New Study Examines B2B eCommerce’s Future

Billtrust, a leader in B2B automation of recipients and integrated invoice payments, has released new findings from an in-depth study, commissioned by Billtrust and conducted by Paradoxes, Inc., examining the current state of B2B e-commerce experiences in the United States under investigation.

The survey, based on information from 508 buyers and suppliers in HVAC, electrical, cleaning/plumbing, plumbing, and general contractor spaces, revealed significant changes in the way organizations buy and sell today.

In particular, factors such as the global pandemic, a younger workforce, and the evolution of B2C e-commerce experiences have accelerated the pace at which B2B organizations conduct business online. 80% of shoppers in verticals say they regularly buy supplies online.

Additionally, 60% of service providers demonstrate that their supplier’s e-commerce experience is “very important” to their supplier relationship. Additionally, 67% of B2B buyers say they have switched to providers that offer a “more consumer-like” experience.

“The reality is that B2B consumers and accelerating e-commerce adoption show no signs of slowing down,” said Flint Lane, founder, and CEO of Billtrust. “With the Billtrust study highlighting buyers’ desire for B2B e-commerce experiences similar to their personal lives, it’s clear that there is a huge opportunity for merchants to win business and increase their ROI by adjusting their offers accordingly of shoppers report an increase in profits from e-commerce purchases, adopting a digital mindset is a win-win.

The research is summarized in a new white paper, “The Future of B2B eCommerce: Bridging the Gap Between Buyers and Sellers” and includes the following key findings:

  • Buying for e-commerce increases buyers’ profits: Notably, all service providers saw profits from using e-commerce increase, with 41% of B2B buyers saying their profits grew by about 25-49% from a quarter increase (26%) says their profits have increased by 50-75%.
  • Covid-19 has accelerated the move to online: The vast majority (88%) of contractors, electricians, HVAC, cleaners/plumbers, and plumbers wholesalers and suppliers have implemented an online e-commerce ordering option. The majority of business orders (52%) now go through e-commerce platforms, and just under a third (30%) of service providers say they place orders exclusively through e-commerce portals.
  • The “Amazon Effect” Affects B2B: With service providers, shipping speed, availability, and price are the most important performance factors in finding a supplier. Additionally, the ability to understand quantity or depth of delivery is an emerging requirement, giving e-commerce vendors more options to offer integration with inventory management, logistics, or ERP systems.
  • Efforts to modernize CX are bearing fruit for both suppliers and wholesalers: the implementation of e-commerce has increased wholesale/retail sales by an average of 49%. Cleaning/remediation organizations recorded the biggest increase in turnover of 55%.
  • Gaps exist between buyers’ and suppliers’ expectations: Suppliers told Billtrust that they believe clear pricing, easy searching, and accurate product descriptions have the greatest business impact. Buyers seem to favor features that prioritize speed and convenience, like fast shipping, better integrations, and more flexible financing options.