June 10, 2014, 6:00 AM

Companies discover value in B2B e-commerce, study says

A survey by Forrester Consulting of 100 U.S. companies finds that a large majority say B2B e-commerce increases their average order value, profits and overall sales.

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Among companies that sell online to business customers close to 90% say that B2B e-commerce has increased their revenue and boosted profitability per customer order, according to a recent study by Forrester Consulting, a unit of Forrester Research Inc. The study was commissioned by EPiServer, a provider of Internet-based e-commerce technology.

In April, Forrester surveyed 100 B2B companies in the United States that had implemented e-commerce within the past seven years.  Along with the improvements in sales and profits, more than three-quarters of the companies said that e-commerce had increased their average order value and drove down cost per order. In addition, 52% said that 30% or more of their e-commerce sales did not take away from sales in other channels, amounting to incremental revenue.

Among other data, the study reports the following percentages of companies as citing the following results from implementing B2B e-commerce:

● Increased annual revenue, 89%

● Increased average order value, 81%

● Drove down cost per order, 84%

● Increased profitability per order, 88%

● More than half of e-commerce revenue is incremental, 12%

● 30% to 49% of e-commerce revenue is incremental, 40%

● 10% to 29% of e-commerce revenue is incremental, 46%

● 0% to 9% of e-commerce revenue is incremental, 2%

The survey also asked companies how they had deployed e-commerce technology. The replies:

● Software-as-a-service, or SaaS, hosted on the web by a vendor outside of the client company’s own infrastructure, 42%

● SaaS initially, but planning to run it on-premise, or on a company’s own web servers, 24%

● On-premise, 17%

● Started with SaaS, but have already transitioned to on-premise, 8%

● Started on-premise, but transitioning to SaaS, 6%

● Started on-premise, but already transitioned to SaaS, 3%

The survey also asked how much companies had paid for their core e-commerce technology. Following the percentages of companies citing each price range:

● More than $7 million, 8%

● $3 million to $6,999,999, 33%

● $1 million to $2,999,999, 34%

● $500,000 to $999,999, 19%

● Less than $500,000,  6 %

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