March 25, 2014, 12:53 PM

B2B companies show gains in key metrics

From decreases in the number of abandoned shopping carts to increases in profit per order, companies report a general trend toward improved performance in several areas of business-to-business e-commerce operations, Forrester Research reports.

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Across more than a dozen key performance metrics in business-to-business e-commerce operations, companies reported a general trend toward improved operations in 2013 over 2012, Forrester Research Inc. reports.

At the same time, many companies also cited increasing costs related to marketing, fulfillment and customer service. 23% cited an increase in customer-acquisition costs, 25% an increase in the number of sales booked with discounted pricing, and 27% an increase in marketing costs per online order.

But higher percentages of companies reported increases in such key metrics as profitability per online order (41%), average number of lines per order (45%) and percent of total sales by returning customers (52%).

“Despite increasing customer acquisition costs, B2B companies pointed to positive developments for long-term revenue and profitability in the B2B space,” says Andy Hoar, a Forrester analyst who authored the report, “Benchmarking B2B eCommerce Sales and Marketing Initiatives.” Forrester compiled the report with data from the Global B2B E-Commerce Online Survey of B2B professionals conducted last fall with Internet Retailer.

The report also notes an average conversion rate of 10%, an average shopping cart abandonment rate of 30%, a weighted average order value of $1,060, and an average customer service cost per order of $12.

Following are several performance areas noted in the report, with the percentages of companies who said they were increasing, staying the same, or decreasing (percentages don’t add up to 100 because some companies either said they didn’t know the change or performance or did not provide a response):

● Conversion rate—47%, 32%, 7%;

● Profitability per online order—41%, 25%, 8%;

● Average online order value—48%, 30%, 11%;

● Average number of product lines per online order—45%, 34%, 4%.

● Percentage of online sale by repeat customers—52%, 30%, 3%;

● Marketing costs per online order—27%, 33%, 17%;

● Fulfillment costs per online order—14%, 49%, 17%;

● Percentage of sales booked with discount pricing—25%, 38%, 9%;

● Shopping cart abandonment rate—8%, 36%, 23%;

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