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The survey also found that while most B2B firms have begun their digital transformations, many are struggling to meet customers growing demands for a B2C-like experience. In fact, 70 percent of the companies surveyed said that their customers have significantly higher expectations for B2B eCommerce.
“The main reason B2B sellers are finding it a challenge to provide a better eCommerce experience and meet their eCommerce sales targets is that their products are often extremely complicated,” said Dave Batt, Chief Executive Officer for FPX. “Most B2B eCommerce solutions are only capable of supporting rudimentary product configurations and bundles, so when products and solutions have even a small amount of variants or options, the selling process becomes too complicated for most eCommerce systems to handle.”
In addition to complex product bundles, the survey also found that the largest contributors to this complexity gap are incomplete sales technology ecosystems, and complicated sales processes.
“Business-to-business (B2B) buyers desire a digitally enabled buying process, and they’ll shift their loyalty to other brands if their expectations for a digital experience are not met,” added Batt. “With this buyer-driven emphasis on digital buying experiences, numerous B2B organizations are ‘channel shifting’ away from traditional sales processes toward digitally enabled self-service and eCommerce to retain existing customers and drive growth.”
Beyond eCommerce & New Solutions
While the study shows there are many challenges with B2B eCommerce, it also highlights how new solutions are sorely needed to fix traditional sales methods. For example, when asked what issues were either very challenging, challenging, or somewhat challenging for their indirect channel partners, respondents said receiving incorrect information (74 percent), selling incompatible configurations (77 percent), and selling products which are unavailable (74 percent). In addition, more than half of B2B sellers said one of the biggest challenges of traditional direct channels is having disparate and disconnected sales systems, which prolongs the sales process.
When asked how valuable it would be to have a unified platform that interfaces with existing sales, CRM, and ERP technologies, provides product and pricing guidance, and is exposed to all of sales channels, 81 percent of respondents said it would be valuable or very valuable.
“The best way to provide your customers with a better B2B eCommerce solution and close the complexity gap is to invest in an enterprise-grade system that addresses your company’s technical needs, creates uniformity in the sales process and facilitates the simplified experience today’s customers have come to expect,” said Mark Bartlett, FPX’s Chief Experience Officer. “The B2B firms that do that will be well positioned to deliver a consistent, high-quality sales experience that will not only improve customer satisfaction but drive sales by taking advantage of the trillion-dollar B2B eCommerce opportunity.”
A full, complimentary version of the study, The Complexities of B2B Sales Require Thinking Beyond Today’s CPQ, is available for download from FPX.
 Forecast from B2B eCommerce: A Trillion Dollars For The Taking, Forrester Research, Inc., July 26, 2016
FPX is an independent SaaS vendor that simplifies buying and selling experiences to align enterprise businesses with the expectations of modern omnichannel customers. Powerful enough to handle any level of complexity, nimble enough to advance your commerce strategy, and simple enough to seamlessly extend and enhance the capabilities of direct and indirect sales, FPX is the business agility engine to power success in this era of Digital Transformation. With FPX enterprise CPQ, today’s leading organizations are optimizing the experience of buying and selling across their sales, partner, and ecommerce channels, driving increased revenue and profit margins, increased loyalty and engagement, and empowering IT assets. More information is available at: http://www.fpx.com/.