B2B ecommerce needs to deliver personalisation or risk losing sales to competitors, according to new research.
A survey of 560 B2B buyers worldwide found that personalisation for ecommerce offerings would persuade a third to buy from a specific vendor. Nearly half of B2B buyers want customer specific pricing as part of the buying experience. A further 38% of respondents felt tailored offers, and shipping options would make the purchasing process more personalised, and an additional 36% also want personalisation with payment methods, according to research undertaken by Sapio on behalf of ecommerce provider Sana Commerce.
The survey, which identified what B2B buyers want, found that when it comes to how B2B buyers evaluate vendors, price is still king. 33% evaluate offerings on price, just under a third evaluate on payment terms, with delivery and stock availability coming in third and fourth.
B2B ecommerce sellers have however closed the gap on their B2C counterparts, and in some cases even overtaken them in terms of delivering a good customer experience. Respondents felt that the use of new technology, such as online portals and web chat functionality was better in a B2B environment. Buying through new sales channels, such as social selling, voice ordering, mobile commerce, predictive ordering and easy checkouts however, were still considered slightly better in B2C ecommerce.
Automation is also increasingly important for B2B buyers, the research found. Automated payments and purchases have already had an impact on the buying role in the past five years, and will continue to grow in importance with a buyers listing them as the top two factors that will have the biggest impact on their role in five years’ time.
Michiel Schipperus, CEO and Managing Partner at Sana Commerce, comments: “Understanding buyer preferences is vital if organisations are going to successfully compete in such a volatile marketplace. Our research found that the list of B2B buying requirements is long and businesses need to ensure that they’re able to meet buyers’ KPIs through ecommerce to help drive efficiencies and deliver the best experience. Ensuring that your systems are integrated with your ERP system so that you can offer your customers accurate stock levels, personalised pricing, and even complex buying scenarios, will help brands stand apart.”
So what would make buyers more likely to buy? Great service (39%), low prices (37%) and product features are the top three on the wish list for B2B buyers.
The majority of buyers want to buy online. 85% of respondents buy half of all purchases via ecommerce. And 57% buy three quarters of all purchases online. You shouldn’t get rid of your sales teams just yet though, according to respondents. Being able to make a purchase offline is still crucial within the B2B marketplace.
Over half (57%) of respondents still want their quotes delivered by email, a third (34%) would like someone to call them with a price and another third (36%) would prefer access to quotes online. Email is considered to be one the most important B2B channel for buyers (41%) closely followed by ecommerce (28%) and phone (25%). Delivering a personalised omnichannel experience is more important than ever if suppliers want to retain customer loyalty.
Cost savings is a key aspect for B2B buyers, with the majority saying it was their main business target, while increasing efficiency of the purchase process was a KPI for over a third.
The survey of B2B organisations in Europe and the US was undertaken by independent market research company Sapio on behalf on Sana Commerce. The survey sample covered food and beverage, electronics, building materials, medical supplies and automotive parts. For more insights, download the report here.
Credit: Sana Commerce