketing efforts. We include examplesfrom a variety of industries to inspire new ideas for the digitaltransformation of your business.

    Dening B2B e-commerce B2B e-commerce is an overloaded term. It could mean differ-ent things to different people. For example, the use of tech-nology solutions like electronic data interchange (EDI),e-procurement, online catalog, web forms, online portals ande-invoicing could be referred to broadly as B2B e-commerce.

    For the purposes of this whitepaper, we dene B2B e-commerce as the use of the Internet technologies by theseller to market and sell products and/or services to otherbusinesses while the buyer uses the Internet to research,browse, compare and buy those products or services. In otherwords, from the sellers point of view, B2B e-commerce is theautomation and replacement of face-to-face sales and market-ing processes with a self-service solution that makes it possiblefor sales personnel to focus on high-value selling. Thereplacement of face-to-face interaction (which is paramount toany business-to-business transaction) is what makes B2B e-commerce more challenging; this whitepaper will offer best practices to address those challenges.

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    Key driversOver the last decade, B2B e-commerce has evolved dramati-cally from basic communications and transactions to theincorporation of retail-like concepts including personalizedoffers, targeted promotions and customer communities as partof the buying experience. This increased focus on the cus-tomer is driven by key trends including B2C/B2B convergenceand the transformation from product-centered to buyer-centric. While improving operational efficiency has alwaysbeen one of the fundamental drivers for B2B e-commerce,B2B companies are increasingly using the web channel toimprove top-line growth, open new markets and build loyaltyand community around the brand.

    Improve operational efficiencyIn this tough economic climate, businesses are forced to domore with lesswhich means relieving sales and administra-tive staff from routine activities like order taking so that theycan focus on high-value activities like selling. But studies haveshown that, on average, companies capture one-third of ordersthrough manual processes using phone, fax or email and 45 percent of contact center calls are non-transactionalinquiries such as Do you have product X in stock?, What is myprice? and Where is my order?

    Streamlining the quote-to-cash process (and automating thecustomer interaction through an online self-service channel)represents a clear opportunity for B2B businesses to reduceoperational costs. While sales order process automation hasbeen a top priority, shifting to a self-service model could be achallenging business transformation because the familiarhuman aspect of business transactions is now being replacedby an online system. To make this transformation easier, theself-service processes need to be exposed to the buyers in arich and customer-centric manner.

    B2B rms are adopting B2C-like tech-niques as customer expectations rise quickly.This drives a B2C/B2B convergence phe-nomenon in which technology enables com-panies to use the web channel to marketand sell to business customers

    Deliver an experience that is B2C-like: Rich and customer-centricThough companies may have some sort of an online self-service solution in place, a signicant percentage of transac-tions are still processed manually for a variety of reasons,including the inability to effectively represent complex prod-ucts in a self-service environment, the need for high-touchsales model and resistance from buyers in adopting the onlinechannel. On the other hand, the business buyers are nowexpecting the same rich and personalized experience that B2Csites offer. For example, when making a business purchase,B2B buyers expect to view related product content includingoffers, ratings and reviews, which they have come to expectfrom doing personal shopping on B2C sites. To overcome theabove challenges and to meet the buyers expectations, B2Bbusinesses are embracing proven customer-centric conceptsand technologies from their B2C counterparts. Specically,B2B sites are shifting from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 technologiesto deliver a rich, customer-centric and interactive online experience that makes the self-service channel into a virtualsalesperson available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Forexample, New Pig, a leading provider of industrial supplies,offers a rich online experience by allowing buyers to quicklynarrow down products and check out in few simple steps without leaving the page.

  • 4 e-Commerce Strategies for Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales and Marketing

    Innovate business model to open new marketsTraditionally, B2B companies have always served a small selectset of customers with whom there is a pre-dened businessrelationship. Also, depending on industry structure and posi-tion in the value chain, companies were limited in their abilityto trade with all entities. For example, manufacturers andOEMs have always sold through distributors and resellers dueto channel-conict issues. But in todays complex and compet-itive business environment, B2B companies are compelled torethink their business model. For example, The WasserstromCompany, a 108-year-old foodservice supplier that tradition-ally served the commercial market, has recently expanded toserve the consumer market by leveraging their wide range ofproduct assortment.

