Although many B2B buyers are opting to make purchases through e-commerce platforms, especially since the pandemic, half say that e-commerce sites are not fully meeting their expectations. Furthermore, a report [download page] from Sana Commerce indicates that the vast majority (94%) say they have encountered customer experience challenges when buying online at supplier websites.
Before the pandemic, B2B e-commerce professionals believed their company was investing enough to improving the digital customer experience. However, some challenges persist. Delivery and tracking appears to be the biggest customer experience challenge B2B buyers are still seeing — cited by more than two-fifths (44%) of the more than 1,200 B2B buyers surveyed. Perhaps even more worryingly, 4 in 10 (39%) say they are still seeing challenges to their relationship with suppliers during the online buying process.
B2B buyers are coming up against other challenges when using e-commerce sites. Much like with B2C e-commerce, B2B buyers are not always happy with the visibility of product features (34%), and others have issues with ease of check out (33%) and ease of repeat ordering (33%).
Although buyers are running into challenges using suppliers’ e-commerce websites, half of those surveyed say that they most frequently use e-commerce platforms for placing orders. In fact, B2B buyers are more likely to use e-commerce platforms to place orders than they are to place them through email (45%) and phone (36%), which is a big change from two years ago when less than 3 in 10 (28%) frequently used e-commerce to place orders.
It’s fair to say that the pandemic has had an impact on the increased portion of B2B buyers who are turning to e-commerce platforms to place orders. Indeed, even though B2B buyers were already utilizing vendor websites across their journey, since COVID-19, the report indicates that there has been an increase in B2B buyers who are heading online throughout their buying journey. This includes the use of e-commerce sites for identifying new suppliers, ordering, re-ordering and evaluating new suppliers.
And, when it comes to ordering, a majority of buyers are now electing to use online stores as opposed to offline stores to make repetitive purchases, high volume purchases, one-off standard purchases, customized purchases and high-value purchases.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,282 B2B buyers across several markets who work for a manufacturer (49%), wholesaler (18%), distributor (12%) or retailer (12%).