COVID-19 Accelerates B2B Digital Shift in the Distribution Industry

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted distributors and other businesses around the world. To better understand how B2B buying professionals responsible for purchasing from distributors are being affected by the pandemic, PROS worked with Hanover Research to conduct a survey. We surveyed 71 B2B professionals who self-identified as being buyers of distribution companies to understand their changing habits and preferences. This survey indicated that the crisis has driven mixed impact on spending with 44% reporting that the events have accelerated purchasing, 13% have seen no impact, and 44% have seen deceleration in purchasing.

Procurement and purchasing leaders had already been steadily shifting purchasing from traditional reliance on sales reps to self-serve ordering through digital channels, but this survey shows that COVID-19 dramatically accelerated this shift. Post COVID-19, 39% of distribution buyers expect most their purchases to be primarily done through digital self-serve channels (a 26% increase from 31% of buyers who said that since COVID-19, more than have their spending is happening without the aid of a sales rep).

COVID-19 B2B buyer trends infographic

Challenged by slow, inefficient responses and inconsistent pricing in certain vendors, seven in ten buyers are shifting to suppliers that are offering competitive pricing and better digital experiences. In fact, pricing inconsistency is such a challenge, two out of three buyers say that they would switch to a vendor that offered dynamically, personalized pricing. 

Ultimately, distribution businesses that are able to deliver on frictionless digital experiences that drive buyers to personalized offers  with competitive, market relevant pricing will be able to gain competitive advantage despite the overall economic slow-down. If you’re interested in seeing all of the data from this survey, please visit: How COVID-19 is Changing B2B Buying.

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