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“Without good data, B2B ecommerce problems will never be solved," Forrester Consulting says in the “2024 State of B2B Ecommerce Report," which it produced for Zoovu, a provider of product discovery software.

Although their overarching goals are to grow revenue and improve the customer experience, many B2B sellers still fail to meet buyers’ expectations of a helpful and easy online purchasing experience that is both personalized and relevant. The most common culprit is weak product and customer data, says a Forrester Consulting report commissioned by product discovery software firm Zoovu.

Data is “the key to ecommerce,” but many B2B companies fail to unlock the door to online growth because they don’t have the necessary foundation of good product and customer data, Forrester Consulting says in a new report.

“Organizations are often hindered by siloed data, insufficient technology, and a lack of internal skills or knowledge,” Forrester Consulting says in the “2024 State of B2B Ecommerce Report,” which it produced for Zoovu, a provider of product discovery software. It notes that 66% of companies surveyed for its report have “poor” data and that more than 40% struggle with siloed data and lacked the technology, staff and strategy to make data more helpful for ecommerce.

The report was based on a survey of 413 professionals involved in customer or product data strategies at U.S. or European companies with annual B2B ecommerce revenue of at least $200 million. Forrester Consulting is part of  Forrester Research Inc.

“How B2B sellers go to market is fundamentally changing, but many companies are struggling to keep up and transition to a new way of operating,” the report says. “Ecommerce and e-shops are driving forces and growing rapidly, but transforming B2B sales operations goes beyond them.”


B2B sellers need better data to unlock ecommerce growth

“While some companies have transformed their old sites to multidimensional digital B2B e-shopping experiences, many are simply applying old ways of thinking to new technology and treating e-shops merely as digitized versions of their former print catalogs,” Forrester says.

Well over half of surveyed companies, however, said they had expectations of improving customer experience and boosting revenue by deploying new product discovery and related tools and services, including AI-powered technology systems.

Still, Forrester asserts that many B2B companies struggle to make the transition to more effective ecommerce applications “despite all they stand to lose from not getting it right: lost revenue, damaged customer experience, and costly order errors.”


It adds, “Without good data, B2B ecommerce problems will never be solved. Data strategies and digital transformation are two sides of the same coin. However, more than two-thirds of respondents told us their organizations do not have effective product data strategies.”

The report also highlights the following trends and expectations.

5 top ecommerce data challenges, by % of respondents

  • 47%: Siloed data
  • 43%: Insufficient technology
  • 43%: Insufficient data strategy
  • 40%: Lack of internal skills or knowledge
  • 40%: Costs (lack of budget, ROI too low)

Top product discovery tools, by % of respondents

  • 77%: Web or mobile chat tools (non-SMS text)
  • 61%: SMS text tools
  • 49%: Product search
  • 44%: Guided buying assistants
  • 34%: 2D or 3D product configurators
  • 25%: Product bundle configurator
  • 16%: Quizzes

Top uses of AI in product discovery, by % of respondents

  • 73%: Implementing chat bots
  • 66%: A/B testing
  • 62%: Product search
  • 62%: Dynamic content generation
  • 56%: Structuring and cleaning product data discovery
  • 53%: Personalized recommendations
  • 48%: Product configurator
  • 47%: Optimizing sales organizations
  • 39%: Product bundle configurator
  • 36%: Predictive analytics
  • 35%: Voice search

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