Office supplies and computers remain popular categories, but larger and specialist products are also often bought online. This is evident from the B2B E-commerce Market Monitor 2020 published today, a large-scale study of the behavior and preferences of business online buyers that Multiscope conducted on behalf of Thuiswinkel.org, PostNL, De Nieuwe Zaak and Currence among 3,899 Dutch employees.
“Just like among consumers, we now also see that the number of business online buyers has risen sharply in the past year,” says Wijnand Jongen, director of Thuiswinkel.org. “Although the impact of the corona crisis has not been explicitly investigated, it is likely that it has influenced it, also because the research shows that in many product categories the online share of orders has increased.”
The role of digital is growing within the b2b sector
Within most B2B branches, the researchers see that the share of online is increasing. The largest growth can be seen in the construction industry, where 60% of the orderers have placed at least one online order in the past twelve months (compared to 44% in 2019). This puts construction industry past business services as the industry with the highest percentage of online buyers. Other branches with strong growth are the catering and trade.
Business buying experience better than expected
The image is often that in b2b the customer experience lags behind the b2c sector. Yet for more than 70% of business orderers, the buying experience is the same as for consumers and almost a quarter even has a better business experience. Convenience plays an increasingly important role in online ordering, both through a personal offer, the way of payment and the way in which the order is delivered.
Invoice and iDEAL most popular payment methods
When asked about their preference for payment method for a business online order, 38% of the respondents indicate that they pay by invoice and 36% pay via iDEAL. The credit card (9%), AfterPay (5%) and PayPal (4%) follow at a great distance.
Incidentally, there is a difference in the preference of business buyers and the method that is used most often. 40% of business buyers indicate that they do not prefer the most used method. For example, 26% actually pay per invoice and 50% with iDEAL. The main reason for these differences can be found in the seller’s offer and the policies followed within the buyer’s company. Despite these differences between the preference and the methods actually used, business online buyers are generally satisfied with the range of payment options available; 67% are satisfied to very satisfied.
B2B e-commerce on the rise: 61% compares web shops on logistics aspects
Logistics plays a decisive role in the growth of b2b e-commerce. 61% of business online orderers compare providers on logistical aspects such as delivery speed, the location where delivery can be made and shipping costs. The most important delivery aspects are low delivery costs and being able to track the product; almost a third of business online orderers indicate that this is important. Return options are also important; 77% let the choice of the webshop depend on the return conditions. In addition, 20% will cancel the order if there is no possibility to return. Remarkable, given that the B2B sector does not have a return right like the B2C sector.
Although sustainability is not one of the five most important aspects of delivery for everyone, more or less a third (37%) of all business online buyers consider sustainable delivery to some extent important. For 34% this may be at the expense of the delivery time and 18% would like to pay a little more for this. Light users are more likely (38%) to wait longer for the delivery if it is delivered sustainably, than heavy users (20%).