Cheap and cheerless: is this what B2B buyers really want from suppliers?

What do B2B buyers *really* want in their suppliers? The discussion is often about price but is that what wins in the end?

Profits and growth cut by purchasing managers

Carl Fawkes was an early entrant into group buying with Procurement Marketplace. It lasted 12 months. So it may seem like sour grapes to find him questioning the sustainability of the market. But, as this post makes clear, his experience revealed collective buying’s Achilles heel: service.

While consumers may be willing to forego great service for a super-cheap deal, businesses often prioritise quality over price and look to build longer-term supply chain relationships. They may also value other attributes in a supplier – sustainability, locality or ethical considerations may be the deciding factor.

Tyrrells Potato Chips’s Will Chase chose not to supply to Tesco, instead selling through independent stores and Waitrose, because they fit his brand ethics.

Fawkes’s new venture,, helps identify trusted B2B suppliers, and has some research on what attributes to look for in a supplier:

  1. Goes the extra mile – exceeds expectations, holds the client’s hand throughout the process; providing a personal service.
  2. Likeable – approachable, accessible, jargon-free explanations, listens.
  3. Reliable – clear communicator, delivers on promises, keeps clients informed.
  4. Quality Product – one that fits the business needs, pride in their work.
  5. Value for money – cost effective and transparent, with no hidden charges.

Of course, there’s still room for collective buying in the business space. As the market develops, it’s likely the best sites will start ‘adding value’, so B2B buyers can enjoy high quality and low prices. We can but dream.

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