October 27, 2014, 9:25 AM

A first look at the $1 trillion B2B e-commerce market no one knows

After nine months of research, Internet Retailer’s 2015 Guide to B2B E-Commerce analyzes what’s driving growth in a $1 trillion B2B e-commerce market many companies don't know exists.

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Business-to-business e-commerce may be the first $1 trillion e-commerce market companies haven’t heard that much about—until now.

After nine months of extensive research by Internet Retailer’s experienced staff of editors and researchers, Internet Retailer today announces the launch of the 2015 Guide to B2B E-Commerce, a 224-page research publication that for the first time analyzes the numbers and trends driving B2B e-commerce in the U.S.

Research firms such as Forrester Research Inc. project that U.S. companies in 2014 will generate annual B2B e-commerce sales of $1 trillion, a number that’s nearly four times the size of the business-to-consumer e-commerce market that recorded sales of $263.3 billion in last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. B2B e-commerce also is growing slightly faster than U.S. online retailing—at an annual estimated rate of about 19%, according to Deloitte, compared with 17% for B2C e-commerce, as measured by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The B2B e-commerce market is big and about to get bigger. But compared to B2C e-commerce, which is comprised of companies selling directly online to the public via a web site, the B2B market is fragmented and at various stages of evolution in different industries. What’s more, selling to businesses online encompasses many types of transactions and online properties. While procurement managers may buy directly from a company’s web site, they are also shopping on large online marketplaces such as AmazonSupply.com and via business-to-business networks that allow buyers and sellers to automate invoicing and payment.

The first-edition 2015 Guide to B2B E-Commerce reveals and profiles the leading manufacturers, wholesalers and commercial service providers that are operating e-commerce sites. It describes how these B2B web pioneers are working to make it as convenient for business buyers to purchase online as it is for consumers to shop on the web sites of major retailers. For the B2B players, that means providing excellent search functionality, detailed product information with first-rate visuals and product comparisons, reviews from business buyers, and even input from social media. And it means buying or building e-commerce platforms that efficiently manage inventory, product descriptions and related content, customer history and payment.

The 2015 Guide to B2B E-Commerce covers how and why companies develop their own e-commerce sites with special features catering to the needs of their customers, such as personalized displays of online content and pricing tied to customers’ purchasing needs and contract terms; trends in B2B e-marketplaces and procurement networks, where buyers and connect with large numbers of suppliers; and the development and use of procurement software that enables companies to manage how their corporate buyers purchase products and services from authorized suppliers.

The Guide addresses these concerns in exclusive articles that feature the online operations of such leading national and regional B2B e-commerce companies as manufacturers Edmund Optics Inc. and Riedell Shoes Inc., distributors W.W. Grainger Inc., National Business Furniture and MSC Industrial Supply Co., and health services company Avalon Health Care. The Guide includes more than 60 profiles of B2B companies that sell online and descriptions of nearly 400 vendors of B2B e-commerce technology and services.

Order the first-ever 2015 Guide to B2B E-Commerce today.

 

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