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B2B Buyer Expectations Accelerate

June 17, 2021

Avionos released its fourth annual B2B commerce report, "No More Excuses: The Time for B2B Digital Transformation is Now." The report highlights the impact of the pandemic on the acceleration of B2B organizations’ digital transformation and how it raised buyer expectations for eCommerce experiences.

To further understand the maturation of B2B eCommerce and what it means for suppliers going forward, Avionos surveyed 150 B2B buyers in manufacturing, financial services and consumer packaged goods (CPG) with over $250 million in annual revenue on their preferences and experiences. The study revealed 90% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor if a supplier's digital channel couldn't keep up with their needs, up from 88% in 2020. It’s clear that suppliers can’t deliver subpar eCommerce experiences, especially when it comes to common frustrations around product specifications and configurations.

The 2021 B2B Buyer Report uncovered buyers’ own digital transformations in their personal lives over the course of the pandemic heightened their expectations for B2B digital experiences. Almost all (96%) buyers have made a purchase for their company online since March 2020, and 63% plan to make more than half of their purchases online in 2021. With no slow down in sight for online B2B buying, suppliers need to be strategic about how they build relationships and create experiences to stay competitive.

“What we’re seeing now is an acceleration in the B2B space that has pushed five years of innovation into one,” said Scott Webb, CEO of Avionos. “Before the pandemic, many B2B buyers were only making purchases from their cubicles or working directly with salespeople to make large scale purchases, but with the onset of remote work they’ve had no choice but to change the way they buy, further embracing eCommerce. Buyers are now accessing commerce sites on their own time through laptops and mobile devices, increasing the likelihood of making purchases anywhere, at any time. In turn, organizations have further digitized internal processes like invoicing and removed tedious procurement processes. Ultimately, this evolution in buying has made it even more noticeable when there is friction in the buying process, making it that much more important for suppliers to continue to innovate and improve their experiences.”

Key findings from the report include:

B2B buyers will pay a premium for great eCommerce experiences: 87% of buyers would pay more for a supplier with an excellent eCommerce portal, up from 81% in 2020 and 74% in 2019.

Finding up-to-date product information is increasingly challenging: 48% of buyers said finding up-to-date product or service information was a top challenge when researching purchases, up from 19% in 2020.

B2B suppliers’ technology doesn’t always integrate well with buyers’ technology: 42% of buyers said difficulty integrating suppliers’ tech solutions with their own solutions was a top pain point with supplier technology.

B2B companies should embrace ongoing change: 68% of buyers strongly agree that B2B companies must become more comfortable with change to thrive in the post-pandemic era.

“Now that B2B buyers are more comfortable with a remote buying experience, it’s up to suppliers to deliver,” said Dan Neiweem, co-founder and principal at Avionos. “Innovation was once a slow and steady process in the B2B space, eons behind the B2C experience. Now B2B suppliers have had a year to catch up, and they’ll need to continue this digital-first focus to retain loyal buyers and attract new business. This means becoming more comfortable with change, and more agile to meet quickly evolving expectations.”

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