George Anderson


“What do B2B buyers want?”

Manufacturers all over the world are asking this question. While every market is different, one thing is certain—B2B buyers have certain needs in common, regardless of the industry, and they’re making those needs felt across the board. Manufacturers are stepping up and finding out it’s not as hard as they thought to satisfy their customers’ digital needs.

So what are the top 6 things which B2B buyers want? Glad you asked. Let’s dive in!

1. B2B buyers want online answers to their pre-purchase questions

“63% of B2B buyers research half or more of their work purchases online.” –Forrester Research

As consumers, we all research our personal purchases online. It stands to reason that B2B buyers would do the same thing. The internet is our go-to resource for understanding any market, and the markets of B2B manufacturers are no different.

The Takeaway

B2B manufacturers need to provide online visibility for their offerings. That usually means an ecommerce catalog that helps users compare your products with each other–and compare your products to the competition.

2. B2B buyers want purchasing that’s as easy as Amazon

“82% of B2B buyers have already used Amazon to make a purchase for work.” –Andy Hoar, Magento Imagine 2017

It’s not like your B2B customers don’t know how to use ecommerce. In fact, it’s possible that ordering from you is one of the last B2B purchasing scenarios in which they have to use phone/fax/email. Chances are, they’re already buying commoditized products online for their company.

The Takeaway

Amazon continues to exert ecommerce pressure throughout the B2B world. Manufacturers must understand the way that Amazon affects their market and choose how they will respond. For many manufacturers, that looks like a mix of channels—private web store and an Amazon presence. However, even for manufacturers that don’t need an Amazon presence, the ecommerce giant produces user experience expectations in B2B buyers. These buyers want that same convenience and self-service when they buy from you.  

3. B2B buyers want to buy directly from you

“43% of B2B buyers prefer to buy directly from the brand that manufactures the product vs. the distributor who sells it.” –Forrester Research

This might come as a surprise for manufacturers who are used to seeing their customers from a distance. And while it’s challenging for those manufacturers, it’s actually great news. Not only is it better for you to go direct (you get better margins and customer visibility), but your end customers want to deal directly with you, too.

The Takeaway

It’s time for manufacturers to step up and claim the relationship with their end customers. The best way to do this is to launch ecommerce integrated to SAP. That way, your end customers can buy online from you, 24x7x365. You cut out the middleman and offer your customers the self-service ordering experience they want.

4. B2B buyers want to make as many purchases online as possible

“49% of companies now do 50-74% of all corporate purchases online.” –Digital Commerce 360

Are you seeing a trend? Online purchasing is just easier and faster for customers. More and more B2B companies are launching ecommerce. The end result? More and more of your B2B customers already make most of their purchases online, and they’d like to increase that as much as possible.

The Takeaway

To stay relevant and top-of-mind, you need to enter the ecommerce space. As more and more of your competitors launch their own ecommerce offerings, your B2B buyers will find it harder and harder to buy from you. If ecommerce is a rising tide, you need to make sure you’re ready to float.

5. B2B buyers want ecommerce that makes life easier, not harder

“35% of B2B customers listed their online buying experience as average or fair/poor.” –Digital Commerce 360

What’s worse than no B2B ecommerce? An ecommerce solution that’s so difficult to use, your customers abandon it in frustration. So why do manufacturers struggle to deliver ecommerce solutions that work in real life? We believe it’s due to the nature of B2B relationships. It’s difficult to capture easy user experience and accurate SAP data in the same ecommerce store. (Hint: That’s why we’re here!)

The Takeaway

Consider all elements of user experience as you build your ecommerce plan. Intuitive layout, easy product search, and rich product content are all important—but don’t forget live, purchase-critical data that you can only get from SAP.

Let’s talk about that live, personalized data for a moment.  

6. B2B buyers want instant experiences personalized to them

Think about this: B2B ecommerce is meant to replace phone/fax/email ordering, whether partially or completely. When your customers place an order through a traditional channel, they provide their information and a Customer Service Rep (CSR) pulls up their account. The CSR gives them data that’s personalized for them: contract pricing, scaled pricing, available to promise (ATP), and more. If you’re going to launch B2B ecommerce that’s truly self-service, you have to provide that information from SAP—in real time.

The Takeaway

As you’re looking at SAP ecommerce solutions, make sure your solution will display real-time data from SAP. This data is crucial to maintaining friction-free purchasing. The good news is, a solution like Corevist Commerce gives your customers trustworthy data about their purchase, straight from SAP, that’s tied to their SAP sold-to. 

Moving forward: FREE case study

What does all this look like in real life? Ask the customers of Mannington Mills. This leading manufacturer of flooring launched ecommerce integrated to SAP, including a catalog with rich content, and saw a 150% increase in sales.

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