21/02/2022 – ECC Koeln/Adobe

Go Green as a catalyst for digitalisation

The growing importance of environmental issues is fuelling the shift to digital channels. In the view of today’s buyers, making commercial activity sustainable will in the future represent a decisive competitive advantage. These are the findings of a recent study by ECC Köln and Adobe that researched the customer journey in the B2B field.


The importance of environmental awareness in the procurement process will increase. © ECC Köln


It is not only the coronavirus pandemic that is driving digitalisation. Environmental aspects are playing an ever-increasing role – and not only in the personal sphere. Environmental consciousness among today’s B2B buyers is also affecting behaviour in their professional lives. Among respondents to the new study, ‘Modern B2B purchasing’ by ECC Köln and Adobe, 68% of buyers claimed to be trying to minimise their CO2 footprint from business purchases made over the internet.

“Acting sustainably has already been an issue for a while in many consumers’ private lives,” says Michael Mertens, Project Manager, Strategic Insights B2B, of the research findings. “It’s no surprise that this behaviour is also manifesting itself in the professional environment. In procurement in particular, buyers can decide how sustainable they wish to be on their company’s behalf. This is where those operating in B2B areas can pick up customers: regionally optimised logistics, sustainable packaging solutions and environmental certificates are just some of the many levers through which adjustments can be made for the sake of sustainability.

Sustainability as a competitive element

Online does not in itself mean sustainable or environmentally friendly – as today’s young, digitally savvy B2B buyers are well aware. Whether on- or offline, they are paying increasing attention to optimised supply chains, fair working conditions and sustainable materials. Acting sustainably is thus more and more often becoming the deciding factor. 86% of buyers are even finding that this can give B2B companies a competitive advantage. Both for information-gathering and at the actual procurement stage, online shops are the first port of call for B2B buyers. At the same time, channel-switching is a significant aspect of the procurement process. Just 7% of buyers never switch between the channels.

Having a multiplicity of cross-media offers is thus becoming ever more important and is playing a key role in the context of sustainability as well: 68% of respondents said that they preferred to choose local suppliers even for online purchases in order to keep their CO2 footprint small. “It’s high time that user experience became more diverse in B2B purchasing,” says Melissa Fröhlich, Solutions Consultant at Adobe. “Rising expectations, more switching behaviour by customers and increasing levels of environmental awareness are just some of the trends that we identified in our joint study with ECC Köln. For merchants,” she continues, “the study provides valuable insights into what a modern, persuasive customer experience should look like.”

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