What Do B2B Online Customers Want in 2015? And what W.W. Grainger® and MSC Industrial® are achieving by doing it!
B2B customers are increasingly researching and buying products online, but many B2B companies websites are not yet meeting their expectations. That seems to be the bottom line from an Acquity Group survey of 500 B2B buyers for Management Consultancy Accenture’s 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study.
Other key findings include:
- 68% purchased goods online in 2014; up from 57% in 2013
- 46% spent at least 50% of their budgets online last year (18% spent 90% or more of their budgets - this is double the amount in 2013!)
- 94% conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product; 55% research online for at least half of their corporate purchases
- 83% say supplier websites are their most popular channel for conducting research online; only 12% want to meet in person with a sales representative!
Customers want more robust digital catalogs, faster page load times and a cleaner checkout experience from supplier websites.
For Industrial B2B Suppliers (Manufacturers and Distributors), here are our 4 key takeaways on what this means:
- Like their colleagues in other verticals, industrial B2B buyers are researching and buying more online. They are becoming more independent and partial to self-service buying.
- Google and Supplier websites are the most popular channels for online research but most buyers are not satisfied with available content. (strong>Industrial Suppliers must address this gap between what B2B buyers want and the content their B2B websites provide. This starts with a robust digital catalog that provides SEO and the features Industrial buyers expect, including prices and useful product information and content (such as 3D CAD Models) to attract and engage customers.
- Industrial Suppliers that bridge this gap are increasing customer engagement and revenue. They also get faster ROI on their online investments, for example, see these Global Tooling, “The site ...paid for itself in new business within 3 months. This has yielded the fastest and best ROI of any marketing investment I have ever made!" and RTS case studies or look at these recent public industrial company results:
- At MSC Industrial Supply® Co., e-Commerce is providing all its 7.8% increase in fiscal first quarter sales, to $731.1 million from $678.5 million a year - see details here.
- At W.W. Grainger® Inc. e-Commerce grew 16% in 2014, accounted for 95% of its 2014 revenue growth and is now 36% of total revenue - see details here.
- Price remains key to buying decisions but customer experience, including the online experience, is wide open for competition. As the report puts it, "While B2B organizations can’t always compete on price, they can compete on customer experience. There are many features B2B organizations can consider providing in their online experiences to streamline the research and purchasing process, and capture more online sales."
That's what we think, please let us know what you think below.