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8 in 10 B2B procurers would opt for a supplier that offers an online ordering option over an equal supplier that only offers print catalog ordering, finds hybris in a new study. Procurers find the main advantages of the e-commerce option to be that it allows them to do business with their suppliers at their convenience (89.4%), it saves them time (84.6%), and it enables them to be better informed about the state of their order (80.7%). Many also see informational benefits to ordering products from suppliers’ websites.

When ordering supplies for their business, the procurement specialists surveyed were more likely to say that it is easy to find product information online than in print (84.4% vs. 70.7%). They similarly find it easier to track orders online (88.6% vs. 62.7%). That’s important, because for 89% of respondents, the e-commerce experience needs to be as compelling and easy for them as it is for consumers.

Print Catalogs Suffer From Being Outdated

Further details from the hybris study, “2012 State of B2B E-Commerce” reveals that B2B procurers perceive the biggest drawback of ordering from print catalogs to be that they’re outdated (37.3%). Close behind, the second biggest complaint is difficulty finding product information due to an over-abundance of products to sort through (33%).

Other drawbacks pertain to difficulties with order tracking (14.6%) and placement (7.5%), as well as difficulty tracking inventory (7.5%). Each of these can presumably be met by online ordering.

Other Findings:

  • 94% of B2B procurers believe suppliers need to invest more to make their e-commerce experiences as effective as consumer websites.
  • Among procurers who own a smartphone, 89% report researching purchases through vendor websites. 3 in 5 research other websites such as Amazon Supply.
  • Interestingly, while the vast majority (85%) of respondents said it is easy to make purchases online, 87% still use sales representatives prior to making a purchase.
  • Social media matters for B2B, too. Among procurers who own a smartphone, 78% use social media at least weekly, and 49% do so at least daily. These procurers may provide an audience for B2B content marketers, 87% of whom say they’re using social media to distribute content.

About the Data: The 2012 State of B2B E-Commerce study contains results from 224 B2B procurement specialists on their preferences for conducting business through suppliers across a variety of channels. Respondents consisted of those with budgets ranging from less than $100,000 to greater than $5 million.

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