Acquity Group’s annual State of B2B Procurement study reveals the purchasing habits of U.S. corporate business procurement professionals, including how they perform online research. Surveyed were 500 procurement officers with annual purchasing budgets in excess of $100,000. One of the most interesting findings is:
Although supplier websites are the most popular channels for conducting research online (according to 83 percent of respondents), buyers are not satisfied with the level of information offered.
Hopefully, this indicates that buyers are more conscious of the need to consult independent and authoritative sources, in addition to information provided on supplier websites for decision-making. It is important to remember that the main purpose of a company, or supplier’s website is to start the sales process. Critical reviews or negative press articles are unlikely to be posted alongside celebratory press releases or favorable endorsements.
The survey does reveal, “when conducting product research and price comparisons, buyers rely on a variety of online sources to make a purchase decision..…. The most popular sources include supplier websites, Google searches, user product reviews, blogs, social media and third-party websites such as Amazon Supply.”
Here are some additional interesting (directly quoted) highlights from study:
- Thirty percent of B2B buyers report they research at least 90 percent of products online before purchasing, up from 22 percent in 2013.
- Out of the electronic purchasing platforms users participated in, Amazon Supply is the most popular among third-party websites. Here is the breakdown: Supplier’s websites – 48.2%, SAP – 13.4%, Oracle Procurement – 7.4%, Amazon Supply – 16.6%, Percentage that does not purchase online – 31.6%, Other – 9.4%
- Procurement teams are spending more time researching products and comparing prices online for goods at all price points. Forty percent of buyers research more than half of goods under $10,000 online. Thirty-one percent of buyers research more than half of goods costing $100,000 or more online. For larger corporate purchases of $5,000 or more, 34 percent spend more than three hours researching products.