Most business-to-business (B2B) buyers will change suppliers for a better digital experience thanks to the accelerated e-commerce and digital transformation landscape over the past year, according to a survey of U.S. buyers, released this week.
The information comes from the fourth annual B2B commerce report from digital marketing company Avionos, titled “No More Excuses: The Time for B2B Digital Transformation is Now.” The firm surveyed more than 150 B2B buyers at manufacturing, consumer packaged goods (CPG), and financial services firms to better understand how the pandemic has accelerated B2B organizations’ digital transformation and raised buyer expectations for e-commerce experiences.
The study showed that 90% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor if a supplier's digital channel couldn't keep up with their needs, up from 88% in 2020. It also showed that buyers’ own digital transformations in their personal lives over the course of the pandemic heightened their expectations for B2B digital experiences: Almost all (96%) buyers have made a purchase for their company online since March 2020, and 63% said they plan to make more than half of their purchases online in 2021, according to the report.
Remote work and the digitization of the procurement process has helped push the trend in 2021, leaving B2B suppliers with a renewed mandate to improve the online buying experience.
“What we’re seeing now is an acceleration in the B2B space that has pushed five years of innovation into one,” Scott Webb, CEO of Avionos, said in a statement announcing the survey results. “Before the pandemic, many B2B buyers were only making purchases from their cubicles or working directly with salespeople to make large-scale purchases, but with the onset of remote work they’ve had no choice but to change the way they buy, further embracing e-commerce. Buyers are now accessing commerce sites on their own time through laptops and mobile devices, increasing the likelihood of making purchases anywhere, at any time. In turn, organizations have further digitized internal processes like invoicing and removed tedious procurement processes. Ultimately, this evolution in buying has made it even more noticeable when there is friction in the buying process, making it that much more important for suppliers to continue to innovate and improve their experiences.”
Other findings include:
B2B buyers said they will pay a premium for great e-commerce experiences: 87% of buyers said they would pay more for a supplier with an excellent e-commerce portal, up from 81% in 2020 and 74% in 2019.
Finding up-to-date product information is increasingly challenging: 48% of buyers said finding up-to-date product or service information was a top challenge when researching purchases, up from 19% in 2020.
B2B suppliers’ technology doesn’t always integrate well with buyers’ technology: 42% of buyers said difficulty integrating suppliers’ tech solutions with their own solutions was a top pain point with supplier technology.
B2B companies should embrace ongoing change: 68% of buyers strongly agree that B2B companies must become more comfortable with change to thrive in the post-pandemic era.