Innovative new ecommerce platform

Buyer habits have started to evolve over the last decade with a mix of digital and physical interactions becoming more of the norm. Food & Beverage Industry News reports.

As with many other aspects of the food and beverage industry, changing demands and emerging trends are helping shape the B2B purchasing space as ecommerce platforms become more innovative.

Market research from ecommerce experts, BigCommerce, has found that 74 per cent of buyers are using online platforms for transactions and purchases, with half of those purchasing a ‘few times a week’.

To determine those key buyer expectations, BigCommerce surveyed 1,006 B2B buyers across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and developed their B2B Buyer Behaviour Report, detailing their findings.

“The way B2B buyers’ shop is changing, and B2B merchants need to adapt,” said Lance Owide, B2B general manager BigCommerce.

“Buyers are turning to online channels to research, compare, and purchase products. B2B merchants need to have a strong online presence and offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience to keep buyers loyal and converting, or risk losing market share.”

Buyers still use a host of avenues to source purchasing options, including catalogues (42 per cent), meaning the use of ecommerce platforms won’t spell the end of other traditional means, but instead will only widen and enhance brand exposure.

This is especially apparent with internet searches still being the number one method for finding purchasing options (68 per cent). Finding purchasing options is one thing, but turning those into sales is the next, and most important step, for companies.

Figures have shown buyers value the opinions of peers. For example, of those surveyed, the number one factor which impacted purchasing decisions was customer ratings and reviews.

Interestingly, promotions and marketing ranked highly, signalling the importance of strong B2B marketing campaigns, while trade events may be further behind as events are still ramping up globally after coming to an almost complete halt, during the pandemic.

A key takeaway from the report was that despite the move towards digitalisation, purchasers still showed a preference for physical media.

“To take advantage of this, merchants can use this as an opportunity to merge online and offline marketing tactics by including links (via QR code, etc.) in their physical marketing materials to their ecommerce stores,” the BigCommerce report stated.

Another of the important takeaways was to highlight the benefits of creating a multi-faceted sales platform to cater to the entire breadth of the market, so that a purchaser could go with their personal preference and not be forced into
one method.

The personal touch of a sales team is vitally important, and the use of ecommerce platforms like those provided by BigCommerce aren’t designed to replace the physical sales team.

“BigCommerce’s app and partner ecosystem coupled with its modern, API-first architecture and business flexibility mean that we’re easier to implement than many B2B ecommerce solutions, with a faster return on investment,” said Aaron Sheehan, director of competitive strategy BigCommerce.

“We get it — software needs to fit your business, not the other way around.” The report also looked into what B2B buyers are looking for when using ecommerce sites.

The leading benefit for buyers using ecommerce platforms, according to the survey, was the ability to easily compare prices with competitors. Followed by the ability to easily customise orders.

“While some value propositions were rated lower on average, looking at the data by region tells a different story,” the report stated.

“US and Australian respondents showed a much greater preference for the ability to purchase anytime, anywhere, while UK respondents were most interested in seeing total cost and live inventory.”

BigCommerce aims to use the data points to better inform its product offerings, and this is no more evident than the desire to address the most common ‘pain points’ experienced while purchasing online.

These include inaccurate pricing and shipping options, slow website load times, difficult to contact customer support, and complicated checkouts.

A desire for an easy to use and simplified platform was evident in most of the answers given in the survey.

“This highlights an opportunity for merchants to improve pricing accuracy and transparency across their sales channels,” the report stated.

In contrast to the above, the areas respondents were most complimentary of when conducting B2B purchasing online are all points which BigCommerce ensures are part of its software solutions.

These include detailed product information, custom pricing and discounts, account management, efficient reordering, bulk ordering, advanced search and navigation, and customisable quotes.

“B2B buyers are typically returning to make a repeat purchase or variation of a previous purchase,” said Alec Berkley, director, business development BigCommerce.

“Surfacing purchasing features that allow those buyers to easily reorder or modify past orders or shopping lists is going to become a necessity for suppliers to continue to provide a seamless purchasing experience for their buyers.”

BigCommerce’s key takeaways in this respect are a focus on basic website functionality to alleviate buyer frustrations and offering robust product information to make decision making easier.

A big selling point for employing the services and solutions provided by BigCommerce addresses another key issue that leads to loss of sales, that being technical issues on the site (31 per cent).

“This, along with a complicated checkout process (15 per cent), signal the importance of a smooth, effortless checkout experience,” the report stated.

This boils down to buyers being wary unless they can see accurate information, from products to shipping. Creating confidence in the security and accuracy of the B2B ecommerce platform.

“The way B2B buyers shop is changing, and B2B merchants need to adapt,” said Owide.

“Buyers are turning to online channels to research, compare, and purchase products. B2B merchants need to have a strong online presence and offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience to keep buyers loyal and converting, or risk losing market share.”

“It is also important for merchants to use an ecommerce platform that provides a solid foundation for basic functionality and the framework for future growth,” the report stated.

Download the full report to learn more about how your business can remain on the cutting edge of customer expectations.

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