Email remains the leading B2B buying channel, topping ecommerce, according to How to Meet Buyers’ Demand For (Better) B2B E-Commerce, a study by Sana Commerce.
Of the buyers polled, 42% cite email as one of their most important purchase vehicle, versus 28% who chose ecommerce and 26% who chose the phone.
The reasons for email’s dominance are not clear.
“Could buyers be concerned that a web store won’t be able to provide them with accurate, individualized pricing and discounts based on their sales agreement?,” the study asks.
But there is bad news on ordering and sales. Of the 560 global B2B buyers polled, 81% report a decline in profitability due to order errors, and 84% have suffered a decrease in efficiency for the same reasons.
In addition, 44% of firms have suffered sales declines of over 11%, and some have taken hits of more than 225%.
One reason appears to be user entry mistakes that occur during the buying process — incorrect entries are cited by 28% But 28% also feel that inaccurate product information contributes to the errors.
Other reasons include incorrect inventory display (27%), inaccurate shipping information (25%) and wrong pricing information.
Errors are occurring on a frequent basis, with 44% overall reporting them once a fortnight, 20% weekly and 9% daily.
However, 55% in Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) are seeing problems once a fortnight, and 25% weekly. In addition, 48% in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are seeing errors during that time frame, as are 46% in the UK and Ireland.
In one graph quantifying online/offline channel preferences, Sana puts email in the offline category.
Despite all that, 75% of B2B buyers want to buy online.
“B2B organizations have embraced e-commerce as a route to market and as a way to remain competitive and reach new markets,” states Michiel Schipperus, CEO and managing partner at Sana Commerce. “But our research highlights the need for e-commerce platforms to deliver accuracy across all buying channels.”