B2B e-commerce lagging behind B2C for customer experience

Poor product visualisation is preventing almost a quarter of B2B customers from making purchases online, according to a new report by leading full-service e-commerce agency PushON.

PushON surveyed 500 key business decision makers from up and down the country and found that, although the majority of B2B customers (78 per cent) actually prefer to shop online, 22 per cent have to travel to purchase goods in-store because online retailers do not offer clear product imagery or effective customer service.

When asked why they shop for business products in-store rather than online, product visualisation came out on top, with 81 per cent of B2B customers stating they are able to clearly see what products look like in real life. Over half (55 per cent) also prefer in-store customer service and the ability to speak to a member of staff for advice.

Over half (55 per cent) of those surveyed expressed a strong desire for B2B e-retailers to invest in the same innovative technologies B2C e-commerce businesses are currently investing in. This includes   the implementation of Augmented Reality (AR) to help them better visualise products online (29 per cent), and an increase in Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as chatbots to give them the option to speak to someone in real-time, should they need to (26 per cent).

Sam Rutley, managing director at PushON, commented: “Although B2B retail is suffering a similar fate to B2C in that customers are increasingly preferring to shop online, B2B e-commerce undoubtably has a long way to go if it’s ever going to achieve the same results and levels of customer experience as B2C e-commerce.

“Many B2B customers prefer the in-store experience over online simply because they can see products in real life and interact with an expert, which clearly demonstrates that B2B e-commerce isn’t providing these services well enough yet, if at all.

“This, coupled with the specific desires of customers for investment in AR and AI technologies proves just how far behind B2C ecommerce B2B is.”

For the full report from PushON, visit: