Study: Face-to-face transactions still vital for Asian B2B buyers

Logistics solutions provider UPS recently revealed the results of the study it commissioned, the 2019 “UPS Industrial Buying Dynamics Asia Pacific Study,” which examined the purchasing behavior of players in the e-commerce industry.

UPS Philippines managing director Chris Buono

Based on the findings, amidst the gaining traction of online channels in the region, traditional forms of buying and bricks-and-mortar operations still maintain their relevance especially when it comes to ensuring post-sales services and seamless experiences of buyers.

UPS Philippines managing director Chris Buono explained that the results boil down to a simple concept: to be able to balance the convenience and innovation brought by advancing technologies, all the while maintaining the aspect of human touch points that are vital to interpersonal relations.

“It’s hard for me to speak for manufacturers and B2B suppliers on whether they will or will not be profitable. All I can say is that if the right analysis is done in the very beginning, before they’re heading into the e-commerce model, hopefully they’re taking a hundred percent or 360°view of what those costs are,” Buono advised to businesses that are planning to or already undergoing shifts in their business service delivery models.

Although he is supportive of initiatives of businesses to first analyze how to move in the modern business landscape, he also warned that it could be the main cause of stagnation. Since every business operates in a different market with varied behavioral decisions, their models will also change and will depend on their existing internal model.

“The e-commerce trend is so fast moving and technology is constantly changing, the more time you’re spending on doing that analysis potentially is your losing time where you may not be able to enter into that marketplace as quickly as you want,” he shared.

The shifting of procurement models was highlighted with the data revealing that within the next five years, Asian buyers will be relying on online buying as their primary channel. In the Asia Pacific region alone, 67% of B2B purchases are sourced from domestic suppliers. The leading cause of barriers to making international purchases still remains to be long transit times followed closely by customs delay.

“I think human interaction is definitely going to have an impact on customer loyalty. Assuming that you can service your customers properly and continuously look at your costs, that’s one really important thing to not just take a quick view of it. It has to be a regular ongoing view of your costs on a monthly and quarterly basis to ensure that you’re operating as efficiently as possible,” Buono said.

The study surveyed more than 3,400 industrial purchasers around the globe — with 600 from China, Japan, and Thailand. The results aim to identify specific market-level traits of B2B business and offer region-level insights to learn more on how they can better connect with buyers from other regions.

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