Report: Online B2B Purchases Nearing Tipping Point

A recent report suggests that although online sales in the business-to-business sector are growing, those companies should be willing to invest more in e-commerce platforms.

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A recent report suggests that although online sales in the business-to-business sector are growing, those companies should be willing to invest more in e-commerce platforms.

The analysis by Accenture Interactive included interviews with 50 digital and e-commerce leaders from U.S. B2B companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue.

READ MORE: Evaluating your B2B e-commerce initiative

The survey found that the percentage of B2B buyers who purchased goods online jumped to 68 percent last year from 57 percent in 2013. Nearly half of buyers also expected to increase online purchasing this year.

Meanwhile, 86 percent of B2B organizations offered online purchasing options. Those suppliers, however, still generated most of their business from non-web sources.

Less than one-fifth attributed a majority of their revenue to online sales, while half created less than one-tenth of their revenue online.

Nearly two-thirds of suppliers indicated that resistance to change among their long-term customers was a barrier to growing online sales.

Accenture analysts said that companies were generally willing to dedicate time to growing online sales but less inclined to invest money in that strategy. They warned that seamless B2B buying is "steadily reaching a tipping point" as e-commerce becomes more prevalent.

"Investing in strong B2B commerce experiences is paying off," said Accenture Interactive Managing Director Bob Barr. "The study found that the maturity of B2B e-commerce platforms correlates directly with having substantially higher sales.”

The report also found that B2B organizations are deploying a number of strategies to shift more sales online, including internal company incentives, updated websites and custom online stores.

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