Survey: B2B web store woes drive manufacturing buyers elsewhere


The digital landscape of industrial commerce is evolving rapidly, with manufacturing buyers increasingly turning to online channels for their procurement needs.

However, the promise of seamless online transactions is clouded by a harsh reality: suppliers' B2B web stores are failing to deliver. A recent survey conducted by Sapio Research and commissioned by Sana Commerce revealed that while 77% of manufacturing buyers shop online three or more times per week, persistent order errors have left 77% reluctant to make online B2B purchases. Additionally, 71% are prepared to switch suppliers if another B2B web store offers a better experience.

"In the wake of our latest B2B Buyers Report, it's become undeniably clear that the manufacturing sector's ecommerce platforms are not meeting the critical needs of their buyers,” said Sebastiaan Verhaar, CEO, Sana Commerce. 

“As manufacturing continues to push forward with digital transformation, accuracy and precision in ecommerce solutions are not just nice-to-have features but indispensable assets. More than any other, the manufacturing industry requires efficiency and resilience to thrive amidst constant challenges. This report underscores advanced technology's pivotal role in navigating these challenges and turning them into opportunities for growth and innovation. 

“At Sana Commerce, we are committed to delivering solutions that empower manufacturers to exceed their buyers' expectations, ensuring every digital interaction is seamless, accurate, and efficient." Other key findings from the survey include:

Suppliers: when it comes to your web stores, you got some ‘splaining to do!

Over three-quarters of manufacturers are making more than 100 online orders with suppliers daily. Additionally, 93% of these orders are repeat purchases, indicating the potential for e-commerce in the manufacturing sector is clear. 

However, despite this surge in online activity, many manufacturers still face barriers to seamless digital procurement. When asked about the roadblocks to seamless online ordering, several common challenges emerged. Chief among them were a lack of accurate information about pricing (34%) and stock levels (34%). 

Additionally, 30% cited inadequate product information, while 29% expressed a desire for more extensive payment options like pay by link, multi card payment, accounts receivable or payment platforms. Notably, a quarter of respondents (25%) highlighted the user-unfriendliness of current web stores as a significant deterrent to increased online ordering.

Order errors and inaccurate stock levels are supply chain’s new snags

The survey highlighted significant dissatisfaction among manufacturers regarding current suppliers’ web store experiences. Only 33% were content with the speed, accessibility, and efficiency provided, underscoring the urgent need for enhancements. Leading frustrations included inaccuracies in stock, pricing, and delivery details (44%), challenges in locating desired products (41%), and limited payment choices (40%). Furthermore, a staggering 97% cited order errors as a barrier to online ordering, with 77% encountering such issues. Alarmingly, nearly one-third (29%) faced order errors in over half of their online transactions, emphasizing the critical need for more reliable and accurate online systems.

Manufacturers reveal their digital deal-breakers - prompting the question: is it time to switch suppliers?

In the world of online procurement, the relationship between manufacturers and suppliers hinges on the quality of their digital interactions. The survey showed that 99% of manufacturers agree that a poor online buying experience significantly impacts their supplier relationships, with 38% deeming the impact as highly consequential. 

Moreover, the potential for suppliers to lose business is evident, as 71% of manufacturers express a readiness to switch suppliers who can offer better online experiences, with an additional 26% being extremely inclined to do so. This sentiment is further underscored by the fact that 60% of respondents would promptly switch to a different supplier after encountering multiple subpar online buying encounters. 

As for the features most coveted by manufacturers in online transactions, access to comprehensive order status, history, and invoices tops the list at 41%, closely followed by a full product range catalog (37%) and effortless product or order information searches (36%).

About The B2B Buyer Report

The report is based on research conducted during the summer of 2023 by SAPIO Research on behalf of Sana Commerce. SAPIO Research surveyed a group of 1,000 professional buyers from manufacturers (372), retailers, wholesalers and distributors across the US, UK, Mexico, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands.

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