    According to Forbes.com, Now more than ever, manufactur-ers and retailers need each other to solve the fundamentallyuniversal problems facing both trading partners. Through atighter collaboration with downstream trading partners, man-ufacturers can enhance the sell-through model to drive newsales and improve brand loyalty. A great example of this is2009 CIO 100 award winner Mazda NA Operations, aboutwhich CIO.com says, Mazda launched an e-commerce systemso dealers could generate their own e-commerce sites quicklyand allow consumers to complete their entire accessory pur-chases online. Some leading manufacturers are exploringdirect sell-to relationships with end customers to reach newmarkets and/or to gain customer insights. For example, a leading manufacturer of home improvement and buildingproducts is using the web channel to serve the long-tail customers that are under served by the distributors.

    Increase sales through marketing and merchandisingAfter crossing the online self-service bridge, the best-in-classB2B companies want to capitalize on the online interactionwith buyers for actual selling. In their article 2010 Outlook:Marketing Priorities and Plans Survey Results, BtoB Magazinereported that, within online marketing, the top area that willsee increased spending is the website (71 percent of surveyrespondents) followed by email and search. B2B companies aremaking the most of proven B2C-like merchandising tech-niques (including cross-sells, up-sells, targeted offers based onrole, order history, promotional pricing, and search-drivenmerchandising) to inuence order size and additional sales.Furthermore, due to the B2C/B2B convergence phenomenon,the business buyers are also expecting to see relevant productinformation and related offers. J.J.Keller & Associates, whichrecently launched a redesigned website, indicated that withinfour weeks of site launch, they experienced a 54 percentincrease in average order size due to the more intelligent merchandising and cross-selling on the site.

    The objective of the marketing information and the range ofmerchandising offers are typically driven by the product andits complexity. For example, an industrial supplies companycould offer retail-like product promotion to increase sales,while a life sciences company selling expensive equipmentcould be offering relevant information about the productalong with related online demos and training to effectprogress in the sales cycle.

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    Build loyalty and community around the brandFinally, like it or not, your rms brand, products and serviceswill be discussed in social media and its up to your rm to lis-ten, participate and take control of your online brand image.Interestingly, B2B rms are rapidly adopting social media(better than B2C, in many aspects) by maintaining proles insocial media sites, participating in micro-blogging such asTwitter, and even monitoring company-related mentions insocial media sites. Business.coms 2009 B2B Social MediaBenchmarking Study reports that 75 percent of B2B rms useTwitter and 66 percent participate in discussions on third-party sites. Industries like automotive, electronics, food andbeverage, healthcare/life sciences, and industrial goods andservices lead in social media adoption. For example, a leadingelectronics component distributor is hosting a community toenable collaboration among the eld engineersand with thesupplier on new designs. In addition, the distributor usessocial media tools to communicate information about newproducts, trainings, seminars and other related industry infor-mation that makes the site a destination, drives traffic andpromotes the overall brand.

    Next-generation B2B e-commerce strategyTo respond to the key drivers, B2B businesses need toembrace proven customer-centric concepts from the world ofB2C e-commerce and employ modern web technologies todeliver the B2B e-commerce 2.0 experiencethat is, the next-generation B2B e-commerce. Next-generation B2B e-commerce is about delivering a streamlined, buyer-centricand engaging online experience that enables buyers to effi-ciently interact and transact with the brand and at the sametime makes it possible for sellers to reduce administrativecosts, increase sales and improve brand loyalty.

    Diagram 1: Next-generation B2Be-commerce strategy

    Taking orderselectronically

    Transition from

    Brand building,differentiation,and customer


    B2B 2.0

    Rich CustomerExperience



    B2B 2.0 Strategy

    order taking toorder making

    There are three key elements in the next-generation B2B e-commerce strategy: Operational automation, buyer-centricmarketing and rich customer experience. These three elements come together to deliver next-generation B2B e-commerce that is efficient, personalized and offers a rich,engaging experience.

    Operational automationThe primary goal of operational automation is to reduce cost-per-transaction and optimize quote-to-cash cycle time;this improves the bottom line by capturing a zero-touch, perfectorder in an efficient manner. The key to achieving this objec-tive is to replace phone-, fax- and email-based manualprocesses with a web-based, self-service solution that delivers acustomer-specic catalog and product pricing. Research hasshown that the cost of an average web self-service session isless than one dollar, compared to $10 for an email responseand $33 for a telephone call. In addition to helping reduceorder errors, automated operations may improve turnaroundtime and reduce contact center call volumewhich could provide signicant cost savings.

