Companies still slow to adopt B2B purchases

Managers in charge of purchasing for their companies plan to make only 20 per cent of their purchases online by 2002, according to a study conducted recently by market research firm Jupiter Media Metrix. The company's findings fly in the face of the widely touted benefits of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, which is predicted to boom on the strength of the reduced costs and increased efficiency it promises. Although the buyers surveyed said they expected to buy online eventually, 60 per cent said that their preferred suppliers do not currently offer their goods online, forcing the B2B adoption rate to remain low.

Other reasons cited for the slow acceptance of B2B e-commerce included lack of knowledge and experience with e-commerce (55 per cent of those surveyed) and lack of trust (45 per cent). The study predicted, however, that those hurdles will be overcome as purchasing agents spend more time online and gain more experience with Internet procurement.

Despite the reticence evidenced by the survey, procurement managers also indicated that they thought the promised benefits of B2B e-commerce will be realised. Seventy-one per cent said that lower costs would result from such transactions.

The study also predicted that when B2B e-commerce has gained wide acceptance, the market will diverge into two distinct branches: one market serving existing company-to-customer relationships and another geared towards helping companies find new suppliers and create new relationships.

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