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What B2B Buyers Really Want: A Guide for Manufacturers and Distributors

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The B2B eCommerce industry is undergoing a significant transformation. By 2028, the global B2B eCommerce market is projected to surpass $18.97 trillion. This growth is driven by evolving buyer expectations influenced by their B2C experiences. B2B buyers now demand the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization they receive when shopping online for personal items.


For manufacturers and distributors of heavy-duty equipment and parts, this evolution in buyer behavior means one thing—adapt or get left behind. Meeting these new expectations requires a fundamental shift in how you approach online sales channels.


That’s why in this blog we will explore the current state of the B2B eCommerce industry and how manufacturers and distributors can make sure they’re set up for digital success. Throughout this blog, we’ll be referencing insights from the B2B eCommerce Association's report, "The Definitive Guide to B2B E-commerce Buyer Demands in 2024," to offer a comprehensive understanding and actionable steps for your organization.

The Digital Shift in B2B Sales is Already Here

Imagine it's 2028. John, a procurement manager for a large construction company, sits at his desk. It's early in the morning, and he’s already navigating through a website to place an order for some heavy-duty equipment parts. He needs the parts urgently and expects a seamless, efficient buying experience. He recalls a time, not so long ago when such purchases involved endless phone calls and waiting periods. Those days are long gone.


The rapid growth of the global B2B eCommerce market highlights a crucial shift—the overwhelming majority (93%) of B2B buyers now use online procurement channels, including websites, mobile apps, and online marketplaces. As a manufacturer or distributor, you must meet your customers where they are. Online sales channels are no longer an option—they’re a necessity.

Buyer Expectations are High

John's expectations are high, shaped by his experiences as a B2C consumer. When he orders a gadget for personal use, the process is quick, intuitive, and often enjoyable. He expects the same efficiency in his professional purchases. However, his journey isn't always smooth. In fact, only 2% of B2B buyers face no issues during their buying experience.


Most buyers encounter challenges such as poor user experience (UX), lack of real-time pricing and availability, and the absence of options for repeat orders. These frustrations are significant. A staggering 83% of buyers admit they've abandoned a purchase in the past year due to these issues. They are not hesitant to switch to a competitor if their needs aren't met.

How Can Manufacturers and Distributors Meet These Expectations?

To succeed in the digital landscape, manufacturers and distributors must view online sales channels as a distinct business area. Trying to make existing channels fit into eCommerce is a recipe for disaster. Instead, you need a dedicated team that understands and caters to the nuances of online B2B sales.


Creating a seamless buying experience involves more than just listing products online. It requires a deep understanding of the buyer's journey and a commitment to minimizing friction at every touchpoint. This includes providing real-time information, intuitive navigation, and easy reordering options. Remember, it's an ongoing process that demands continuous attention and improvement.

Unlocking the Future of B2B Sales

In conclusion, the potential for growth in eCommerce for manufacturers and distributors is massive. The market is evolving, and buyer expectations are higher than ever. By prioritizing online sales channels and dedicating resources to enhance the buying experience, you can tap into this immense opportunity.


For a comprehensive understanding and actionable insights, check out the full report from the B2B eCommerce Association. Embrace the digital shift and watch your business thrive in the new era of B2B sales.

If you want to learn more about how to grow your business online with eCommerce you can speak with one of our experts. Or you can see what a platform made for manufacturers and distributors looks like by requesting a demo of Equip360.


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