E-commerce is one of the hottest trends in B2B marketing. Inspired by their favorite B2C e-commerce sites, buyers and procurers are demanding that their B2B suppliers deliver buying experiences that are comparable to those of leading online retailers.

To facilitate online expansion, providers (including AmazonSupply) have sprung up, offering B2B firms a shared, turnkey Web presence to address their e-commerce needs.

But as more and more brands dip their toes in the e-commerce space, serious questions are arising about these cookie-cutter site offerings and how they compare with online B2B sellers who build their own custom and branded sites using an available e-commerce platform.

The Value of E-Commerce Ownership

According to a Mashable article, some B2C sellers who have chosen to migrate away from Amazon's online store framework are finding it very difficult to completely cut the ties from the Web presence they created on Amazon.

The problem that many online retailers are seeing is that their products still remain listed on Amazon as "out-of-stock" items, even though the retailer has stopped making its products available via Amazon. Instead, visitors are redirected to a competing merchant who is listing its products on Amazon—an all too frequent occurrence, considering Amazon's high search rankings.

Though the Mashable story discusses this impact only as it relates to B2C sellers, it raises the question whether B2B brands will face similar challenges if they choose to move to their branded site and e-commerce platform after having started up with a "marketplace" presence such as that offered by AmazonSupply.

Brands that implement their own branded sites and own their e-commerce platform gain a higher level of control over their brand, customer connections, and sales approach in their digital marketing agendas. And though there are several ways brands can build their own platforms, such as through marketplaces, in nearly every case, B2B companies achieve greater flexibility and differentiation by bringing a best-of-breed e-commerce platform in-house.

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image of Steven Kramer

Steven Kramer is executive vice-president of sales, Americas, for hybris, a commerce technology company.

LinkedIn: Steven Kramer