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INFOGRAPHIC: 49% of B2B buyers prefer making purchases on B2C websites

Forty-nine per cent of B2B buyers prefer making work-related purchases on B2C websites, with 52 per cent expecting at least half of their purchases to be made online in three years’ time, according to new research from Accenture

As a result, 83 per cent of B2B suppliers surveyed are either in the process of implementing or upgrading their ecommerce platform or planning to do so within six months. 

When asked to cite the top features or functions they would most like from suppliers in the selling process, most business buyers chose enhanced search functionality on their website (60 per cent), followed by showing ratings and reviews of products and services (58 per cent) and improved personalised product or service recommendations (50 per cent). 

Additionally, nearly 69 per cent of business buyers prefer to use direct, instant online forms of payment, such as credit cards or payment systems, rather than purchase orders and invoices. 

The research showed that suppliers are responding to buyers needs: in the next 18 months 48 per cent are planning to improve their search functionality on their website, and 42 per cent are planning to enhance personalised product or service recommendations for their business customers. Already 86 per cent of B2B sellers allow customers to use credit or debit cards when making a purchase, and 79 per cent allow online payment services.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of B2B suppliers (66 per cent) acknowledged that shifting customer expectations are driving their technology investments in omni-channel initiatives, such as implementing or upgrading ecommerce platforms and mobile services. More than eight out of 10 B2B companies (83 per cent) agree that an omni-channel strategy is critical to a company’s long-term success by driving more sales and profit. Additionally, 85 per cent recognise tech investment decisions will be centered on the omni-channel strategy.

However, respondents said the biggest barrier to implementing an omni-channel approach is the difficulty in integrating back-office technology across channels (cited by 44 per cent of suppliers), followed by difficulty in sharing customer data and analytics across the organisation (42 per cent), limits by distribution partners, franchises or wholesale customers (40 per cent), and conflict between channel organisations (36 percent). 

Brigid Fyr, managing director for North America omni-channel commerce, Accenture Interactive, commented on the findings: “Business buyers are coming online with high expectations across the board. 

“With three out of four buyers stating they would buy again from a supplier with an easy-to-use website, sellers have a large opportunity for growth by focusing on making the entire purchasing experience as easy as ordering a book online or downloading music onto a smartphone.”