The future of ecommerce is B2B

Posted on 27 May 2024 by The Manufacturer
Partner Content

BigCommerce surveyed over 1,000 B2B buyers to see what they value most when shopping online. According to eMarketer, ecommerce is the fastest-growing channel for B2B product sales, and US B2B ecommerce sales will exceed $2 trillion by 2024.

At the same time, eMarketer also states that while B2B ecommerce still plays a limited role in overall B2B transactions — the room for growth is enormous.

This opportunity is reflected in the latest research from BigCommerce. The results of BigComerce’s Global B2B Buyer Behavior Report, which surveyed B2B buyers across the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, show that 74% of B2B buyers transact or purchase using online platforms and 80% of buyers are making purchases online at least once per week.

“The way B2B buyers shop is changing. They’re turning to online channels to research, compare and purchase products,” said Lance Owide, General Manager of B2B at BigCommerce. “B2B merchants need to have a strong online presence and offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience to keep buyers loyal and converting.”

In fact, their journey is a mix of physical and digital interactions. While internet search results (65%) and online marketplaces (40%) prove to be the most frequently used ways that respondents find products, 42% discover products for their business from catalogues.

When it comes to the channels they use to make purchases, supplier websites and apps (75%) and B2B marketplaces (60%) were the most used by respondents, with in-store/at a vendor’s warehouse (47%) and sales representative (42%) less so.

Even though investing in ecommerce is paramount, buyers still value a personal touch. Those who can effectively arm their sales teams with the advantages of online channels will have the most success in the coming years.

As for why B2B buyers are purchasing online versus other channels, the majority of respondents indicated that being able to compare products and prices drives their purchasing decisions when compared to other value propositions.

Respondents also indicated that the two most important features for their online purchasing experience were detailed product information, which was defined as technical specifications, high-quality imagery and customer reviews, and custom pricing and discounts, which was defined as the ability to see pricing and discounts based on order history and volume.

However, when asked about the most frustrating part of the online shopping experience, respondents deemed inaccurate pricing and shipping costs (40%) most frustrating, followed by slow website loading times (29%) and difficulty contacting customer support (28%).

It’s clear that businesses should be investing in ecommerce technology that provides modern, customer-centric experiences. Remaining on decades-old legacy or bespoke platforms can prove to be costly, so now is the right time to start looking for alternatives.

“B2B buying habits have been through a tremendous transformation over the last few years, and BigCommerce’s platform makes it easy for merchants to meet those buyer expectations,” said Owide.

The checkout process is also critical step in ecommerce because even the slightest bit of friction can cause buyers to abandon their carts. Surpassing all other selections by a fairly wide margin, the top reason B2B buyers abandoned their carts was because of technical issues faced at checkout (31%). Lack of secure checkout was the second biggest reason for abandoned carts.

“B2B buyers want a checkout that’s fast and easy to navigate. They also need a checkout that’s safe, secure, and allows them to pay in ways that make the most sense for them,” explained Airon White, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at BigCommerce. “Looking for an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce, with PCI-compliant, optimised one-page checkout, enables B2B businesses to address these wants and needs.”

Overall the results reflect a continued blurring of lines between consumer retail and B2B ecommerce trends. B2B buyers increasingly expect the same experience they get as consumers: engaging mobile responsive sites, product and pricing transparency and a frictionless checkout experience.

Those businesses that can accelerate their digital maturity to deliver on these expectations are poised to become leaders in the next era of B2B ecommerce.

To get more insights, download the full Global B2B Buyer Behavior Report from BigCommerce.

For more articles like this, visit our Industrial Data & AI channel.