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  October 26th, 2015 | Written by

B2B Industrial Buying Landscape in Europe in Transition

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  • 65 percent of industrial customers in Europe are already buying direct from manufacturers.
  • More than half of the European industrial supplies buyers are sourcing and buying online.
  • UPS study: Industrial distributors must embrace the potential of ecommerce.

Changing market conditions are impacting the traditional business model of industrial distributors in Europe. Increased direct-from-manufacturer (DFM) purchases and B2B ecommerce expectations are forcing distributors to evolve their selling models.

These were the key conclusions of the UPS Industrial Buying Dynamics study, conducted with 719 purchasing professionals in France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The study found that 65 percent of industrial customers are already bypassing industrial distributors and 30 percent are currently considering to purchase DFM. These facts indicate that industrial distributors must embrace the full potential of ecommerce channels and offer a superior buying experience if they want to maintain their positions on the market, according to the UPS study.

The survey findings showed that more than half of the European industrial supplies buyers are sourcing and buying online and that 42 percent of them are spending over 50 percent of their budget in this way. Three-quarters of respondents said they would shift spending to a distributor with a more user-friendly website and better customer service.

“Once price and quality standards are met, buyers are willing to explore vendors that better fit their needs, whether because of a more convenient website, a better service offering or simply quicker answers to product questions,” said Scott Aubuchon, Vice President for Marketing, UPS Europe. “To maintain their market position, distributors must adapt their selling model and provide excellent service.”

Seventy-eight percent of industrial customers surveyed also expect their distributors to offer them more on-site, post-sales services, such as installation, repairs, and maintenance.  The ability of distributors to offer value-added services and provide a consistent customer experience will be key to industrial distributor success in the future.