Automotive firms struggle to give consumer style e-commerce experience buyers expect
When it comes to B2B selling online, automotive organisations are struggling to provide the online buying experience that their customers have come to expect. That’s the view published in the 2013 E-commerce Report from Intershop, which also reveals that smartphone usage, social media and the so-called “consumerisation of IT” are driving up B2B customer expectations. The reports advice? Automotive firms have to adapt to changing customer expectations, driven by trends such as smartphone usage and social media.
Across the board, respondents in a survey of 400 B2B companies, of which 75 per cent of the respondents were from the automotive, high-tech manufacturing, retail, pharmaceutical, and telecoms sectors, agreed that the world of B2B commerce is evolving fast, and B2C trends are reflected in the B2B environment.
Yet, all organisations in the automotive sector are facing challenges. For over two thirds (67%), the biggest challenge is delivering responsive and flexible customer service in order to respond quickly to any customer request. Just over half (53%) say it is difficult to manage complex organisational structures such as different user roles, multiple business models, multiple commerce touch points and multiple data domains. Just under half (47%) find it difficult to provide intuitive and user-friendly interfaces for multiple touch points such as B2B online stores, mobile apps etc.
One big challenge is how this change is driven by multiple factors – an average of eight in this sector. Over three quarters of automotive respondents cite either customer demands and expectations (77%), developing technologies to permit what was previously impossible (77%) and/or logistics and demand chain (77%) as drivers of change in B2B e-commerce.
Bringing buyers from offline to online
Yet, over half (57%) agreed that bringing business buyers from offline to online could result in a higher overall bottom line. Over two thirds (67%) drive offline sales online, and 50 per cent said bringing buyers online could result in more return customers and higher brand loyalty.
Automotive organisations who either currently sell online B2B products or services (97%) or who plan to do so (3%) have plans to, were included in the research. Of those already selling online, 97 per cent plan to increase the percentage they sell online, on average by 31 per cent.
When it comes to the features their customers expect, more than more four fifths of B2B automotive organisations understood the importance intuitive search and navigation (83%), online order approval (83%) and category and product pages (83%). This is followed by online store analytics and monitoring in real time (77%), and search engine optimisation and search engine marketing and customised catalogue with pre-negotiated products and pricing (both 73%).