02/26/2018, 01:00 PM CET

DHL and Cranfield School of Management report: E-Commerce is Transforming B2B

The white paper investigates the current trends and significant potential of the international e-commerce landscape for B2B companies.

Cross-border B2B transactions are expected to reach US $1.2 trillion within the next five years, according to Forrester Research.

  • Report highlights strategies for B2B companies to successfully compete in dynamically growing cross-border e-commerce
  • B2B customers increasingly expecting agile, scalable, B2C-like experience

Bonn - DHL Express has released a white paper with Cranfield School of Management investigating the current trends and significant potential of the international e-commerce landscape for business-to-business (B2B) companies. The paper provides a practical guide to specific digital features and strategies used by businesses that are developing a cross-border e-commerce offering and presents a framework for companies to better understand and benchmark their own level of e-commerce development.

"In the course of our research, we identified three archetypes of companies that are involved in e-commerce, from 'novice' to 'intermediate' to true 'innovators,'" said Professor Michael Bourlakis, Chair in Logistics & Supply Chain Management at Cranfield University. "Novices, for example, have just begun to dip their toes in the water when it comes to e-commerce and have basic functionality on their websites. Innovators, on the other hand, have sophisticated offerings and employ advanced technologies - such as machine learning and virtual reality - to better anticipate customer requirements and offer personalized experiences. With this framework, businesses can see how they compare to other companies that are developing an e-commerce offering and gain insights into improving their own e-commerce efforts."

For companies looking to build flexibility into their networks and to take advantage of the overseas demand that arises - sometimes unexpectedly - with the launch of an e-commerce offering, international express logistics companies can provide global networks that make door-to-door access to overseas markets and a premium service offering possible. This allows B2B companies to win business from new customer segments in an efficient manner, without the need for extensive warehousing and distribution networks in markets with low volume. They also provide indirect benefits to e-commerce companies by providing additional brand credibility and trust, streamlining their logistics processes, and minimizing financial risks by reducing the time spent by inventory in transit and ensuring full visibility on orders.

Based on a combination of desk research and in-depth interviews, the white paper identifies five categories of features that are essential to B2B e-commerce platforms: digital infrastructure, customer experience, customer personalization, seamless integration and synchronization of logistics. It also offers practical recommendations to companies that wish to further develop their capabilities across these five categories, such as using business intelligence tools to capture better data and enhance customer insights and looking at the supply chains of major retailers for inspiration when developing omni-channel sales networks (i.e., combining brick and mortar and web or mobile shops).

Christina Neuffer

Topics: Business and Financial Communication, Global Business Services

Deutsche Post DHL Group
Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 20
53113 Bonn
Germany

Phone: +49 (0)228 182 9944
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