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B2B ecommerce ‘needs to deliver personalisation’

A personalised commerce offering would persuade a third of b2b buyers to buy from a specific vendor, with half of those polled also asking for customer specific pricing as part of the buying experience.

Research undertaken by Sapio on behalf of Sana Commerce polled 560 B2B buyers worldwide, finding that a further 38 per cent of respondents felt tailored offers, and shipping options would make the purchasing process more personalised, while an additional 36 per cent also want personalised payment methods.

The survey, which identified what B2B buyers want, found that when it comes to how B2B buyers evaluate vendors price is still king. 33 per cent evaluate offerings on price, just under a third evaluate on payment terms, with delivery and stock availability coming in third and fourth.

B2B ecommerce sellers have however closed the gap on their B2C counterparts, and in some cases even overtaken them in terms of delivering a good customer experience. Respondents felt that the use of new technology, such as online portals and web chat functionality was better in a B2B environment.

Buying through new sales channels, such as social selling, voice ordering, mobile commerce, predictive ordering and easy checkouts however were still considered slightly better in B2C ecommerce.

Automation is also increasingly important for B2B buyers, the research found. Automated payments and purchases has already had an impact on the buying role in the past five years, and will continue to grow in importance with a buyers listing them as the top two factors that will have the biggest impact on their role in five years time.

Michiel Schipperus, CEO and Managing Partner at Sana Commerce, said: “Understanding buyer preferences is vital if organisations are going to successfully compete in such a volatile marketplace. Our research found that the list of B2B buying requirements is long and businesses need to ensure that they’re able to meet buyers’ KPIs through ecommerce to help drive efficiencies and deliver the best experience. 

“Ensuring that you’re systems are integrated with your ERP system so that you can offer your customers accurate stock levels, personalised pricing, and even complex buying scenarios will help brands stand apart.”

The survey revealed that the top three wish list for B2B buyers are great service (39 per cent), low prices (37 per cent).

The survey also revealed that majority of buyers want to buy online. 85 per cent of respondents buy half of all purchases via ecommerce, with 57per cent buying three quarters of all purchases online. 

However, you shouldn’t get rid of your sales teams just yet though, according to respondents. Being able to make a purchase offline is still crucial within the B2B marketplace.

Over half (57per cent) of respondents still want their quotes delivered by email, a third (34 per cent) would like someone to call them with a price and another third (36 per cent) would prefer access to quotes online. Email is considered to be one the most important B2B channel for buyers (41 per cent) closely followed by ecommerce (28 per cent) and phone (25 per cent).

Delivering a personalised omnichannel experience is more important than ever if suppliers want to retain customer loyalty.

Cost savings is a key aspect for B2B buyers, with the majority saying it was their main business target, while increasing efficiency of the purchase process was a KPI for over a third.

The survey sample covered food and beverage, electronics, building materials, medical supplies and automotive parts. For more insights download the report here.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Forum Insight: Top tips for social media success while attending B2B events

Whether you’re going to a big industry expo, specialist conference or attending one of our Forums or Summits, social media can help you get the most out of the event.

So we’ve pulled together five top tips to get you going…

  1. Get yourself up to date

Whether you’re an attending as a delegate or a supplier, make sure your personal and company social media profiles are up to date.

That’s everything from the logo and description to posting a few things to the account (whether that’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn) to make sure it looks active.

Don’t forget, a lot of the people you meet at the event will do some research on you and your company by way of a follow up ­­– you want to ensure they have a great first impression when they stumble across your social media on Google.

If you don’t have a social presence, you really, really, should. It takes no time at all to get the basics set up on Twitter or Facebook and there are plenty of ‘how to’ guides out there if you need some help with brand pages and the like.

  1. Do some research

So your social media accounts are up to date and ready to go, now you need to find out where the conversation’s going to be happening.

Twitter is will be where you’ll see most activity during a live event, so spend a little time before you get there doing some research – find out what the event Twitter handle is (follow it if you haven’t already) and what the official hashtag will be.

Also, make sure follow a few industry media outlets ­– this will help you keep track of what’s happening at the event while you’re ensconced in meetings all day.

  1. Start the pre-event hype

During the lead up to the event let everyone know you’re going – @mention the official account and use the hashtag. Let the world know you’re super-excited, particularly if you’re exhibiting or speaking – tell them what you’re going to being talking about or the products you’re going to be showing off. You can do this across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Also, think about using a company or campaign hashtag if you’re going to be doing special promotions during the event.

If you are promoting specific products or services, create a landing page on your website with data capture, just for the event in question – you can then push people there via social media so they can request more info.

  1. On the day…

The first thing to do is to check yourself in virtually across your social accounts – you’re in the building and you’re ready for business.

Now, if you have a busy event itinerary you’re not necessary going to have time to live tweet the entire thing. If that’s the case, say it with pictures – busy stand? Take a picture. See a great product on display? Take a picture. Sitting in an interesting conference session? Take a picture. It’s a quick and engaging way of getting your message across.

And if you spot something compelling, post a video.

You can also schedule posts in advance using tools such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to drive stand traffic or promoting products – and don’t forget to push people back to that website landing page.

Keep an eye on those industry news feeds – retweet or pass comment on any big announcements and get involved in the conversation.

  1. After the event

This is when you can have some fun. If you have a company blog, write up your experiences of the event. You don’t have to write an essay – 350-500 words would be sufficient – and then push that article out across your Twitter, Facebook and Linked in accounts.

Perhaps the most important post-event task is to follow up on all those delicious new leads and contacts you made – make sure you follow and like their social media accounts, both personal and company.

Finally, it’s worth searching the event hashtag and scrolling back through its timeline to catch up on the show news and, perhaps more importantly, see what your industry peers were up to…