Intershop may be the biggest B2B e-commerce vendor that you’ve never heard of—at least if you’re on the west side of the Atlantic.
True or not, that’s a perception David Cunningham, general manager, Americas, is trying hard to change.
Pointing to the popular e-commerce technology platforms from Demandware Inc. and eBay Inc.’s eBay Enterprise (formerly GSI Commerce), he notes how those vendors have shared in some of the technology development that Intershop launched more than a decade ago. One of Intershop’s founders, Stephan Schambach, left Intershop to found Demandware in 2004, and Intershop formed a technology-sharing arrangement with GSI Commerce (now eBay Enterprise) in 2010.
Now Cunningham wants to see if Intershop can build on its own history to grow as well the Americas. “If our technology could help two other companies, GSI and Demandware, why not Intershop itself?” he says.
While eBay Enterprise and Demandware are known more for providing e-commerce technology for online retailers, Intershop sees most of its growth coming in B2B e-commerce. “From a growth standpoint, we believe B2B is where we’ll hit a home run,” Cunningham says.
That puts Intershop more in contention with technology providers like Germany-based hybris software, a unit of business software provider SAP AG; IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp. Indeed, a report from Forrester Research Inc. last fall put Intershop in the same league as those three competitors, offering e-commerce technology that can support the complex needs of large companies that sell through e-commerce sites.
To better compete in that field, Intershop has tripled its marketing budget this year over last, Cunningham says. And since he took over as Americas general manager last June, Intershop has expanded from one to five sales offices in the United States. In addition to its initial office in San Francisco, which still serves as its U.S. headquarters, Intershop now has offices in Boston, Atlanta, Denver and Dallas, and it’s planning to soon open an office in Chicago.
Cunningham declines to provide details on his marketing plans, but says Intershop will focus on building its market share among mid-tier and larger companies. “Our sweet spot is large, complex B2B companies who are going through a transformation,” he says.
He adds that Intershop will get out the word more about existing clients, including Hubert Co. LLC, which has worked with Intershop to develop a global e-commerce presence for the kitchen equipment it sells to restaurants and institutions.
“We’ve been around for a long time, but have been a well-kept secret in the marketplace,” Cunningham says. “But we’re developing a new message to let people know who we are.”
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January 28, 2014, 1:54 PM Paul Demery