Forrester Research’s new report, “The
Forrester Wave™: B2B Commerce Suites For Midsize Organizations,
Q3 2017”
, explores the commerce needs of midsize B2B
companies and evaluates B2B commerce suite providers. In the
report, Magento Commerce was named a leader. The research firm
cited the Magento platform, an all-in-one cloud solution with a
full set of B2B and B2C functionality, as the “best fit for
mid-sized B2B companies that want an open, feature-rich
solution that can be extended easily and inexpensively.”

What This Means for B2B Merchants

“We’re seeing a wave of global demand as more B2B companies
adopt digital strategies driven by the desire to meet
heightened client expectations and the need to differentiate
through personalized, self-service experiences across multiple
channels,” said Mark Lavelle, CEO of Magento
Commerce. Forrester’s research supports this, noting that
B2B companies are finding that their customers now expect the
same seamless buying experiences that B2C offers, as well as
expanded inventory fulfillment options and assisted sales
alternatives. They recommend that B2B companies look for
commerce solutions that support the following 4 key
capabilities to stay competitive, and even expand into selling
directly to their end consumers:

1. Full-Spectrum Selling  

B2B buyer preferences are changing and they want both
self-service and full-service purchasing options. According to
Forrester/Internet Retailer B2B Buyer research, 53% of these
buyers will make half or more of their work purchases online by
2018[1] and 74% say buying from a website is more
convenient[2]. This means they’re looking for self-service
buying tools that enable them to purchase 24×7, track new
orders, view their order history, and manage their credit
without having to talk to a sales rep (60% said they’d prefer
not to speak with a sales rep[3]). However, when they do want
to speak with sales, reps will need assisted selling
capabilities so they can deliver high-touch service. These
capabilities include creating orders for customers,
recommending products, quickly responding to quote requests,
and troubleshooting issues with orders started online.

2. Personalized Digital Commerce Experiences

Personalization is key to driving sales and enhancing the
shopping experience, even for B2B. B2B companies need to be
able to run targeted promotions and make personalized product
recommendations for different customer groups. And to ensure a
seamless experience across channels, they must be able to
provide custom catalogs and pricing to individual customers or
groups of customers so they see their negotiated products and
pricing online. B2B companies should also be able to prepare
for these campaigns with tools to easily stage, preview and
schedule product, pricing, content, and promotional updates.

3. Data-Driven Merchant Tools

To meet rising expectations, B2B companies need tools to access
and analyze data for better decision making, greater
personalization, and automation. According to a report from
87% of marketers
consider data their most underutilized
asset, and 60% of them cite the ability to make faster
decisions as the key benefit. B2B companies should have access
to dashboards and easy-to-use business intelligence tools that
non-technical team members can easily use, customize, and
understand. This will give them the ability to integrate data
from multiple sources (ERP system, Google Analytics, Magento,
etc.) and from multiple channels to get a complete picture of
their business. With this comprehensive view, they can easily
share insights with colleagues for more data-driven decision
making and deeper understanding of their customers and

4. Agility and Faster Time-To-Market
Years-long implementations are no longer acceptable. Commerce
solutions must be cloud-based and flexible to meet rapidly
changing needs and to accommodate new innovations. Built-in
flexibility enables merchants to not only support multiple B2B
selling models with native functionality, but also allows them
to sell to both businesses and consumers from the same
platform. Flexibility will also help B2B merchants easily
expand to new markets with the ability to support multiple
sites, languages, currencies, and tax policies out-of-the-box,
and easily integrate technologies to enhance their core
eCommerce platform as new solutions emerge.

For more of Forrester’s insights on B2B commerce and their
evaluation of Magento Commerce, download a complimentary copy
“The Forrester Wave™: B2B Commerce Suites For Midsize
Organizations, Q3 2017”

[1] Source: Q4 2015 Forrester/Internet Retailer B2B
Buy-Side Survey

[2] Q1 2015 Forrester/Internet Retailer B2B Buyer Channel
Preferences Survey

[3] Death Of A (B2B) Salesman: Two Years Later, Forrester
Research, Inc., March 29, 2017