As part of the global survey, more than 200 South African respondents who are active in the final decision-making process for buying products for their company were surveyed in November 2022; these include purchase managers, procurement managers, purchasing clerks, agents, purchasers, and c-suite executives across multiple industries.
Remarkably, 9 in 10 (90%) South African respondents said they have switched to a new supplier for business purchases in the last 12 months. The main reasons for the switch include logistical issues (affecting fulfilment etc.), changes in payment terms, better-bundled discounts, stock issues and price increases. The rising cost of inflation and the cost of raw materials and fuel/energy has further added pressure on buyers, with most respondents left with little choice but to switch loyalty away from previously favoured suppliers.
There’s also been a shift to more online interaction, with, on average, those surveyed revealing that 59% of their B2B purchases are indeed made online. This figure is expected to increase to 69% within the next five years. That said, half of them describe the online experience as more “complicated” than the more traditional offline way of buying. Reasons cited include stock availability, poorly presented product information, and poor search functionality on online platforms.
81% want to buy from sites that perform faster and offer a more seamless experience. They’re looking for better product imagery, more video content, and virtual workshops that educate them about products. This has implications for B2B online platforms from a content, customer journey and user experience perspective. 83% reference being able to engage in online sales rooms and offer responses on the interaction that clearly point to the need for offering B2B buyers truly omnichannel experiences.
It’s now just as important to consider mobile, marketplaces and social channels as face-to-face meetings. The report shares respondents’ views about mobile device experiences, apps and marketplaces and offers food for thought on how to approach finding the perfect mix and balance of digital and personal interaction. The report also surfaces buyer perspectives on brand purpose and environmental responsibility.
“There is a disconnect between the way B2B buyers want to shop and the options available to them. They’re telling us they believe sellers may not understand the friction points in the current online B2B buying process and are looking for it to be less complicated,” says Walter Kashiri, growth lead for Wunderman Thompson’s South Africa-based commerce and technology efforts. “There’s work to be done to meet this growing sentiment, and we believe it’s going to reframe website, app and marketplace project spend, as well as entire business operating models, down the line.”
If you’re keen to deep-dive further into the SA summary findings and how this might relate to your own business challenges, please reach out on email to firstname.lastname@example.org.