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UPS Study Reveals Broad Use of E-Commerce for Industrial Purchases

Follow @SamJermy Follow @SupplyChainD UPS, a global logistics leader andTNS, a global market research expert, surveyed 1,500 industrial supplies purch...

Freddie Pierce
|May 2|magazine6 min read

 

UPS, a global logistics leader and TNS, a global market research expert, surveyed 1,500 industrial supplies purchasers in the U.S. to gain a deeper understanding of their perceptions in six key areas of the purchasing process.

These were researching and selecting suppliers; the purchase transaction; suppliers' websites; shipping, delivery and returns; and post-sales service and support.

In 2013, more than 63 percent of industrial supply buyers said they made purchases online, with half of those purchasers spending at least 50 percent of their annual budget with suppliers who have an e-commerce platform.

Brian Littlefield, industrial distribution director at UPS said: "Sales representatives and other methods are still in demand, but the study shows B2B and B2C purchasing habits are becoming more similar,

"The findings underscore the need for industrial suppliers' e-commerce sites to offer a positive customer experience, much like B2C companies. With more than a decade of experience in the online retail space, UPS is particularly well-positioned to assist our industrial supply customers with implementing a competitive range of services, as they look to enhance their customers' online purchasing experience."

This preference for e-commerce purchases offers potential growth opportunities for distributors of industrial supplies by reaching buyers who are using the web to expand beyond their existing supplier base. Distributors' e-commerce websites are opening new routes for customers, with 34 percent of survey respondents claiming they made online purchases outside of their existing supplier base in the last year.

Even though industrial supply purchasers are embracing e-commerce, traditional purchasing capabilities are still important, along with best-in-class product quality, purchase visibility and delivery speed. Survey findings show B2B online purchasers still want access to traditional customer methods, such as catalogues and access to a sales representative. Post-sales support was particularly important to respondents, with 68 percent indicating they would be somewhat or much more likely to do business with a new supplier if their website featured post-sales service and support

UPS’ corporate blog can be found at blog.ups.com