Magento Commerce discovers why many B2B firms aren’t completely sold on the capabilities of e-commerce tools

Magento e-commerce tools
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More than half of B2B organizations said integration with legacy technologies is hampering their adoption of e-commerce tools and 37 per cent say they lack the ability to support various sales channels, according to a research study from Magento Commerce.

While 85 per cent of organizations said they were interested in offering customers ways to make purchases online to boost revenues, the ability to connect e-commerce tools was cited by 52 per cent as “extremely” or “very” challenging, according to the report, which was based on a survey of 302 professionals by Forrester Consulting. Magento Commrece, whose acquisition by Adobe recently closed, released “What IT Takes To Be A Leader In B2B Ecommerce” Tuesday afternoon.

Nearly a quarter, or 24 percent, said integration with existing systems was a top consideration when they are looking for a vendor, nearly as high as the performance of e-commerce tools themselves, at 27 per cent.

Shannon Hane, director of product marketing at Magento Commerce, said the research results reflected how many enterprise firms have customized things like their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system long before selling to customers online became a priority.

“The work is hard — many B2B companies have very complex back end systems that have grown organically,” she told B2B News Network. “There are plenty of solutions out there that are not as oriented towards that integration.”

Though Magento obviously wants to position its e-commerce tools as being capable to integrate with legacy technologies, Hane said the research is also intended to offer B2B firms a way to benchmark their digital maturity. Beyond revenue generation, for instance, nearly as many, or 84 per cent, said they were looking at e-commerce to improve customer satisfaction.

“Particularly in B2B, they’re often selling to the same group of customers over and over again,” Hane pointed out. “Gathering a greater share of wallet is really important. Whether (the metrics are) CSAT, retention, even sales productivity, it really reflects on the nature of their business, when they can have a deeper relationship with customers.”

While only 25 per cent of those surveyed were put into the “masters” category in terms of e-commerce maturity, the study showed 55 per cent were in the middle “explorers” category that have at least one to three best practices in place, while 19 per cent were “novices” who still had to implement one of the report’s best practices. These include having a dedicated head of e-commerce activities, cross-functional alignment and a separate P&L for online sales.

Hane acknowledged that traditionally, sales teams might have been resistant to the introduction of e-commerce tools for fear of losing their jobs, but she said those attitudes are shifting.

“It means they can be freed up from reorder/replenishment calls,” she said. “They can spend more time on the business that requires more custom configuration or in-depth selling.”

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Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.