A survey of B2B procurement officers has B2B spending increasing 11 percent (year over year), but such purchases are faring poorly online. This has caused many of those B2B sales to go to Amazon and other large E-Commerce sites.
“The more progressive B2B (suppliers) who made the investments and took the leap in the last few of years are poised to garner a significant and differentiated advantage going forward,” said Bob Barr, managing director at Acquity Group, which commissioned the report, according to a story in CMSWire. “Those organizations still trying to convince themselves that their customers are going online (rather than calling a sales rep) are increasingly at risk of joining the great brands that were once great but are no more.”
The report, based on interviews with 500 procurement officer with annual purchasing budgets of more than $100,000, stressed three stats: Nearly 70 percent of B2B buyers made a purchase online last year; the number of procurement officers that spent 90 percent or more of their total budget online doubled last year; and that nearly half of respondents said they researched company products on a smartphone or tablet.
The report detailed various stats supporting the argument that B2B firms are losing money by insufficiently focusing on online support for customers.
“Although buyers are researching and spending more online, suppliers are not capturing a large enough share of the market. Fifty-seven percent of business buyers have made an online purchase of $5,000 or more in the last year, and 66 percent of business buyers say they make a major purchase of $5,000 or more (online or via print, or telephone) at least once per month. But less than half (48 percent) of respondents purchase goods online directly from suppliers, opting instead for third-party websites and other purchasing channels,” the report said. “Among third-party websites, Amazon Supply is the most popular—nearly one in five (17 percent) of B2B buyers use Amazon Supply to make a business purchase regularly and 38 percent of B2B buyers make a purchase using the service at least once per quarter. ”
There are also concerns about information-sharing. Many buyers are now going directly to vendor sites to see full product information, even though they were already on their B2B supplier site. By forcing buyers to go elsewhere to obtain basic product details, they are putting sales at risk.
“These findings reveal a significant gap between the information procurement officers want and the content that B2B websites currently provide. This is despite the fact that many suppliers appear to be adapting to changing preferences among B2B buyers. Only 3 percent of procurement officers in 2014 reported that their suppliers do not have an online catalog, compared with 11 percent in 2013,” the report said.