B2B industrial suppliers need to be online to grow their business

industrial suppliers

The 2014 UPS B2B Buyers Insight Study found that companies need to have a strong online presence to grow their business.

Buyers are looking for information online

Buyers are conducting research on industrial suppliers online.  Sixty-eight percent of buyers research supply purchases via supplier website, and 52 percent use search engines.

In their report, UPS and TNS discuss the importance of a strong online presence:

“Given buyers’ high satisfaction levels with supplier performance on key selection criteria, and considering that web-based research is most preferred, it’s reasonable to infer that many buyers consider online research essential to their supplier selection process.  The use of search engines means that suppliers may be at greater risk of losing share to companies whose products are perhaps easier to find, in stock or competitively priced.  On the other hand, suppliers whose products are easy to find online and meet buyers’ criteria may also stand to gain customers.”

Being able to buy online is more important to buyers than a sales rep

Being able to access information about products online and being able to make purchases online is more important to buyers than sales representatives and printed catalogs.

Respondents were asked to rate attributes with respect to deciding from which industrial supplies vendor to purchase.  Seventy-eight percent of respondents rated product information on the supplier website as “extremely important” or “very important.”  Seventy-four percent of respondents rated the ability to make purchases on the supplier’s website as “extremely important” or “very important.”  In contrast, fifty-eight percent of respondents rated having a sales representative as “extremely important” or “very important.”  Fifty-four percent of respondents rated having a hardcopy product catalog as “extremely important” or “very important.”

Buyers like to purchase through websites

Sixty-three percent of industrial supplies buyers reported that they purchase through websites (directly from suppliers or via a third-party provider).

Sixty-seven percent of buyers responded that the ability to order through a supplier’s website is considered “extremely important” or “very important”

If you think your current customers don’t care if you don’t offer the ability to purchase products online – think again.  The survey found that 34 percent of buyers say that they have gone outside of their existing supply base to make an online purchase.

Meet your customers online

Having a strong online presence is an essential component to your business strategy.  If you want to grow your business you need to be online.  UPS and TNS sum this up nicely:

“Be in the right place when buyers are looking: Having a superior supplier website with stellar functionality means little if buyers can’t find the site or don’t know it’s available.  Making sure products and supplier information can be found easily by search engines (SEO), and being visible when buyers search for products (SEM), are essential strategies for retaining and increasing customer base.”

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