PD_Packaging Digest

Packaging Digest, Fall 2016

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33 www.PackagingDigest.com FALL 2016 // BEST PRACTICES See us at Pack Expo Booth #E-9012 documents (42%), and customer testimonial/case study (32%). Te biggest changes compared to 2015 were a gain of 23% in people searching for technology primers, and a decline of the search for peer reviews or opinions (-17%). While these numbers are meaningful, they need to be interpreted with caution as the data sample is limited (176 for year 2016), and meaningful trends will probably not be possible to ascertain until we complete our 2017 survey. Effort, Impact, Intent and Reputation For each of the types of information that buyers searched for, we asked them to rate their perception of the information they found online using four factors: 1. Efort needed to fnd it (low / high); 2. Te impact delivered (none / lots); 3. Te intent as presented by the information (vague unclear / supportive of me); and 4. Reputation of the content (misleading-doubtful / impressive- certain). We focused in on the effort ratings, and some specific ratings of pricing information found online. The effort ratings were mapped against six different buyer roles as shown in the chart "Effort to Collect Info vs Buying Role" on p.30. For the four main buyer roles—Influencer, Decider, Initiator and Buyer—there were 63, 37, 22, and 19 responses respectively. Te efort to get pricing information was even higher than the mean for all types of information combined. Buyers reported a mean of 6.5, with an inter-quartile range of about 5.0 to 8.5. Te pricing's intent was quite transparent, with a positive rating of 7.1 mean, but of course there were several responses below 6.0 as well. We went further and asked buyers to rank seven suggested reasons why they found it difficult to find their information online. The highest rated hindrance was gated information reported by more than 95 people. Close second and third reasons were unclear/ poor information online, and simply difficult to find appropriate suppliers online. Lastly, we asked buyers to rate the smoothness of the entire buying process in which the internet was used as a tool to facilitate the process. The average rating was 6.5 with a standard deviation of 2.0, which is almost the same as in 2015 (6.8 and 2.0 respectively). A little more than 33% of the buyers rated the experience with less than 6.0, so there is room for improvement. The most challenging searches are for new or infrequently sourced products or services, which are searched for internationally. Conclusions Using the internet to facilitate packaging solutions purchases is virtually unavoidable and used almost universally, as demonstrated by our research. However, the online journey is still far from optimal. We hope that the insights presented here and future work in this area will help buyers and suppliers narrow the gaps in expectations and services provided online. George Szanto is a tenured lecturer specialized in business-to- business (B2B) emarketing at Fontys University in the Netherlands. His research activities focus on the online behavior of packaging professionals. Prior to this, he held various international executive management positions in tech industries for more than 20 years.

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