B2B Buyers Prefer Email, But That's Only One Of Their Demands, Study Finds

Email remains the leading B2B buying channel, preferred by 41% of buyers vs. 28% who choose ecommerce per se and 21% who like the phone, according to How to Meet Buyers’ Demand For (Better) B2B E-Commerce, a study by Sapio Research done on behalf of Sana Commerce.

Moreover, 57% want quotes delivered by email. In contrast, 34% prefer a phone call and 36% seek access to quotes online.

Three-fourths of B2B product sales are now conducted online. And that fraction could increase as brands deliver more omnichannel experiences. 

Of those polled, 85% complete half of all purchases via ecommerce, and 57% buy 75% of goods and services online. 

Buyers still rely heavily on search when seeking information: 47% conduct web searches when looking for products and suppliers. And 37% visit preferred suppliers’ websites.

Another 36% are influenced by customer reviews, 31% on external salespeople, 30% on word of mouth and 30% by events and conferences. 

At the same time, 29% turn to marketing content like interactive webinars, video and podcasts and 26% on advertising content.

Buyers also want information delivered online: Overall, 62% prefer it, compared to 27% who like offline delivery. 

Among those polled, 67% want to see products and parts information online, 65% demand inventory availability and 63% delivery details. In addition, 62% hope to pay invoices online and 60% want information on payment terms. 

Price is a main draw for 33%, and almost 50% expect customer-specific pricing. Tailored offers are desired by 38%, and personalized payment methods by 36%.

Buyers also payment terms, delivery and stock availabilities.

B2b Buyers choose vendors based on these factors:

  • Ability to track orders online — 39%
  • Ability to order through an online sales portal — 38% 
  • Ability to manage returns online — 34% 
  • Ability to pay online — 33% 
  • Reference (customer) reviews — 33%
  • Offered automation —2 9% 
  • Online personalized buying experience — 29% 
  • Product videos — 27%
  • Recommendations from co-workers — 26%
  • An EDI connection — 21% 
  • Social selling — 18%
  • None of the above — 3%

“Our research found that the list of B2B buying requirements is long and businesses need to ensure that they’re able to meet buyers’ KPIs through ecommerce to help drive efficiencies and deliver the best experience,” concludes Michiel Schipperus, CEO and managing partner at Sana Commerce. 

The research is based on responses from 560 B2B buyers worldwide.



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