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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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.