#10things why 90% SA B2B buyers switched suppliers recently

A Wunderman Thompson global B2B study reports that nine in 10 SA B2B buyers switched to a new supplier for business purchases in the last 12 months. Main reasons include logistical issues, changes in payment terms, stock issues, and so on.

Remarkably, nine in 10 – 90% – of South African B2B buyers said they 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.

This was revealed in a new Wunderman Thompson B2B Future Shopper report which researched insights into B2B buyer expectations. 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.

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.

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.”

Here are 10 things that emerged that highlight market shifts in B2B procurement and logistics:

1. Seamless experience: 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.

2. True omnichannel: 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.

3. Visual effects: 81% of respondents wish that there was more and better product imagery.

4. Video content: 83% would like more video content on products.

5. Product workshops: 78% would prefer more virtual workshops to learn about products.

6. Metaverse: 74%, would like to conduct their online B2B buying in the metaverse using an avatar.

7. Online sales rooms: A further 83% would like to engage with online sales rooms.

8. Self-service: Almost 80% wish that B2B buying online was more self-serve.

9. Mobile: 43% of the decision-makers surveyed said that suppliers and manufacturers should use more mobile apps in the future.

10. Sustainability: 80% would accept a slower delivery experience if it meant delivery was more environmentally sustainable.


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