  • 6 e-Commerce Strategies for Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales and Marketing

    Diagram 2: B2B 2.0 strategic elements and benefits



    Rich CustomerExperience




    Sales & Operations Marketing Service & Support


    Reduce Cost to Serve

    Targeted Marketing

    Brand & LoyaltyBuilding

    Customer AcquisitionCost

    Retention Rate

    Product Awareness

    Order-to-cash time

    Cost per Quote

    Days SalesOutstanding (DSO)

    Enhanced UserExperience

    Improved Support

    Customer Satisfaction

    Real-time information

    Call Center Volume

    Reduce costs to improvebottom line

    Increase sales to grow topline

    Differentiate and buildloyalty



    Imagine if a buyer is able to view a custom catalog, get a con-tract-based or entitled price, submit a quote for a special pric-ing request and agree on a price, check inventory availability,place the order and track order status without calling the salesdepartment. With this level of quote-to-cash automation, B2Brms may reduce sales cycle from hours to a few minutes,reduce cost-to-serve and improve cash ow.

    Buyer-centric marketingUnlike mass marketing, buyer-centric marketing is focused ona deep understanding of customer needs, segments and behav-ior. The intent: Deliver targeted and contextual marketingmessages to help inuence the decision makers. Examples ofbuyer-centric marketing include cross-sell, up-sell, quantity-based promotions (such as 10 percent off when ordering100 widgets), incentives for placing orders online and newproduct offers. These marketing tactics, similar to a B2C site,may enable B2B rms to transition from order takers to ordermakers, increase customer wallet share and achieve higherretention rate.

    Buyer-centric marketing may also help build brand loyalty andcommunity for both company and products. Research indi-cates that B2B marketers are increasingly relying on interac-tive marketing tactics such as email, branded micro-sites,search marketing and rich media to help promote their brandand attract customers.

    Rich customer experienceDelivering a rich experience is fundamentally about becomingeasy to do business with, which includes delivering a rich onlineexperience, providing access to information such as entitledprice or stock availability to aid in purchasing decisions andoffering online communities to support customers post-purchase. The challenge is that B2B sites typically tend not to focus on site experience, which results in lack of onlineself-service adoption and thereby increases call center volumeand lowers customer satisfaction. By adopting some of theproven technologies and concepts from the B2C world such asRich Internet Application (RIA), Web 2.0 technologies, andsocial commerce capabilities, including ratings, reviews, andcommunities can help streamline buying experiences andaccelerate the online self-service transformation.

    Four steps to implementing next-generation B2B e-commerce strategyAs it requires human behavioral changes in both seller andbuyer side, implementing next-generation B2B e-commerce is a true organizational and business transformation. This section will discuss four steps to progressively implement the strategy.

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    The four steps are:1) Online order takingThe rst step is to replace manualorder taking processes with an online self-service channel toreduce administrative costs, reduce errors and improve turn-around time. Transition to the online channel could be signi-cant shift for certain industries; hence rich online experienceand ease-of-use becomes critical. Businesses can also offerincentives, discounts, and training to motivate buyers to usethe online channel. For instance, a $50 discount on every fthonline order can help to keep the momentum going.

    2) One-to-one marketingAfter automating order-captureprocesses, the next step is to take advantage of web marketingtechniques to serve various buyer personas by delivering tar-geted information in an effort to inuence the purchasingprocess. For example, an engineer visiting the site will beinterested in viewing product specications to understandtechnical details, while a procurement manager might be look-ing for product promotions.

    Diagram 3: Steps to next-generationB2B e-commerce

    4. Community Marketing

    3. Online Order Making

    2. One-to-one Marketing

    1. Online Order Taking

    Community Collaboration Brand Extension

    Promotions Campaign New Channels

    Personas Services Engagement

    Self-service Ease-of-use Incentives

    B2B 2.0

    3) Online order makingThis step turns your site into a bestvirtual salesperson by offering relevant product promotionsand marketing campaigns based on buyer prole, order his-tory and online/offline behavior. The key is to nurture anongoing dialogue with the buyer by capturing triggers (such aspage views/clicks, abandoned shopping cart or any time-basedevents) and responding with actions (such as promotionaloffer, customer landing page or a mobile SMS message). Anexample of a trigger would be a customer viewing a specicproduct review or forum. And the responding action would bedisplay of a related promotion, either in the same session orduring the next visit, offering an incentive to the buyer tocomplete the purchase. For example, one leading beveragedistributor offers dynamic marketing promotions based onuser demographic and items in online shopping cart.

    4) Community marketingOnline communities and social net-works provide a huge opportunity for B2B rms to turn theirsite into a destination by fostering collaboration with andamong end customers, providing a forum to gather productfeedback, elicit new product ideas and address any product-related issues. For example, a leading industrial supply rmuses social networks to discuss how they are serving the mar-ket by making a connection to the current news events todrive traffic to the website and to build credibility.

    IBM WebSphere Commerce B2B SolutionIBM WebSphere Commerce offers a customer interac-tion platform to enable organizations including B2B compa-nies deliver a rich, consistent experience across multiple saleschannels, automate order capture processes and power a variety of business models including B2C, B2B, and complexvalue chain models from a single platform. This section willhighlight key solution capabilities that help businesses executeon their next-generation B2B e-commerce strategy.

  • 8 e-Commerce Strategies for Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales and Marketing

    Operational automationA companys needs are as unique as their products and services. Success in B2B e-commerce means serving those dif-ferent needs as effectively and efficiently as possible. TheIBM WebSphere Commerce B2B solution empowers organi-zations to differentiate customers through contract and group-based pricing, specialized catalogs and customizable products.

    Catalog and pricing flexibilityBusiness customers are increasingly looking for ways to savetime and simplify their procurement processes. By offeringcustomized catalogs, your clients save time seeing the productsand services that matter to them in an arrangement that makesit easier to nd what they need. For example, a paint manufac-turer might organize its catalog differentlyby color, forinstancefor a hardware store than it would for an auto man-ufacturer (who is more concerned with properties such ashardness and curing speed). WebSphere Commerce sales catalogs allow you to organize your offerings differently forcustomer segments, geography or even season without chang-ing the structure of your master catalog.

    B2B rms need the exibility to offer unique prices to differ-ent customers. Pricing strategy could be based on a number ofcriteria: geography, customer spend, government regulationsand contractual obligations. WebSphere Commerce allowsyou to exibly manage product pricing by customer typeoreven by individual organization.

    ContractsPricing differentiation is critical to customer and revenuemanagement. Yet a contract actually denes many parts of thebuying-selling arrangement between seller and customers.One partner may demand a exible return policy at theexpense of favorable prices, while another may require pur-chase order numbers on each order. WebSphere Commerceincludes a robust contracts subsystem to model complex rela-tionships with a number of buyer organizations by deningterms and conditions around fulllment, shipping, returns,

    taxation and order approvals. Contract rules can be easilydened and managed by the business users within WebSphereCommerceor rules can be imported from an external sourcesuch as a contract lifecycle management or enterprise resourceplanning (ERP) system. Different or overlapping contracts canbe applied to different parts of the same buying organizationto add additional exibility.

    Diagram 4: Contracts, entitlements and pricing

    Supplier Catalog

    Supplier AText file

    Supplier BXML file

    Supplier COther feed

    DistributorMaster Catalog


    SKU List Price







    Price Lists Product Entitlement Terms & Conditions Business User Tool


    Buyer A Catalog$10 off List price

    Buyer B Catalog5% off List price

    Anonymous CatalogList price

    SKU List Price

    A-123 $90

    B-456 $290

    SKU List Price

    B-456 $285

    C-789 $475

    SKU List Price

    A-123 $100

    C-789 $500

    Contracts with customers are most often based on pricing andentitlement rules that reect the relationship between organi-zations. Product pricing can be relative (an amount or per-centage off of the list price), absolute (a price list includingeach item available to the customer and its correspondingprice), or driven by external business rules. The accompanyingdiagram details how several customer-specic catalogs can becreated from the master catalog and priced appropriately.

    Organizational modelingBecause B2B deals with selling goods and services to busi-nesses instead of individuals, meeting the needs of an externalorganization is criticaland more complex. A customer mayhave several individuals or departments involved in the buying

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    or procurement process. Every employee has his or her ownroles and job responsibilities. One user may be authorized tocreate a purchase order, but may need approval before anorder can be fullled. An individual in a nance role may have little need to construct an order, but requires access tohistorical purchases and the ability to pay outstandinginvoices. WebSphere Commerce lets business users modelyour customers organizational hierarchy and roles.Additionally, your customers management can be givenauthority to administer their own organization and account.

    For example, trusted customers can create accounts for newemployees, change permissions on their personnel andapprove actions (such as product orders) for their staff. Thesellers own sales and support staff can be assigned to a cus-tomer organization to empower them to act on behalf of theircustomers and take an active role in the online channel. These self-service processes are intended to simplify accountmanagement and strengthen partnerships with your most valuable customers.

    Quoting processesMany corporate procurement and project management policies require that quotes precede large purchases. Thishelps your customers plan their nances and purchases, butpresents an additional challenge: Responding to and managingcustomer quote requests. In addition to requesting pricing,your customers may wish to make a special purchase, buy asubstantial quantity, or request an offering that isnt detailedon your e-commerce site. For all of these scenarios,WebSphere Commerce provides a set of processes to helpmanage the quote-to-order process. Customers can submitpricing, product, or special purchase terms requests allowingthe seller to accept or counter the request with a differentprice or conguration. This multi-round negotiation can ultimately result in a new order or term-length contract.

    Buyer-centric marketingPrecision MarketingAs discussed earlier, the world of B2B e-commerce is evolvingtoward (or even converging with) retail-style online shopping.B2B customers are increasingly demanding an online experi-ence much like they nd when browsing retail sites. B2B rmsare nding that personalized marketing and content increasecustomer satisfaction, conversion rates, cart sizes and revenue.The WebSphere Commerce Precision Marketing engine andManagement Center business user tool allow businesses todeliver one-to-one merchandising and marketing informationbased on customer prole, order history and online behavior.This helps businesses to build an ongoing dialogue with thebuyers to inuence the sales and enabling B2B organizationsto stop taking orders and start selling.

    SegmentationThe key to Precision Marketing is identifying users that canbe grouped together for the purpose of targeted messaging.Segmentation can be explicit (based on what customers are:location, company, position) or implicit (based on what cus-tomers do: products viewed, actions taken, purchases made).The Management Center marketing tool in WebSphereCommerce makes it possible for a seller to create segmentsfrom the information that is collected from the customer registration and interactions. Segments can be imported fromcustomer relationship management (CRM) or other systems,congured to encompass multiple data points, to include orexclude other segments, or to add members as users meet specic criteria.

    Campaigns and promotionsOnline and brick-and-mortar retailers have long utilized campaigns that coincide with seasons (Black Friday, back-to-school) and special events (Super Bowl, Olympics). In these cases, a campaign typically consists of specializedadvertising and content, special promotions and limited-timeproduct offerings. Increasingly, B2B sellers are using

  • 10 e-Commerce Strategies for Business-to-Business (B2B) Sales and Marketing

    campaigns for new product introduction, site rebranding andeven seasonal purchases. WebSphere Commerce gives B2Bsellers the capability to create site elements, content and pro-motions, schedule the changes to begin and end at specictimes, and track the effectiveness of the entire campaign.

    While B2B sellers may not emphasize deals and special pricingto the same extent as typical retailers, their need for exiblepromotions is growing rapidly. The WebSphere CommerceManagement Center includes powerful promotion tool thatempower marketers to create product, order and shipping promotions.

    MerchandisingTraditionally, B2B sales have been driven by two primarychannels: Direct electronic ordering (such as EDI) and eldsales teams that interact directly with customers. WebSphereCommerce gives B2B sellers a wide array of merchandisingoptions to achieve the benets of both of these selling meth-ods. Merchandising associations (most commonly known ascross-sell and up-sell) give the seller the capability to linkproducts using the Management Center business user tool.Cross-sells and up-sells offer the ability to grow order size,while replacement and accessory relationships simplify theprocess of nding the correct product. Much like a eld salesrepresentative guides a customers product selection, associa-tions can easily point out compatible, comparable and pre-requisite offerings.

    Multi-sitesThe personalized online experience sometimes does not offerthe degree of segregation your organization needs for very dif-ferent types of customers, different brands or different chan-nels. WebSphere Commerce Extended Sites enables sellers torun multiple e-commerce sites from a single platform. Thesesites are based on an inheritance model in which many logi-cal sites can be created from a repository of assets such ascatalog, promotions, business processes, and site pages thatcan be shared across the Extended Sites without duplicationfor each individual site.

    Site 1 Site 2 Site 3

    Base Asset Store




    WebSphere Commerce

    Extended Sites

    Diagram 5: Multi-sites architecture

    WebSphere Commerce Extended Sites allows B2B companies to:

    Offer highly personalized and branded sites to large customers

    Market different brands that require a very different set ofproducts and branding

    Offer separate channel sites for B2B and B2C from a singleplatform though the underlying business processes differsignicantly

    Rich customer experienceB2B Web 2.0 starter storeIt is evident that the retail concepts such as marketing, cus-tomer centricity and Web 2.0 technologies are becoming anintegral part of the B2B e-commerce world. To respond tothis trend, WebSphere Commerce includes a fully functionalB2B starter store, Elite, that combines best practices fromB2C e-commerce along with core B2B processes such asadvanced organization and user management, contract andaccount management, approval capabilities and multiple ordercapture options.

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    Diagram 6: Elite B2B starter store


    Web 2.0 ShoppingCart




    Single PageCheckout Button


    The Elite store offers rich online experience by incorporatingfeatures such as product quick-nder, pop-up product infor-mation, drag-and-drop ordering, product comparison and astreamlined checkout process. The store can be easily cong-ured to assist B2B companies to jumpstart online transforma-tion and to adopt proven B2C-like marketing techniques.

    The WebSphere Commerce Elite store pro-vides the components necessary to constructa functioning B2B e-commerce site thatfeels like the retail sites consumers use forpersonal purchases. Powerful processesdeliver business value quickly withadvanced management of organizations,users, contracts, accounts and approvals.

    Online communitiesWebSphere Commerce incorporates several social commerceconcepts to help you engage with customers in a meaningfulway and to offer them the ability to collaborate and shareinformation. Ratings and reviews have been a critical part ofmany retailers online strategy. Knowing other customersfeedback enhances the buying decision process in B2B as well.Understanding how customers make purchase decisions or usea product enhances the buying experience and builds loyaltyand trust in a brandboth key concepts that are shared byB2B and B2C rms alike. WebSphere Commerce offers inte-gration capabilities for leading ratings, syndication and socialcommerce solutions from Bazaarvoice, KickApps,IBM Lotus Connections and Pluck.

    In addition, the WebSphere Commerce Remote Widgetscapability allows both businesses and customers to share products, lists and other content on social networks and anythird-party Internet site including blogs, affiliate sites, andtrade networks. For B2B rms, the remote widgets help toquickly and easily extend the brand experience outside of thefour walls of the website while managing remote content cen-trally and locally using WebSphere Commerce ManagementCenter marketing tool.

    ConclusionThe world of B2B e-commerce has rapidly evolved from taking orders using an online catalog to merchandising, marketing and selling by using best practices from the B2C e-commerce. B2B buyers are also demanding rich onlineexperience, more real-time information, sharing knowledgewith other buyers and making faster decisions. Increasingbuyer expectations, lower barrier to entry and more powerfulweb technologies are all contributing to a changing landscapeone that more closely resembles B2C channels.Next-generation B2B e-commerce strategy helps businesses to respond to these market trends by delivering a streamlined,

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    buyer-centric and engaging online experience that enablesbuyers to efficiently interact and transact with the brand andat the same time allows sellers to reduce administrative costs,increase sales and improve brand loyalty. IBM WebSphereCommerce solution offers a robust B2B solution and capital-izes upon best practices from B2C e-commerce to help B2Borganizations execute on the next-generation B2B e-commerce strategy and transition from traditional order taking to buyer-centric selling.

    For more informationTo learn more about the IBM WebSphere Commerce B2B Solution please contact your IBM marketing representa-tive or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website:ibm.com/software/websphere/commerce

    Additionally, nancing solutions from IBM Global Financingcan enable effective cash management, protection from tech-nology obsolescence, improved total cost of ownership andreturn on investment. Also, our Global Asset RecoveryServices help address environmental concerns with new, more energy-efficient solutions. For more information onIBM Global Financing, visit: ibm.com/financing

    About the authorsSrini Rangaswamy is a product manager for IBM WebSphereCommerce and is responsible for dening and executing prod-uct strategy for B2B e-commerce solution. In this role, heworks with customers across a variety of industries and helpsthem embrace next-generation B2B e-commerce strategies tooptimize operations and deliver a rich buying experience. Hecan be reached at [email protected] and his blog is athttp://www.b2bsellside.com

    Brent Murray is a solutions architect for WebSphereCommerce focusing on B2B business models and assistingcustomers in nding the right technology mix for their e-commerce businesses. He can be reached [email protected]

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    Untitlede-Commerce Strategies forBusiness-to-BusDening B2B e-commerce Key driversDeliver an experience that is B2C-like: Build loyalty and community around the bNext-generation B2B e-commerce strategyFour steps to implementing next-generatiIBMWebSphere Commerce B2B SolutionOperational automationQuoting processesBuyer-centric marketingRich customer experienceConclusionFor more informationAbout the authorsWSW14132-USEN-00

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