Consumer expectations for e-commerce continue to put pressure on the B2B space

BigCommerce has the results of its ‘Global B2B Buyer Behavior Report‘, which examines the changing habits and preferences of B2B buyers in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The study results reflect a continued blurring of lines between consumer retail and B2B e-commerce trends. Specifically that B2B buyers They increasingly expect the same experience as consumers: Interactive websites with mobile responsiveness, product and pricing transparency, and a seamless checkout experience.

The results, they point out, also “characterizeA call for companies to modernize their e-commerce operations or risk falling behind at a time when B2B e-commerce is still relatively young«. According to eMarketer, e-commerce is the fastest growing channel for B2B product sales and B2B e-commerce sales in the US are expected to exceed $2 trillion by next year 2024.

«The way B2B buyers shop is changing and B2B retailers must adapt. Shoppers use online channels to research, compare and purchase products“he defined Lance Owide, B2B General Manager at BigCommercewho added this «B2B retailers must have a strong online presence and offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience to keep shoppers loyal and convert, otherwise they risk losing market share«.

The report’s most notable findings include:

  • 74% of respondents said they use online platforms to purchase products.
  • 65% said they use it Search engines as the primary means of product discoverywhile 42% mentioned online marketplaces such as Amazon Business.
  • 60% of respondents said they use B2B marketplaces for purchases and 51% of those who use them Amazon business.
  • The main problems faced by B2B buyers during the buying process are Inaccurate prices and shipping costs (40%)slow website loading times (29%) and poor customer service (28%).
  • 31% of respondents said this Technical problems prevented an online purchase from being completed.
  • Respondents also said that the most important feature of the checkout process was not the mobile support or auto-renew feature, but rather the display complete and accurate pricing information.

How B2B buyers discover and buy products

While digital platforms such as internet search results and online marketplaces are proving to be the most commonly used ways for shoppers to find products online, 42% of global respondents discover products for their company from catalogs, suggesting that catalogs are still a viable way to capture buyers’ attention. In the meantime, Only 24% of global respondents said they discover new products at trade showsas in-person events continue to increase worldwide after coming to a near standstill during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic sparked a rush to e-commerce among B2B retailers and buyers as in-person interactions were halted. A 2021 survey conducted by Healthy trade revealed this 87% of B2B buyers identified new suppliers online, compared to 78% before the pandemic. The use of supplier review websites has also increased: 74% of B2B buyers did so in 2021, compared to 60% pre-COVID.

Between most used shopping channelsYes, that E-commerce websites and apps of suppliers were most commonly selected in the United States (75%), United Kingdom (73%) and Australia (77%), followed by B2B marketplaces and in-store/warehouse purchasing. It is worth mentioning in this line Shoppers in Australia are significantly less likely to purchase from B2B marketplaces (45%) than their counterparts in the United States (65%) and the United Kingdom (62%).

Of the merchants in the BigCommerce survey who had purchased from an eCommerce store, 51% of respondents chose Amazon Businessfollowed by Walmart (23%) and Alibaba (19%). Depending on the region, there are significant differences in the preferences of market buyers. Shoppers in Australia are less likely to use Amazon Business (38%) than in the US (57%) and UK (58%).

The Ratings and Reviews and recommendations from colleagues are the main reasons for the purchase decision. Advertising and marketing also played an important role, which suggests this Importance of strong B2B marketing campaigns.

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What B2B buyers expect from eCommerce sites

The B2B buyers value the ability to purchase online due to benefits such as the ability to compare products and prices with competitors, customize your orders, save your purchase histories and make purchases anytime, anywhere. However, these benefits are negated when websites contain inaccurate pricing or shipping options, slow page loads, and complicated checkouts.

The Inaccurate pricing and shipping costs were found most frustrating by respondents (40%).. Slow website load times were the second largest issue for B2B buyers (29%), followed by customer service challenges (28%).

Overall, B2B buyers said the most important features to their online shopping experience were detailed product information and personalized prices and discounts.

However, a look at the results based on respondents’ purchasing frequency shows that detailed product information becomes increasingly important as purchasing frequency decreases, perhaps indicating that shoppers who make fewer purchases want more information to help them make a decision when they do are ready for this. However, B2B buyers who purchase more frequently prefer bulk orders than those who purchase less often.

«B2B marketers need to understand the basics of a website before moving on to bigger and better features. Many of these core features come from their experiences in consumer retail, responsive mobile websites, and customer feedback, to name a few. Technology partners can help ease some of these tensions. For example, customer service could benefit from implementing a live chat feature that allows buyers to speak directly with a local representative.Owide said.

What do you expect during the payment process?

As the report highlights, the payment process is a “critical step» in e-commerce, because even the slightest friction can cause shoppers to abandon their shopping cart. Respondents in this section were asked how they paid for the products, what problems they encountered during the process, and how those problems might affect their final purchase.

The top reason B2B shoppers abandoned their carts at this point was due to technical issues at checkout (31%). Combined with a complicated checkout process (15%), this shows the importance of a smooth and effortless checkout experience. Lack of secure payment was the second leading reason for abandoned carts across all regionsbut in the UK it was the main reason: 30% of respondents chose it, compared to 20% in the US and 21% in Australia.

The Credit and debit cards are the most commonly used payment methods across all regions, with more traditional B2B payment methods such as Automated Clearing House (ACH) and Purchase Order (PO) settlement. Electronic and physical controls were clearly preferred.

When it comes to preferred payment features, respondents value the following complete and accurate pricing information, followed by the availability of multiple shipping options. Although they generally did not show high preference, Respondents who have to go through 10 or more approvals preferred an auto-save cart feature, indicating how important this feature is for shoppers who have longer checkout processes or need to return to their cart later during the approval process. Likewise those Auto-renew or subscribe and save options They also showed a greater preference for respondents with higher agreement ratings.

«B2B buying habits have changed tremendously in recent years, and the BigCommerce platform makes it easy for merchants to meet these buyer expectations. Whether purchasing from suppliers, manufacturers, distributors or wholesalers, buyers no longer rely solely on sales teams to make their purchases. Instead, the journey has become a mix of physical and digital interactions, often culminating in a final online purchase.«, concluded the General Manager for B2B at BigCommerce.

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