Finding the Best Prices for B2B Buyers: And how negotiation, sampling, and quality play pivotal roles.

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Wednesday, 18th of October, 2023

A paramount requirement of businesses in the B2B space, is the sourcing of quality products and components at competitive prices. In a marketplace as competitive as today's, optimizing costs is part of maintaining a profitable operation. Of course, price isn't the only consideration for B2B (business-to-business) buyers.

And part of a good procurement process is the sampling of the product, and quality that translate to finding the best value for a investment / bulk purchase. In this piece, we're going to look at how B2B buyers can find excellent prices, while emphasizing on the quality of the product.

Skip to sections:

  1. Research & Negotiation
  2. Bulk Purchasing and Long-term Contracts
  3. Leveraging Technology & Platforms
  4. Sampling
  5. Quality Assuarance

A critical factor in product procurement is understanding what you're buying. A product on a technical level has a host of specifications that perhaps very few people would actually understand.

For example, the bed linens that hoteliers buy have specifications such as thread-count, sateen weave, percale weave, striped/non-striped, sanforisation, mercerisation, and so on. The thread-count on a fabric, tells the buyer the number of threads per inch on a fabric. To the non-expert, and to many people this translates as a higher quality. However this is not always the case.

Rather, a 300 thread-count sheet that has been sanforised, mercerised, and is 100% cotton, woven with the sateen method of weaving would give the sheet a more luxurious look and be cooler, than a sheet that is sanforised, mercerised and is 100% cotton but of the percale weave. Therefore, technical specifications in products can play a pivotal role for decision makers.

This means, prior to purchasing any product at just about any price, the intelligent procurement specialist should perhaps begin with expert product and market research, and skilled negotiation.

We can therefore initiate the break down in purchasing process as follows:

Research & Negotiation

Securing excellent prices like we said always should start with understanding the product. Some verticals of research would therefore include:

  • Market Research - Understand market conditions, industry standards, product/service technicalities, and the pricing ranges and structures. Identify at least 4 potential suppliers and understand their offerings, preferably with the help of an expert procurement specialist or product consultant for said product or service. - Hire an expert by posting a request here.
  • Supplier Assessment - Evaluate potential suppliers based on their reputation, their track record and credibility, and how long they've been in the field manufacturing or providing that said product or service. Make a list of reliable suppliers and understand who you're working with. Honesty and integrity do matter.
  • Request Quotes & Samples - Part and parcel of the procurement process is requesting quotes. Alongside quotes, it is vital to study multiple samples from the various vendors. Products with the same apparent technical specifications from two different vendors may still appear different to the touch and feel. Further, if it is a product such as textiles, it's a good idea to run it through a multiple tests, including a wash test which will help understand shrinkage, dye-run-off, shedding and so on. Also, be clear about the requirements, quantities, and other specifications.
  • Comparison - Compare the quotes you receive, not just on the factors of price, samples, and product specifications, but also on the terms and conditions laid in the deal, the delivery timelines, payment structures, conditions for the return of goods, and other related factors that can affect your decisions post-purchase.
  • Negotiation - This is a skill that people may sometimes mistake for begging for a price reduction. There's always room for negotiating price reductions. But a skillful negotiator will also be focused on obtaining favourable terms on the long run. Pricing in B2B purchasing is a critical factor. But a long term strategic trading partner is likewise intelligent. For example, a company based in KSA looking to source product may consider 2 manufacturers. One in Saudi Arabia, and one in China. The product from China may be less pricier with the same specifications. And the product from Saudi Arabia may be costlier. However, if the company in KSA is looking to bring added value to consumers in KSA, the KSA product can claim "Made in Saudi Arabia" to consumers, thereby adding value to a consumer's purchase. So negotiation isn't always about price.

Bulk Purchasing and Long-Term Contracts

B2B buyers can often secure a better deal with a good pricing structure and payment plan by making a commitment to purchasing a large quantity, or securing a long-term contract. When trying to find the best price for a product, suppliers will likely want to offer discounts and other incentives like private labeling and so on, to buyers who can commit to providing consistent business. For a supplier to better understand the buyer's capability, it's a good idea for a procurement specialist to have a suitable web presence for the represented company, that gives the supplier the confidence of a good buyer. This approach can lead to substantial cost savings, and better terms.

Leverage Technology and Platforms

Leveraging technology can significantly aid B2B buyers in finding the best prices and products. From utilizing e-procurement tools, online marketplaces, and procurement software to streamline your sourcing process, to compare prices, and identify cost-effective suppliers. These platforms can provide valuable tools for conversation and communication, supplier performance metrics and insights that aid decision making. Here on SupplierValley, one of our flagship tools like the Buyer Requests feature, allows Merchants to respond directly to Buyer Requests, opening the door to direct-to-business B2B communication and transparency.

On the other hand, the simple Job Board feature on SupplierValley allows Buyers to find procurement specialists and experts in particular fields. Whether it be procurement specialists based in China to assist foreign businesses with procurement and product sourcing, or finding experts in textile manufacturing to aid in procurement decision making. The Job Board allows Buyers to simply spell out their requirements for people with specific skillsets and experience in particular fields.

Sampling

We spoke a bit about Requesting Quotes and Sampling above in the Research & Negotiation phase. To expand on that, sampling can be a very critical aspect to some if not all B2B purchasing decision makers. Procurement specialists especially when dealing with physical products, will need to see if the product or service aligns well from function to finish. Some of the top reasons sampling is an essential part of the procurement process is,

  • To ensure the quality of product, as sampling allows purchasing departments to verify and validate the quality and consistency of products before committing to a large purchase. This helps to prevent or minimize costly mistakes down the line.
  • An intelligent decision made means that waste can be lessened or avoided. When large quantities of subpar products don't enter the supply chain, this can reduce product call-backs or returns to a huge level, which can sometimes otherwise be costly and time-consuming to rectify.
  • Sampling can help ensure compatibility and functionality of products for businesses looking to integrate them into their existing processes or machinery.
  • And in a product development process, sampling helps a business to test integrations in prototypes, to make necessary improvements, and give feedback to the suppliers for a modification and adjustment requirements.

Quality Assurance

Quality is perhaps a non-negotiable factor in B2B transactions. Buyers cannot afford to compromise on the quality of products or services they purchase. Although certain scenarios would require the purchase of sub par products/services depending on the use case. Here's why quality is crucial:

  • Reputation and Trust - Consistently delivering quality products or services helps build trust and a strong reputation, both of which are essential part of the fabric in a good B2B relationship.
  • Risk Mitigation - Quality assurance measures can mitigate potential risks associated with product defects, service disruptions, and other costly issues that could later come to light.
  • Customer Satisfaction - Without a doubt, quality directly impacts the end-customer. Satisfied customers are likely to become loyal, repeat buyers. Even if the price of product is slightly more expensive, the relationship built is an important factor in making strategic purchase decisions.
  • Cost Savings - High-quality products can often have longer lifespans and may require fewer repairs or replacements, resulting in cost savings over time.

So there you have it. Finding the best prices for B2B buyers requires understanding supplier, product, negotiation and leveraging technology. Yet, the quest for lowering costs mustn't overshadow the crucial factor of product sampling and quality. Start by adding a Buyer Request here, or finding verified Merchants / Suppliers here, then request prices, samples, and other technical details to ensure compatibility and functionality. You can also look for procurement specialist or a product consultant / expert in a particular field to help you with your purchasing decisions.

Ready to get started? Submit a Buyer Request.

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