Billtrust, a B2B accounts receivable automation and integrated payments leader, has released new findings from a proprietary in-depth research study, commissioned by Billtrust and conducted by Paradoxes Inc., defining the current state of B2B ecommerce experiences in the U.S.
The research, informed by input from 508 buyers and suppliers in the HVAC, electrical, janitorial/sanitation, plumbing and general contracting spaces, has uncovered significant shifts in how organizations are buying and selling today. Specifically, factors such as the global pandemic, a younger workforce and the evolution of B2C ecommerce experiences have accelerated the rate at which B2B organizations are conducting business online. In fact,80% of buyers across verticals say that they frequently purchase supplies online.
Further illustrating a stark departure from relationships traditionally built on in-person interactions, 60% of service providers say that their supplier’s ecommerce experience is “very important” to their relationship with the supplier. Additionally, 67% of B2B buyers report switching to vendors that offer a “more consumer-like” experience.
“The reality is, the consumerization of B2B and the acceleration of ecommerce adoption is showing no sign of slowing,” said Flint Lane, founder and CEO, Billtrust. “With Billtrust’s study illuminating buyers’ desire for B2B ecommerce experiences that resemble those they enjoy in their personal lives, it’s clear there’s a massive opportunity for suppliers to win business and boost ROI by tailoring their offerings accordingly. With the vast majority of buyers reporting an increase in profits from ecommerce buying, adopting a digital-first mentality is a win-win.”
eCommerce Buy-In Boosts Buyers’ Bottom Line: Notably, all service providers saw an increase in profits from using ecommerce, with 41% of B2B buyers saying their profits increased by 25 – 49% and just over a quarter (26%) saying their profits increased by 50 – 75%.
Covid-19 Accelerated the Shift to Online: The vast majority (88%) of wholesalers and suppliers to the contracting, electrical, HVAC, janitorial/sanitation and plumbing trades have deployed an online ecommerce ordering option. The majority of trade orders (52%) are now flowing through ecommerce platforms, and just under a third (30%) of service providers say they order solely via ecommerce portals.
The “Amazon Effect” is Impacting B2B: Among service providers, shipping speed, availability and price are the top-ranked performance factors in seeking a supplier.Beyond this, the ability to understand the quantity or depth of supply is an emerging requirement, raising the opportunity for ecommerce providers to offer integration with inventory management, logistics or ERP systems.
Efforts to Modernize CX is Paying Off for Suppliers and Wholesalers: eCommerce deployment has increased wholesale/supplier revenue by an average of 49%. Janitorial/sanitation organizations reported the largest increase in revenue of 55%.
Gaps Exist Between Buyer and Supplier Expectations: Suppliers told Billtrust that they think clear pricing, a simple search function and accurate product descriptions have the greatest influence on business. Buyers seem to consider features that prioritize speed and convenience – like fast shipping, better integrations and more flexible financing options – more favorably.