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B2B buyers top 10 most wanted omni-channel experiences

B2B buyers' top 10 most wanted omni-channel experiences

Companies in the distributive trades have seen a massive shift in their customers’ expectations, in recent years. B2B customers, whether they are builders or plumbers, retailers or manufacturers, car mechanics or caterers, are consumers as well. As such, they have got used to rich omni-channel experiences when shopping for personal items, and expect to have the same ease, convenience and level of service when buying goods for business use.

A report by Forrester (Forrester White Paper: Building The B2B Omni-Channel Commerce Platform Of The Future) shows that nearly half of B2B buyers prefer to make work-related purchases on the same websites they use for personal purchases, and that more than half expect 50% of their purchases to be made online by 2017.

The top 10 things business customers rated important:

  1. 78% want next day delivery, and 61% want same day delivery.

    Retailers such as Amazon and Argos are driving intense competition on delivery times for consumer goods. Both offer same day delivery and Amazon can deliver within the hour, albeit only in some postcodes. Whilst we aren’t suggesting that companies in the distributive trades should match these tight timescales, next day delivery is starting to look like a minimum requirement.

  2. 77% want to see real-time inventory information online.

    For customers, the ability to order a crucial part, or to stock up on an essential supply, may be the difference between completing a job and having workers idle. There is no point in offering speedy delivery if customers can’t browse inventory to know, before completing the order process, whether the goods they want are in stock.

  3. 74% want to look up product information across any channel.

    A customer working on-site or in the field may need to check which part or material they need to complete a job. They may want to do that from a mobile device, or they may wish to call your customer support to check which product they ordered last time. In either case, the information needs to be easily accessible in real time.

  4. 73% wanted to buy from branch and ship direct to them. This is more convenient than taking goods away, especially for bulk purchases.

  5. 72% want to self-service their own account and orders. Busy tradespeople often do their paper-work out of hours – and need access to your systems when you aren’t there to support them.

  6. 70% want to download product information and/or sales sheets – for convenience and sharing in the field.

  7. 68% want to view their activities across all channels – again for convenience, and to fit with the way they want to work.

  8. 64% wanted to return or exchange across different channels. Customers aren’t interested if your systems won’t support your drivers picking up returned goods that were bought via the trade counter.

  9. 64% want to schedule deliveries by time of day. As in point 1, convenience is all.

  10. 62% want to share unified account and order history across channels. Again, this supports the way that customers want to work.

Building an omni-channel strategy to satisfy customers’ demands isn’t simple, and can’t be done in a day. It requires an integrated approach across all touchpoints in the B2B buyer journey, as well as the right platform to provide that integrated approach.

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Categories: eCommerce

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