BlogB2B EcommerceHow eCommerce is failing B2B buyers – and how you can make it right

How eCommerce is failing B2B buyers – and how you can make it right

Thanks to the recent boom in eCommerce, chiefly due to the worldwide pandemic, more and more B2B uniform manufacturers are finding themselves going digital in order to sell and move their products as quickly as before. In fact, according to Sana Commerce’s B2B Buying Process 2019 report, which polled over 500 buyers, they discovered in their findings that buyers now purchase on average 75% of their products online. But they also realized that less than a fifth of B2B buyers are purchasing 90% or more of their products online even though nearly a third would prefer to do so. And there’s a very clear reason as to why that is: vendors are failing to meet the needs of those buyers.

This forces some buyers to make purchases through email, which offers less in the way of automation and features that would otherwise improve or streamline the buying experience. So, why is this? Why are B2B buyers making purchases through email?

The Buying Experience

Everyone talks about how important the buying experience is for B2B uniform buyers, but few truly understand what that notion means. B2B buyers want an easier checkout system. They want a function that allows for repeat uniform ordering. They want more shipping methods and payment offerings like employee allowances, payroll deductions, etc. However, uniform vendors are failing to offer these essential features and so, they aren’t creating the optimized buying experience that B2C consumers expect and are receiving.

B2B buyers are not that different from B2C buyers. They want the same treatment because at the end of the day, they’re all just buyers at heart. When they aren’t at work, they’re regular consumers, too. The experience they have on Amazon as a customer sets a standard that they feel is necessary for the B2B buying experience to have, as well. It’s no surprise that B2B buyers expect things like quick shipping, order tracking, different payment methods, more selections, etc.

Most of these are basic requirements in the B2C space. Retailers can’t expect to survive in this space without them. However, offering an optimized customer experience such as this isn’t always as straightforward or even realistic for B2B vendors. The ordering process for those vendors, at times, can be far more complex. Prices for buyers may not always be the same. Discount offerings may be different. Payment terms can vary from customer-to-customer. The fact that this level of complexity is associated with B2B uniform buying may suggest why 44% of buyers that Sana surveyed indicated that they experience online order errors at least every other week. Some of the discrepancies between experiences usually include: incorrect product information, inconsistent pricing, and more.

Uniform vendors can combat these issues by investing in eCommerce software technology that can automate and streamline the ordering process for B2B buyers while ensuring that more payment methods such as payroll deduct and allowances can be offered to consumers and pricing and product information is consistent across the board.

However, for uniform manufacturers, finding an eCommerce provider that’s built specifically for them can be quite a challenge. Uniforms, footwear, and gear has its own set of rules and guidelines that most eCommerce providers don’t necessarily follow. Most providers are generic with their platform approach. That’s why it’s essential that uniform manufacturers who want to go online in order to move uniforms faster and more efficiently through an automated ordering system should locate an eCommerce provider that’s built for the uniform industry, specifically.

While some eCommerce software is expensive, losing buyers or restricting them to email may prove to be far costlier. Sana reported that 30% of buyers could be convinced to purchase products from a vendor if the vendor offers the ability to place, pay for, track, and return orders online.

Because of the considerable gap between the frequency at which buyers purchase products online and how often they want to proves there’s an opportunity for vendors to invest in creating online purchasing experiences and a huge risk for vendors that don’t. And that journey may just lead you to investing in an eCommerce platform.