B2B E-Commerce Looks More Like B2C Everyday
Technology trends such as personalization and SEO are increasingly part of the B2B e-commerce mix.
People have come to expect a much richer experience on the Web. Whether it's on a business-to-consumer (B2C) site or business-to-business (B2B) environment, a new survey from Endeca, a provider of an application for e-commerce, shows that the website experience that people expect to have in both environments is starting to converge.
According to John Andrews, vice president of product marketing for eBusiness at Endeca, a search and business intelligence software company, this has huge implications for websites today that rely on overly structured taxonomies to drive navigation across their sites. What end users want is a Web experience that directly correlates to how they want to use the site. That means that when they are looking at a particular item, they want the website to dynamically surface information such as a video that directly relates to that item.
What customers don't want to do, says Andrews, is sort through search engine results on a website in the hopes they find the information that wasn't made readily apparent by the taxonomy of the site.
Andrews says this is putting the onus on websites that need to make use of much more granular approaches to tagging content in order maximize the Web customer experience. That will require in many cases new content management systems that make managing the relationship between all those tags a lot simpler. But as Andrews notes, it's only a matter of time before e-commerce sites head in this direction, which will result in lost sales for some companies as customers move to embrace sites where they simply have a better, more personalized customer experience.
From Endeca's perspective, Andrews says the increased nuances of e-commerce is going to push more companies to embrace a SaaS model rather than try to build it themselves. No matter what path companies ultimately choose, the one thing that is for certain in the wake of the recent economic downturn is that companies are more dependent on their websites than ever. And losing customers because the website is hard to navigate is a mistake most companies cannot afford to make.