B2B’s Secret Weapon: E-Commerce

b2b_changeI founded Snap36 in 2008 as a direct result to feedback that I obtained from my Adobe-Scene7 clients and counterparts.  The fact was that Scene7 had become ubiquitous amongst the Internet Retailer 500, providing high resolution image resizing, zooming, panning and swatching — with the occasional 360° spin — as the user experience interface on most B2C e-commerce sites.  However, there was a definite void in the space between retailers that wanted 360° spin and retailers that were actually using it.

Fast forward to 2014.  360° & 3D spin photography is alive and well in the B2C world, and many retailers are in the process of utilizing it as their next-generation, user experience strategy.  According to several studies from Forrester, Adobe and the e-tailing group, presenting your products in 360° & 3D has proven to enhance purchase confidence, leading to increased conversion rates, reduced returns and improved customer loyalty in the B2C space. The question is, can B2B recognize the same value that B2C research has suggested?

Let’s take a look at the current landscape:

  • In 2014, U.S. B2B online revenues are estimated to be between $600 billion to $1 trillion, dwarfing B2C estimates of $263 billion1
  • 80% of B2B suppliers agree or strongly agree that their customers’ expectations mirror B2C-like e-commerce experiences2
  • 73% of business buyers are engaging through various offline and online touch points —using multiple information sources to make decisions3
  • 62% of B2B customers use mobile devices to research products and 52% use mobile devices to purchase products4

Millennials are infiltrating the B2B market as savvy, demanding customers who are used to making business decisions as well as retail purchases of all sizes using laptops, tablets and mobile devices. This means it is no longer good enough to simply put a product catalog online.

B2B buyers are looking for more and better visual content and B2B distributors that fail to accommodate buyer demands will risk losing market share.  The stakes are high and so are potential rewards. B2B distributors that implement an e-commerce strategy that allows customers to fully engage with their products on any device, at any time, have seen the same value as their B2C counterparts.

Results of one major industrial customer that implemented a 360° & 3D spin e-commerce strategy:

  • 6% uplift in top line revenue of products presented in 360° & 3D spin versus static.
  • 360° spin rated the highest conversion increase, over additional copy, video and alt views
  • Returns on their highest return item fell to zero
  • 50% reduction in the time customer service needs to interact with a customer 

Additionally, the implications of making a purchase mistake in B2B are significantly higher than in B2C.  Imagine if the HVAC system is down in the Bellagio, a chicken fryer is not working at a Chick-fil-A, or a compressor is malfunctioning on a commercial airliner.  The opportunity cost can be in the tens of thousands of dollars of lost income per day and a career that is on the line.  In B2C it’s simply the cost of returning the product (and maybe the frustration over ordering the wrong size shirt). Because of this, B2B purchase decisions contain both a business and a personal value that tie to the buyer’s psyche.

The most effective B2B suppliers will recognize that implementing spin photography as part of an e-commerce strategy not only allows buyers to purchase from any device, at any time, but it’s paramount to increasing buyer confidence through a more interactive and engaging digital solution.

1 – IRCE
2 – Endeca Survey
3 – Intershop E-commerce Report 2013
4 – Forrester

Jeff Hunt
Jeff Hunt
j.hunt@snap36.com

Jeff's passion for imagery and visualization began early in his career at Eastman Kodak, McDonnell Douglas Unigraphics and PTC. He then veered down the Internet start up path, helping to take Object Design and Cysive to public offerings pre-bubble burst. Joining Scene7 in 2002 (which was acquired by Adobe in 2007) imaging and Internet start-up were finally united. It was here that Jeff listened to his customers and recognized an underserved market in the 360° and 3D photography space...and voilà, Snap36 was born!

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