Multi-Channel Approach gains Increasing Relevance also in B2B  Survey conducted by the ECC at IFH Köln shows: One in Three B2B Online Orders the Result of Personal Interaction

In 2012 EuroCIS, the Leading Trade Fair for Retail Technology, successfully extended its range spectrum towards multi-channel business and E-commerce. At EuroCIS held in Düsseldorf from 19 to 21 February 2013 the multi-channel theme will also be in optimum focus thanks to the daily lecture forum plus relevant exhibitors. Once again in charge of the programme at the Multi-Channel Forum will be the E-Commerce-Center (ECC) from Cologne Trade Research Institute (Institut für Handelsforschung – IFH).

Customers do not think about sales channels – and neither do business customers. Like with end consumers, in the B2B sector a variety of channels are combined in the purchasing decision-making process. Just how strong the mutual impact of these channels are in the B2B field has been analysed by the ECC at Cologne’s trade research body IFH Köln in collaboration with hybris GmbH. The survey “Information and Purchasing Behaviour of Business Customers in B2B Multi-Channel Sales – Status Quo and Parallels with B2C Business” shows that multi-channel sales are also on the agenda with business customers. Here most gather additional information from one or two other channels before making a purchasing decision, often with the Internet being their first port of call.

Personal Sales Interaction in Focus

Purchasing decisions in the B2B sector often depend heavily on prior personal interaction. For example, 74.6% of sales in online shops are generated by customers previously gathering information in person. With print orders personal contact even accounts for as much as 92.5% of total turnover. Also print media like catalogues and brochures are key impulse generators. “Cross-channel purchasing behaviour is now a reality also in B2B business. Customers are increasingly transferring their private multi-channel behaviour into the business sphere. This means retailers are now required to offer multi-channel value added, also for their B2B customers,” explains Dr. Kai Hudetz, Managing Director at IFH Köln.

Non-Availability is the Reason for Switching Channels in One in Every Three Purchases

There are many reasons for switching sales channels. With personal interaction the customer has the opportunity to see or touch the products while the Internet offers transparent price comparisons. In about one third of channel switching cases non-availability of the desired product is the trigger. If a product is not in stock online, it is generally the channel loyalty of the consumers that prevails. Just under 52% of those polled state that in cases like these they look for alternative dealers online and thereby switch to the competition. When it comes to non-availability in the print media or in person in many cases the custom is not lost. Just under 58% (print media) and just under 50% (personal contact) of those polled stated they would probably or very probably switch to the online shop of the same supplier if the desired product was not currently available.

Other exciting survey results, current real-life case studies as well as problems and future forecasts will be discussed in the bilingual Multi-Channel Forum (German/English) at the heart of the activities at EuroCIS 2013.

EuroCIS 2013 will be open to trade visitors daily from Tuesday, 19, to Thursday, 21/02/2013, from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. Day tickets cost Euro 22 (Euro 15 when purchased online in advance) and two-day tickets cost Euro 38 (Euro 27 online in advance). Students and trainees pay Euro 10. All admission tickets include free travel to and from the exhibition on public transport with the VRR network.

Detailed information on the study can be found at:, press contact Christina Fingerhut,

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