B2B e-commerce is becoming serious business for a growing number of purchasing managers in diverse industries, according to research.
In fact, more B2B buyers such as corporate procurement directors are shifting more of their buying online. For example, a B2BecNews recent survey of 111 business buyers at companies in a diverse range of industries, ranging from automotive and healthcare to food and beverage to consumer products, finds that nearly 50 percent of companies (48.3 percent) purchase products online at least once per week, including 16 percent that do so multiple times each week.
B2B buyers that already are using e-commerce sites also are shifting more of their corporate purchasing online. The survey finds that just about one-half of all companies—48.6 percent—now make up 50 percent to 74 percent of all corporate purchases online, including 23 percent that do at least 75 percent or more using B2B e-commerce.
“We’re seeing a shift away from more traditional procurement methods such as phone, fax and paper catalogs by corporate buyers that prefer the ease and convenience of e-commerce,” says Paul Miller, founder and CEO of Chicago e-commerce consulting firm PMA Digital Solutions and former president, global e-commerce, innovation and big data, at maintenance, repair and operations products distributor W.W. Grainger Inc. “E-commerce is taking hold because a lot more companies of all sizes see it as a better and more efficient way to do business.”
But even though B2B buyers are shifting more of their total buying online, that doesn’t mean that they are giving their e-commerce business to manufacturers, distributors or wholesalers with just an average or below average website. Instead, B2B buyers have high expectations for the B2B e-commerce sites they like and use the most and do extensive research before making purchasing decisions.
The B2B buyer at many organizations is the manager and director in charge of purchasing, but an executive who also often interacts with other managers and departments within their organization to research and buy products online. For example, the B2BecNews survey found that at 43.2 percent of companies the executive in charge of making purchases online was the executive vice president, senior vice president, vice president or director of purchasing.
At about 30 percent of other companies researching, selecting and making B2B e-commerce purchases was handled by the senior procurement manager with a title of director, vice president or higher, according to research and analysis in the 2018―Digital Commerce 360