Social media and technology have changed the way people research and buy products. Unfortunately, B2B suppliers, manufacturers, and organizations have had a hard time adapting to this new and quickly evolving reality.
With that idea in mind, the team behind digital marketing company Acquity Group surveyed 500 U.S.-based procurement officers with annual purchasing budgets of $100,000 and more to understand B2B consumers’ purchasing habits and preferences on the Web.
Here is what the 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study reveals:
- Almost 7 in 10 respondents buy products online. Actually, the number of consumers who spend at least 90 percent of their budgets online has doubled since 2013. And that trend will not slow down this year.
- More than half of those who made online purchases in 2014 chose not to deal with suppliers directly. They opted for platforms such as Amazon Supply, which offer a more frictionless ordering process.
- Online research has become a de facto practice for most B2B buyers (94 percent). Fifty-five percent of them do so for at least half of their business purchases.
- Consumers want to be able to compare prices. Supplier websites, Google Search, third-party platforms, user product reviews, blogs, and social networks are their favorite sources in that regard. The former, however, seem to offer little in the way of information.
- Mobile rules! Many B2B buyers conduct research from a mobile device (44 percent), especially Millennials. For example, more than half of workers in the 18-25 age group use smartphones or tablets for procurement research. And more than a third have made a corporate purchase using a mobile device.
So, how can suppliers capitalize on those changes? “Website optimization” is the keyword here.
Companies should incorporate enhanced features and streamline the user experience. By making the research-through-purchase path as intuitive as possible, they will lower shopping cart abandonment rates.
“Sixty-seven percent of procurement officers said the amount of their budget spent online would increase with value-add features such as warranty tracking, notifications, invoice printing capabilities and the ability to consolidate and record spending,” says the study. “Additionally, 61 percent of buyers would increase their online budget spend if it were easier and more convenient to browse and purchase items from suppliers’ websites.”
MDG Advertising compiled the study’s main findings into an infographic. Check it out below.
Infographic by MDG Advertising
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