Darth Vader, China & eCommerce Load Testing: B2B Marketers Take Notice This Holiday Season

While B2C marketers and retailers revel in a brisk start to the holiday season, B2B organizations have an opportunity to step back and observe what is happening in the world of online selling.  Whether you believe B2C marketing is a bellwether for future B2B activity or you’re just a student of eCommerce, here are four observations that I felt were relevant for B2B marketers from this first week of holiday shopping:

  1. If you don’t sell in a marketplace like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or others, now is the time to consider it. There was a time that these sites were the Darth Vader of B2B organizations. They were competitors, industry disrupters and distribution model busters. I had a client once that was afraid of joining a marketplace for risk of losing control of its brand and pricing.  They ultimately scrapped plans, even though data showed that their customers were actively buying from the marketplace. This holiday season provides further evidence that marketplace selling is only getting stronger. Amazon and eBay both had record sales days on Cyber Monday, and Amazon alone accounted for approximately $4B -$5B in sales by selling more than 140 million units over the five-day holiday weekend. Bottom line: the online marketplace has the reach, scale and paying B2C and B2B customers. Its value is too significant to ignore.
  2. If you sell in China, incorporating eCommerce into your business model in-country should be a priority. Both culturally and economically Chinese customers lead the world in online shopping, especially via mobile. It’s not even close. Case in point: Alibaba, China’s eCommerce marketplace juggernaut, posted $25.3B by itself in one 24-hour period on November 11 for their annual Singles Day. Compare that to what the US in total sold online on Cyber Monday ($6.6B according to Adobe Analytics), and China’s dominance in online eCommerce is jaw-dropping. Said another way by Marketplace Pulse: in 24 hours, Alibaba sold 10% of what US retailers will sell in a year. So, do you have eCommerce plans in China? There’s more than 460 million shoppers waiting for you!
  3. In a shout-out to IT professionals, don’t skip load and regression testing for your web / mobile projects. I’m pretty sure it’s been a tough week for CIOs at Macy’s, Lowe’s and J. Crew. All experienced web site crashes and technical glitches during the holiday weekend. Advice: bank enough time in your project plans to thoroughly test before a major event or launch.
  4. From the non-profit sector, it was hard not to be inspired by the wonderful creative and inspirational storytelling that charities developed for #GivingTuesday. A lot has been written about the importance of storytelling. But rarely is there such a rich set of case studies and creative coming together to drive engagement. They provide great examples for your content and social teams to learn from as they prepare their own 2018 promotional plans and editorials calendars.

While focus is all on B2C these weeks, are there any B2B observations or learnings that have hit you? Share them here or @MapFwd_Eric.

Eric Stasiowski, President MapForward Digital