The majority of B2B buyers—87 percent—are purchasing online, but only 11 percent say it is their channel of choice, showing there is definite room for improvement when it comes to digital B2B ecommerce experiences, according to a new study from Oracle Commerce Cloud and Mirakl.
Age does play a factor when it comes to B2B buying behavior: Millennials are 14 percent more likely to make business purchases through an online marketplace than Baby Boomers, and 16 percent more likely than Gen-X. But no matter what the age group, approximately 70 percent said they value the option to buy online because of less negotiation and a smoother sales process.
Still, there is work to be done: 56 percent of respondents said they feel there is a gap between the experiences offered by B2B sellers and their needs.
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“The B2B purchasing channels offered today are not cutting it for today’s business buyers. As a result, buyers are still relying on outdated purchasing channels and businesses are left with missed sales opportunities,” said Jeri Kelley, senior product strategist, Oracle Commerce Cloud.
An RFP process was the buying channel of choice for 41 percent of respondents overall; 26 percent cited marketplaces like Amazon or Alibaba; 14 percent said person-to-person via a salesperson; 11 percent said ecommerce or mobile; and 8 percent said e-procurement systems.
Broken out by age, Boomers showed the highest preference for the traditional RFP process and in-person sales. Millennials were the biggest users of online marketplaces, while Gen X showed the most preference for digital channels and e-procurement.
What keeps B2B buyers from using digital channels? Complex pricing or negotiated terms (67 percent) and subscription and licensing requirements (51 percent) that might be difficult to execute online were cited as roadblocks.