UPS Study Reveals Broad Use of E-Commerce for Industrial Purchases
UPS, a global logistics leader and TNS, a global market research expert, surveyed 1,500 industrial supplies purchasers in the U.S. to gain a deeper understanding of their perceptions in six key areas of the purchasing process.
These were researching and selecting suppliers; the purchase transaction; suppliers' websites; shipping, delivery and returns; and post-sales service and support.
In 2013, more than 63 percent of industrial supply buyers said they made purchases online, with half of those purchasers spending at least 50 percent of their annual budget with suppliers who have an e-commerce platform.
Brian Littlefield, industrial distribution director at UPS said: "Sales representatives and other methods are still in demand, but the study shows B2B and B2C purchasing habits are becoming more similar,
"The findings underscore the need for industrial suppliers' e-commerce sites to offer a positive customer experience, much like B2C companies. With more than a decade of experience in the online retail space, UPS is particularly well-positioned to assist our industrial supply customers with implementing a competitive range of services, as they look to enhance their customers' online purchasing experience."
This preference for e-commerce purchases offers potential growth opportunities for distributors of industrial supplies by reaching buyers who are using the web to expand beyond their existing supplier base. Distributors' e-commerce websites are opening new routes for customers, with 34 percent of survey respondents claiming they made online purchases outside of their existing supplier base in the last year.
Even though industrial supply purchasers are embracing e-commerce, traditional purchasing capabilities are still important, along with best-in-class product quality, purchase visibility and delivery speed. Survey findings show B2B online purchasers still want access to traditional customer methods, such as catalogues and access to a sales representative. Post-sales support was particularly important to respondents, with 68 percent indicating they would be somewhat or much more likely to do business with a new supplier if their website featured post-sales service and support
UPS’ corporate blog can be found at blog.ups.com
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.