New report shows B2B web stores in 2021 are failing to meet buyer expectations

By LitExtension

B2B web stores

Sana Commerce recently launched the 2022 B2B Buyer Report in early October. They commissioned Sapio Research to speak to over 1,200 B2B buyers about their current online buying experience. The results are both surprising and informative. They point to trends that have accelerated drastically in the last two years.

Buying online is now the most popular buying channel. B2B buyers are spending two-thirds more online than they did pre-pandemic. E-commerce has launched ahead of other buying channels. Unfortunately, the research shows that B2B suppliers aren’t keeping pace with the needs of buyers. The report reveals that over 50% of e-commerce sites do not fully meet the expectations of buyers.

B2B buying is evolving — and B2B selling must keep up

Companies are now placing over 400 business-critical orders online each day. But as more purchases have moved online, suppliers have not been able to scale to fit these needs. Here’s what the survey revealed:

  • 50% of web stores are not fully meeting the expectations of B2B buyers
  • 94% of B2B buyers have faced customer experience challenges online
  • Order errors have increased from 28% in 2019 to 37% today — that’s impacting $1.8 million in orders, per company, each year

Does that mean that B2B e-commerce web stores aren’t equipped to deliver accurate and reliable customer experiences? Not at all. It’s just time to prioritize B2B e-commerce the same way your customers do. If B2B buying is changing, then so must B2B sales.

Why order errors are up

The pandemic changed everything. Once social distancing became the norm back in March of 2020, traditional sales channels were suddenly unfeasible. Those who resisted digital transformation or didn’t prioritize online sales previously were now put in a position where they had to implement years’ worth of online investment within weeks.

Of course, the lack of attention paid to e-commerce was common amongst many manufacturers and distributors. This made it more difficult to scale because their current platforms were unable to accommodate the large influx of online buyers. This results in an increased weekly order rate of about 38% due to the lack of scalability.

The important point here is that B2B buyers dictate the direction of B2B sales. Online expansion would not have happened at this rate unless B2B buyers needed it, which they did.

Putting e-commerce top of mind

These order errors have put more pressure than ever to scale suppliers’ e-commerce offerings. The fact that B2B buyers were demanding these changes should be enough to motivate suppliers to make these changes. But if that’s not quite enough, there’s also a revenue motive. These increased order errors equate to $1.8m in orders being affected by errors per company, each year. To better understand the reason behind these order errors and their impacts, take a look at the in-depth analysis in the full report.

Relationships are vital in the B2B buying process

When buyers were asked what was most important to them in the B2B buying process, 81% of respondents identified the relationship between themselves and the supplier to be the top priority. Fostering this unilateral relationship is should not be ignored, with 84% of buyers saying they would be more likely to purchase from a supplier if they had a good relationship with them, even if their competitors had better sales terms.

However, this may not be enough by itself for suppliers to be successful. Despite relationships being so important, 39% of buyers listed customer experience as a major challenge with their suppliers. Once again, suppliers have a lot of room for improvement. For suppliers looking to raise their game, figuring out where your buyers are experiencing trouble and fixing those issues should be the most important priority to shore up your B2B business.

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