Study: More than Half of Corporate Buyers Use E-Commerce Today

But more would use it and they would spend more if purchasing were easier. About 57% of corporate buyers have purchased goods online, and 37% expect to increase the amount of their budget spent online in the coming year, according to the “2013 State of B2B Procurement Study” by research and marketing consultancy Acquity Group.

But a vast majority (71% of respondents) agreed or strongly agreed that they would increase their eCommerce spending even more if purchasing online were easier.  When choosing between two suppliers who carry the same product at the same cost, 71 percent of respondents indicated they would purchase from the supplier with easier electronic search and purchase processes, despite loyalty to a current supplier, the study showed.

Acquity Group’s study shows that 40% of corporate buyers spend at least half of their procurement budget online, but that many suppliers lack the online capabilities they demand.

Nonetheless, 59% of respondents are currently making major purchases online with varying frequency:

  • 27 percent make a major purchase of $5,000 or more once per month
  • 30 percent make a major purchase 2-4 times per month
  • 23 percent make a major purchase 5-11 times per month
  • 22 percent make a major purchase 11 or more per month

However, many B2B suppliers are missing out on this online revenue. “B2B suppliers have a significant opportunity to increase their revenue from eCommerce,” said Robert Barr, Senior Vice President at Acquity Group. “Our study revealed corporate buyers are comfortable and willing to make major purchases online – and many are already doing this, but not on suppliers’ websites. With online spend expected to rise in the next year, suppliers who don’t invest in eCommerce and multi-channel initiatives will miss out on revenue gains from this channel.”

Buyers want to experience the same kind of easy searching and purchasing on B2B sites that they have enjoyed on consumer sites, Barr points out. “B2B suppliers need to give their buyers a reason to go to their site,” said Barr. “Buyers are consuming content and shopping on a wide array of devices on consumer retail sites, and they’ve come to expect the same experience in their business purchasing.”

Payments continue to be one of the major obstacles to B2B eCommerce, the study showed. Because B2B sites have not streamlined the payment processes, which are far more complex than those used on consumer sites, the B2B eCommerce experience is still not as smooth as that of B2C.

As the world of B2B commerce migrates to B2B eCommerce, companies who can handle the unique requirements of B2B online payments along with the transaction, and in real-time, 24/7, with rich data, will quickly become the new winners.

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