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B2B buyers are showing little loyalty to once-favoured suppliers
By our News Team | 2023
In some instances, a remarkable 90% of respondents to a survey said they have switched to a new supplier for certain business purchases.
Significant changes have taken place in the business-to-business environment over the past year. Among other things, a surprising 90% of South African respondents to a just-published global survey said they have switched to a new supplier for certain business purchases.
The main reasons for the switch include logistical issues affecting fulfilment etc., changes in payment terms, better-bundled discounts, stock issues and price increases.
Photo by Alexander Isreb from Pexels
Rising inflation and the cost of raw materials and fuel/energy has further added pressure on business-to-business (B2B) buyers, with most respondents saying they were left with little choice but to switch loyalty away from previously favoured suppliers.
As part of the new B2B Future Shopper report by the Wunderman Thompson agency, more than 200 South African respondents who are active in the final decision-making process for buying products for their company were surveyed in November 2022. These participants included purchase managers, procurement managers, purchasing clerks, agents, purchasers, and C-suite executives across multiple industries.
“There’s also been a shift to more online interaction, with, on average, those surveyed revealing that 59% of their B2B purchases are indeed made online. This figure is expected to increase to 69% within the next five years,” Wunderman notes.
Online B2B buying is too complicated for many
“That said, half of them describe the online experience as more ‘complicated’ than the traditional offline way of buying. Reasons cited include stock availability, poorly presented product information, and poor search functionality on online platforms.”
Eighty-one percent (81%) want to buy from sites that perform faster and offer a more seamless experience. They’re looking for better product imagery, more video content and virtual workshops that educate them about products.
According to the researchers, this has implications for B2B online platforms from a content, customer journey and user experience perspective. Eighty-three percent (83%) of respondents reference being able to engage in online sales rooms and offer responses on the interaction. These factors clearly point to the need for offering B2B buyers truly omni-channel experiences.
“There is a disconnect between the way B2B buyers want to shop and the options available to them. They’re telling us they believe sellers may not understand the friction points in the current online B2B buying process and are looking for it to be less complicated,” says Walter Kashiri, growth lead for Wunderman Thompson’s South Africa-based commerce and technology efforts.
“There’s work to be done to meet this growing sentiment, and we believe it’s going to reframe website, app and marketplace project spend, as well as entire business operating models, down the line.”
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