E(Image credit: Pixabay/Fancycrave1)ighty-three percent of B2B buyers will spend more to purchase products from suppliers that offer robust eCommerce experiences, according to a survey by Avionos. The report explores the purchasing habits of 160 US-based, B2B procurement officers. The results show this trend will only increase as millennials continue to replace baby boomers in the workforce.

Given the growing demand for digital self-service among buyers today, eCommerce is no longer optional for B2B businesses. The report suggests businesses that lacks robust eCommerce capabilities, are likely to be losing wallet share to digitally enabled competitors. Businesses with no plans to improve eCommerce capabilities risk becoming obsolete.

Losing revenue by avoiding eCommerce

Today’s B2B buyers expect a modern eCommerce experience, and they’ll remain loyal to the businesses that offer it. Nine out of 10 procurement officers (89 percent) say they make more purchases online today compared to just a year ago. And nearly all procurement officers (97 percent) consider a supplier’s customer portal offerings a critical factor when selecting a supplier.

More than eight out of 10 buyers (83 percent) would choose a supplier with excellent eCommerce and customer portal capabilities. This would remain the case even if the supplier’s product was moderately higher priced than a competitors. That means the longer a business waits to enable eCommerce, the faster it will lose existing customers and revenue.

The report suggests the need for eCommerce will become even more dire as digital-savvy millennials replace baby boomers in the workforce. In the US, approximately, 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age every day, and millennials are filling their former roles. The B2B procurement industry is no exception to this generational shift. Nearly half of Avionos survey sample (46 percent) identifies as millennials.

Raised with the ability to buy anything they want using the internet, millennials have high expectations for online buying experiences in their work lives. As a result, they prefer to conduct business with companies that offer the easiest path to purchase online. Simply put, millennials have known eCommerce their whole lives. Consequently, they are significantly more engaged in the buying process than their older counterparts.

Lack of quality content leads to reduced sales

While eCommerce is an essential starting point, it’s just one piece of a digitally enabled organisation. B2B business must prioritise quality digital content to differentiate from competitors and instill buyer confidence in the digital customer experience.

Nearly eight out of 10 B2B buyers (78 percent) start their product searches on either Amazon or Google. Only 15 percent start with a supplier’s website, and just 6 percent pick up a supplier’s catalogue, even when they already have a preferred supplier. If a business site still lacks the necessary content to help buyers make educated buying decisions, they will go elsewhere. Investing in high quality digital content will boost an organisation’s visibility among this sizeable group of potential customers.

Pain points for procurement officers

An issue procurement officers face when buying online is the lack of accurate content (43 percent reported this issue). Rich and relevant content instils the confidence customers need to make purchases, which ultimately gives the business a competitive edge.

The growth of Amazon Business has led 65 percent of B2B buyers to making purchases through Amazon. This poses a serious threat to businesses lacking agile eCommerce technologies and strategies.

Given Amazon’s ability to evolve quickly, many B2Bs can’t compete with the retail giant by chasing features the company is introducing today. The report suggests that businesses need to build to where Amazon and emerging industry leaders will be tomorrow. To adopt a forward-thinking approach, emerging businesses needs the ability to quickly adapt digital offerings as customer expectations in the B2B ecosystem evolve over time.

Enterprise Times: What this means for businesses?

The growing demand for digital self-service among buyers has made eCommerce an essential part of B2B business. But fostering a successful digital presence is more complicated than just creating a website. A similar report commissioned by Salesforce in 2018, indicated that omnichannel investments lead to greater buyer satisfaction and loyalty. Businesses lacking robust eCommerce capabilities will lose wallet share to digitally enabled competitors. And those without plans to improve eCommerce capabilities will soon become obsolete.

What will this eCommerce capability look like? Businesses will need to offer customers the ability to research, configure and purchase products via self-service portals. This capability must be before, after and even during an interaction with a sales representative. To maximise revenue from digital channels, B2B businesses need content and the agility to quickly adapt to changing customer needs.



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