Transparent prices and product details most influence enterprise B2B decision-makers’ willingness to buyÂ again from a supplier for work-related purchases, according to results from a study [pdf] commissioned by Accenture and hybris and conducted by Forrester Consulting. Interestingly, the supplier’s omni-channel capabilities emerge as a far lesser reason for repeat purchasing, despite vendors’ belief that their customers have expectations for a consistent omni-channel experience.
As part of the study, more than 1,300 business decision-makers around the world from companies with more than 1,000 employees were asked to rank the 5 most important factors (of 7 listed) influencing their willingness to buy again from a supplier. Transparent pricing and product details emerged asÂ the top-ranked factor for a leading 19% of respondents, and was a top-5 factor for 53% of respondents. Interestingly, excellent customer service and post-purchase support was only the top-ranked factor for 7% of respondents, although 53% placed it within their top 5.
Personalization emerges as a critical factor, though not necessarily a broadly-held one. Personalized recommendations based on tracking of purchasing behavior across different channels was ranked the top factor for repeat purchases by some 16% of respondents, second only to transparent pricing and product details. However, only 35% ranked it as one of their top-5 factors, indicating that while it is very important for some buyers, it’s a much smaller factor for others.
One of the interesting results pertains to omni-channel capabilities. Fewer than 1 in 10 buyers cited this as their top-ranked factor for supplier loyalty, and only one-third indicated it to be one of their top-5 factors (the fewest of any factor). That’s despite customer expectations being the leading driver behind B2B vendors’ investments in omni-channel initiatives, per sellers surveyed for the report.
It may well be that a supplier’s omni-channel capabilities are simply that: expected. And as such, they are not top of mind for buyers when thinking about loyalty to a supplier. The report’s findings certainly show that the online and offline worlds are blurring: 98% of buyers conduct at least some online research on the work-related purchases that they make offline. That includes three-quarters of buyers (up from 66% last year) who are conducting online research for at least 25% of their offline purchases.
Moreover, some 63% of decision-makers surveyed said that the share of total work purchases made online is increasing. This is consistent withÂ data cited in MarketingCharts’ 2015 B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report attests, in which CMOs from US B2B product and service companies now estimate that more than 10% of their sales are through the internet.
Meanwhile, almost half of buyers surveyed said that they’ve bought more online because they saw a recommendation, potentially indicating the benefits of personalization for sellers. Yet vendors are finding challenges in creating a personalized experience acrossÂ all stages of the buying journey, ranging from a low of 57% finding it challenging to personalize in theÂ advocacy stage to a high of 66% finding it challenging in the awareness stage.
Part of the problem may be that data about individual customers isn’t readily available across sales and marketing channels. In fact, only customer name (60%) and level of satisfaction (56%) are available in all channels for a majority of vendors; data such as past purchase history (47%) and products/services researched (40%) are available in all channels for a minority.
For more on the ways in which B2B vendors have been working to meet B2B buyers’ omni-channel desires, see last year’s study from Accenture and hybris.
For more on B2B digital marketing trends and benchmarks, see MarketingCharts’ recent study, the 2015 B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report.
About the Data: For the study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 1,307 buyers in North America, Europe, Latin America, and APAC, and 750 business decision-makers in the same regions. The study began in August 2015 and was completed in September 2015.
Almost one-quarter (23%) of buyers surveyed are from the US, and 58% are from companies with at least 5,000 employees. Four in 10 spent more than $50,000 on products over the past year.
Almost half (46%) of the sellers surveyed come from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue.