Study Shows B2B Buyers Holding Sellers to Higher Standards

Shopping-Cart-KeyboardA study released this October by Forrester Consulting titled, “The Rise of the Empowered B2B End User Buyer,” looked at what B2B buyers expect from sellers. Researchers determined that 30 percent of respondents said that they are not concerned about company procurement policies in place, meaning they often make purchases from B2B sellers on their own terms. In turn, this data highlights an opportunity for B2B sellers to forge lasting relationships with buyers through positive shopping experiences.

“B2B sellers should continue to foster their ongoing and deep relationship with their procurement customers,” wrote the authors of the report. “However, to avoid being left behind, they must court the ‘rogue’ business end user buyer by offering the right experience, information, and support.”

The data in the study indicates that B2B buyers are holding sellers to higher standards. Approximately 35 percent of buyers expect an online seller to offer fast shipping, while 32 percent said they expect tracking functionality.

About 52 percent of respondents said that they purchase products themselves, rather than through corporate procurement functions, because it’s faster and more convenient. Approximately 30 percent said that they thought they could research options better themselves. A total of 85 percent of respondents said that they make purchases right at their desk during working hours.

This data indicates that convenience, an abundance of information, and an overall positive shopping experience is the key to keeping B2B buyers coming back for more.

B2B Buyers and Research

The “2014 State of B2B Procurement” study conducted by the Acquity Group shows that 94 percent of B2B buyers do some research online before making a purchase. About 68 percent of those who were surveyed said that they purchase items online, compared to 57 percent who said they did so back in 2013.

The researchers surveyed 500 buyers with annual procurement budgets of $100,000 across a wide range of industries. The goal was to help marketing leaders and IT officers in B2B companies gain a better understanding of buyer habits.

A total of 30 percent of B2B buyers said they research at least 90 percent of the products they buy on the Internet before making the purchase. This is a 22 percent increase from 2013. However, only 48 percent of respondents said that they purchased items directly from a supplier’s website.

“B2B buyers in the United States are more active online than ever before, spending more time and company dollars in the digital space,” wrote the authors of the study. “However, few are successfully leveraging their suppliers’ websites to find the information and make the purchases they need — representing a significant missed opportunity for B2B organizations.”

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— Silvina El Baba, Senior Manager, Web Marketing, EFI

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