B2B food and beverage vendors too often fall short of serving their customers online

B2B online stores in the food and beverage industry do not live up to customer expectations, according to a recent study. 52 percent of business buyers in the industry believe that B2B webshops fall short. The research also points to the increasing pressure on the customer-supplier relationship in the accelerated digital transformation. The customer experience is more important than ever, but at the same time, B2B buyers are more demanding, impatient and more focused on convenience than ever before.

The study, conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Sana Commerce, shows an accelerated digital transformation in B2B sales, with more business being done online than ever before. On average, 428 business-critical purchases or orders are made every day in the food and beverage industry. For 44 percent, a vendor’s B2B webshop is the preferred channel for placing these orders.

Ordering errors and incomplete information

Nearly one-fifth of buyers are faced with order errors. Only 48 percent of B2B buyers in the food and beverage industry believe that suppliers’ B2B online stores largely live up to their expectations. The majority report that expectations are met only to a limited extent, very little or not at all.

The biggest frustrations among online buyers are misinformation, including lack of information and inaccurate data and over-complicated repeat ordering and payment processes. Buyers in the food and beverage industry are more likely to experience problems with cash flow and inventory information than in other industries, including construction, electronics and medical supplies. More than 40 percent cite these issues as the biggest e-commerce challenges.

The importance of customer experience

When asked what customer experience challenges stand in the way of making B2B purchases in the food and beverage industry, 41 percent identified the supplier relationship as the most important challenge. As many as 86 percent said they are more likely to buy from a supplier with whom there is a good relationship, even if it results in less favorable sales conditions.

Despite the obvious importance of the customer experience, it seems that many vendors do not yet have this in place. When asked about the impact of order errors, frustration and unnecessary returns, as many as 26 percent of buyers said this would cause them to switch supplier.

Moreover, buyers have little confidence in their suppliers when it comes to a multi-channel approach: Only a third say they believe that their suppliers always provide accurate and consistent information both online and offline (by phone, email, webshop etc.). etc.).

Priorities

For 44 percent of B2B providers in food and beverage companies, end-customer preference is the main driver of digitization. The three main challenges they experience in the digitization process are problems with webshop management, data management and problems with complex order-to-checkout management processes. This stands in the way of an excellent customer experience.

4 out of 10 companies also face opposition to their online sales channel. This is no surprise, as only 45 percent of customers trust the websites of their food and beverage suppliers to manage their purchases.

Buyers clearly state what they want to see change and how suppliers can improve. 50 percent say better product quality, improved reliability, competitive delivery terms and high-quality customer service are the key factors driving them to buy and return.

Commenting on the survey results, Michiel Schipperus, CEO of Sana Commerce, said: “Following the disruption caused by the pandemic, online sales channels for the food and beverage industry are more important than ever. However, digitization seems to have happened too fast and suppliers have not lived up to expectations, which has led to frustration among their customers. ”

“Buyers are clear on what they want, and reliability – in data, service and information – is a crucial part of a sustainable relationship between buyer and supplier. By ensuring that B2B webshops are fully integrated with the ERP, suppliers can provide their customers with accurate information in real time, thereby supporting their purchasing decisions, ”said Schipperus.

About Sana Commerce

Sana Commerce is an e-commerce platform for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. We make it easy to maintain sustainable customer relationships. How?

Our platform lets your SAP or Microsoft Dynamics ERP and e-commerce work seamlessly together. Forget about ease of use concessions or unnecessary detours; with Sana Commerce you get the most out of your customer relationships.

Sana Commerce is a certified SAP and Microsoft Gold partner, backed by a strong global partner network and recognized by leading industry experts.

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