Survey: Online Purchasing Errors Directly Impact Business Growth

More than three quarters of B2B organisations are witnessing a decrease in profits due to online order errors.

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More than three quarters (81 percent) of B2B organisations are witnessing a decrease in profits due to online order errors, causing significant repercussions on wider business growth, according to new research. The survey finds 84 percent of businesses have witnessed a decrease in efficiency due to order errors, while 81 percent saw a drop in productivity, and a further 81 percent saw a decrease in profitability. The survey of 560 global B2B buying professionals found that 44 percent of organizations have witnessed a decrease of more than 11 percent in sales, productivity, efficiency, or profitability due to errors during the purchasing process. Some are seeing a decrease in excess of 25 percent. 

The majority of B2B buyers place orders weekly, often daily, which means the opportunity for errors to occur is high. A total of 44 percent of individuals experience errors with online orders at least once a fortnight, while a fifth encounter issues weekly and 9 percent experience issues on a daily basis. With the majority of B2B buyers preferring to buy online (75 percent) it’s critical that e-commerce platforms can reflect current and accurate sales information, such as pricing, shipping, and stock as a way to help reduce errors. 

The research found that user entry was the top reason for problems occurring during the online buying process. However, 28 percent felt that incorrect product information is causing errors while 28 percent said it was incorrect purchase entry. Other reasons for errors include incorrect inventory display (27 percent), incorrect shipping information (25 percent), and incorrect pricing information (23 percent). 

Online order errors appear to be most frequent in Benelux with 55 percent of buyers experiencing problems at least once a fortnight and 25 percent on a weekly basis. Geographically, 48 percent of businesses based in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland also experience errors once a fortnight, and nearly half (46 percent) of British or Irish businesses face the same problem. Yet order errors in the U.S. and Canada appears to be less frequent, with the majority (51 percent) witnessing order errors at least monthly. 

B2B buyers purchasing automotive parts appear to be the most susceptible to errors when making purchases online, as 54 percent experience problems at least once a fortnight. This is closely followed by those purchasing building materials (53 percent) and food & beverage products (52 percent). 

“B2B organizations have embraced e-commerce as a route to market and as a way to remain competitive and reach new markets," says Michiel Schipperus, CEO and managing partner at Sana Commerce. "But our research highlights the need for e-commerce platforms to deliver accuracy across all buying channels. Ensuring that the e-commerce system is integrated into the organisation’s ERP platform to provide a single source of truth at the point of purchase goes a long way to ensuring that customers have the correct information needed to make an informed purchase decision and reduce order errors.” 

The survey of B2B organizations in Europe and the U.S. was undertaken by independent market research company Sapio on behalf on Sana Commerce. The survey sample covered food and beverage, electronics, building materials, medical supplies, and automotive parts.

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