There’s no denying that the shift toward e-commerce within the B2B world isn’t a fad that will be going away anytime soon.
The Trend of B2B eCommerce
As we’ve discussed in previous reports on the B2B industry as a whole, this trend continues to grow due to a variety of factors:
Leading the charge, of course, is technology. The ongoing digital transformation has allowed B2B companies and buyers to engage with each other in myriad ways that simply weren’t possible a few decades ago.
In turn, this has caused customer expectations to rapidly evolve almost in tandem with the evolution of technology. The more technology allows B2B companies to do, the more their customers come to expect from them—an upward cycle that will likely continue for some time to come.
Of course, there will always be cases in which the consumers’ needs are met in full, and others where these needs just aren’t met at all. This is simply the nature of the business world.
With that in mind, we recently dug into the state of the semiconductor distribution industry to create our 2019 Semiconductor Distributors E-Commerce Apruval Rating Report.
While we discuss our findings in much greater depth in the actual report, we thought it’d be a good idea to give you a quick rundown of some of the most telling pieces of data we uncovered, here.
The State of the Semiconductor Distribution Industry in 2019
For our latest Apruval ratings report, we analyzed the websites of over fifty semiconductor distributors, as well as their overall performance as a company.
The Good: Responsive Websites
One area where many semiconductor distributors are keeping up with their customers’ expectations well is in regard to mobile responsiveness.
As we found in our research, 67% of B2B buyers use mobile devices multiple times throughout their path to purchase. Needless to say, these customers expect the vendor websites they frequent to be user-friendly and fully-functional regardless of what device they’re currently using.
Incidentally, 67% of semiconductor suppliers do, in fact, have a mobile responsive website. While this, of course, means there are still a number of companies in the industry that don’t do so, the industry as a whole seems to be a bit further ahead than the entire B2B industry in this regard.
The Good: Online Credit Applications
Our research also found that a full 93% of semiconductor buyers prefer to make their purchases online.
Along with actually making purchase orders, buyers also wish to be able to accomplish other transaction-related tasks in a more hands-off, automated manner, as well. For this reason, 63% of semiconductor suppliers now allow their customers to apply for lines of credit directly on the company website.
While there will always be a need for both parties to be “hands-on” at certain points throughout the buyer’s journey, technology has made these points to be fewer and farther between. With 63% of suppliers providing an automated credit application process to their customers, it’s clear that more and more businesses will continue to hop on board in this area in the near future.
Room for Improvement: The Mobile Experience
Okay, so we just said that most semiconductor suppliers do offer a mobile-responsive website to their customers.
But, it’s also worth mentioning that, of the companies we surveyed, only 13% of them offer a dedicated mobile app to their clientele.
Unfortunately, the implication, here, is that the mobile consumer still seems to be an afterthought for companies in the semiconductor industry. On the one hand, two-thirds of said companies understand that their customers use mobile devices during their buyer’s journey; on the other, it’s clear that they don’t exactly understand how they use said devices when doing so.
Room for Improvement: The Digital Experience
Going along with our previous point, the average company (of those we analyzed) scored less than 50% of a “perfect” Apruval rating in terms of the digital experience they provide their customers.
(To clarify, 90 is a “perfect” Apruval rating for digital UX, and the average score earned by surveyed companies was 43. It’s also worth mentioning that the highest score in this regard was a mere 60.)
The factors that contribute to a company’s final Apruval score include:
- Product images on search and product pages
- Bundling and other purchasing options
- Product ratings and customer reviews on product pages
- Shopping cart/Wishlist options
Of course, not every company we surveyed suffered from the same issues. While some perform well in certain areas, they often fall quite short in others—causing the overall UX to suffer in spite of all the positive aspects of it.
That being said, it should be clear that doing “just a few things” simply isn’t enough to truly provide for the needs and expectations of the modern B2B customer. In order to truly meet the evolving needs of their customers, semiconductor suppliers will need to take all of their needs into consideration—and remain laser-focused on catering to these needs in increasingly innovative and technology-driven ways. Find the full report here.