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Brewing an Effective Purchase Path for B2B Buyers

PunchOut2Go’s report reveals market drivers, buyer trends, and technology strategies for B2B suppliers, including growing eProcurement integration demand.

DC360_CUSTOM.pngOrder Up: Brewing an Effective Purchase Path for B2B Buyers is a new research report from PunchOut2Go, in partnership with Digital Commerce 360. The data-driven report explores the digital procurement landscape, buyer trends, and technology strategies to help B2B sellers build the integrated digital procurement experience buyers expect in 2021. 

The last two years were a period of intense change for B2B sellers. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains and changed buyer behavior, accelerating digital procurement adoption and self-serve buying. But the pandemic isn’t the only agent of change in the procurement space. 

Evolving buyer expectations are driving increased competition. Suppliers are expected to adapt to meet buyer needs, including procurement automation features such as PunchOut catalogs, purchase order automation, electronic invoicing, advanced shipping notifications, and more. Suppliers that fall behind risk losing business to technology-forward competitors. 

Furthermore, rapidly evolving supply chain and order management technology create new opportunities for B2B suppliers who operate on the cutting edge. Cloud-based software, machine learning, and marketplace intelligence technology empower B2B businesses to operate with lean inventories and adaptable supply chains while offering a flexible procurement experience. 

Order Up: Brewing an Effective Purchase Path for B2B Buyers explores the changing procurement landscape and how integrated technologies help suppliers meet expectations with streamlined buyer-friendly procurement capabilities. 

Highlights from the B2B Report

The report is packed with new industry research, charts, and real-world examples, but we’d like to highlight a handful of the most interesting figures:

  • Ecommerce and marketplaces dominate digital B2B sales, with approximately 82% of respondents ranking B2B ecommerce as their most frequently used digital channel.
  • Almost 60% of B2B buyers make more purchases on marketplaces than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 70% of B2B buyers expect to buy more online over the next year.

We asked buyers how important features were when selecting products. Over 60% said ease of finding products and navigation was very important, with price coming a close second at 57%. Other priorities include user-friendly purchase experiences and rich product information and imagery.

Market Drivers and Buyer Trends

Buyers want to engage with suppliers in the way that best suits their requirements. That is perhaps the biggest revelation in the report. B2B buyers are no longer willing to accept a limited range of legacy procurement options, and they are prepared to shop around to get the desired procurement experience. The report quotes John McQuade, director of software development at New Pig, a supplier of industrial plant safety equipment, who expresses this sentiment concisely: “Buyers want to interact with us how they want to.” 

For New Pig, that means eProcurement, self-service ecommerce, and online marketplaces, among others. As the report discusses, eProcurement, in particular, has strong demand from buyers. EProcurement is the fastest growing digital sales channel, and B2B suppliers are seeing increasing demand for eProcurement integration that enables procurement automation features such as PunchOut catalogs. 

PunchOut catalogs streamline procurement. They allow buyers to search and select suppliers and products from their eProcurement spend management software. The buyer is automatically redirected to the supplier’s ecommerce store, and they can take full advantage of the store’s shopping and personalization features while building an order. 

When the user has completed shopping, the cart details are transferred to their eProcurement system  and a purchase requisition order is created to route for approval according to business process and rules.. Following approval, a purchase order is generated within the eProcurement system and communicated to the supplier’s ecommerce or order management  system  via any of several routes, including cXML, EDI, IDOC, email, or fax. 

The increasing preference for eProcurement integration with PunchOut catalogs foregrounds several trends highlighted in the research report. Buyers prefer ecommerce for its superior user experience. They prefer integrated systems that make data available across platforms without manual input. And they prefer self-serve procurement with comprehensive and up-to-date information so they can make informed decisions quickly. 

To learn more about building an effective purchase path for B2B buyers, download the report here

Would you like to offer your buyers an integrated procurement experience? PunchOut2Go makes eProcurement integration fast, easy, and inexpensive. Our Integration Platform as a Service supports all eCommerce software and any eProcurement or ERP platform. For a free initial consultation, complete the form below, and we’ll contact you soon. 

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