The B2B buying process report

How to meet B2B buyers’ demand for (better) e-commerce

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75%
of B2B product purchases are already made online, but buyers want to make even more purchases online.
47%
of buyers conduct web searches to look for information during the B2B buying process.
1/3
of B2B buyers would be persuaded to choose a vendor based on the ability to place, pay for, track and return orders online.
1/4
of buyers indicated that automation is going to change the B2B buying role in the next 5 years.

In the report

For this report, we commissioned Sapio Research to survey 560 B2B buyers who purchase from manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors.

In the report, we review the role of and demand for e-commerce in the B2B buying process. We look into B2B buyers’ behavior and their current and future needs. We then advise you on how best to meet these needs — and explain how your business can also benefit.

Use these B2B buyer statistics and insights to better understand your B2B buyer persona, stay ahead of trends and gain a competitive edge during the buying decision process.

Key questions:

  • What role does e-commerce play in today’s B2B buying process?
  • How do you meet buyers’ growing demand for buying online?
  • What are the KPIs of B2B buyers? And how can you support them?
  • What aspects of the B2C online experience do buyers want in their B2B customer experience?
  • How can you prepare for the future of B2B buying??

The B2B buying process: what do B2B buyers want?

Our research found that, although 75% of product purchases are already made online, buyers are still not buying as much online as they’d like. While 30% of B2B buyers would prefer to purchase at least 90% of products online, only 19% are currently doing so. Therefore, companies must do more to meet this growing demand for B2B e-commerce.

But is meeting this demand as simple as offering buyers the ability to buy online? Or is there another reason why they are not buying more online? And how will B2B buying behavior change in the future?

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B2B buyer persona: get to know your buyer

Understand your B2B buyers’ behavior and priorities to better meet their needs during the buying process:

  • Buyers’ top 3 KPIs include cost savings, increasing the efficiency of the purchase process and internal client satisfaction.
  • Buyers’ organizations place an average of between 401 and 550 orders per day.
  • Automation is the activity most expected to change the B2B buyer role in the next 5 years.

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Beat the competition during the B2B buying decision process

Understand B2B buyer behavior during the purchase process to gain a competitive edge:

  • Almost 1/2 of buyers conduct web searches to look for information, potential solutions and providers.
  • On average, buyers evaluate between 3 and 5 vendors and suppliers before making a B2B buying decision.
  • More than 33% of B2B buyers would be persuaded to choose a vendor who offers online sales functionalities, including ordering through an online sales portal, tracking orders, managing returns and paying online.

 

Get advice on how to be selected as a vendor during the B2B buying process in our report.

Understand B2B Buyer Behavior in Your Region and Industry

For this report, we surveyed professional buyers from the North America (U.S. and Canada), UKI (U.K. and Ireland), DACH (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) and Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg) regions; and from sectors including automotive parts, building materials, electronics, medical supplies and food & beverage.

Some of the key differences that emerged between the different B2B buyer personas include:

  • B2B Buyers in the Benelux region experience online order errors with their top suppliers most often.
  • More buyers in the North America region selected cost savings as their top KPI than in any other region.
  • Buyers in the medical supplies sector have the strongest overall preference for accessing sales services and information online compared to other sectors.

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B2B vs B2C Buying Process: How to Improve the B2B Customer Experience

B2B buyers are also consumers accustomed to sleek B2C online buying experiences. Therefore, an optimized customer experience, in line with modern B2C shopping experiences, is essential during the B2B online buying process.

What aspects of their online consumer experience (B2C) are buyers looking for in their B2B customer experience? Our respondents indicated that ease and speed are key. See page 11 of the report for statistics on B2B buyers’ online customer experience priorities broken down by industry and region.