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The purchasing behavior of SMEs importers of industrial manufactures in the Americas

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In 2017 RGX conducted a study of the purchasing behavior of 2,170 small and medium-sized importing companies from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States, which was complemented in 2018 with the participation of 1,041 small and medium importers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States.

The panel of interviewees were importing companies with less than 150 employees, among which more than 1,000 companies from the industrial manufacturing sector participated (also from the clothing, high technology and automotive sectors). Those responsible for purchasing or imports answered a questionnaire that ran from the international supplier search stage to aspects of import logistics and supply chain.

The results allowed us to identify the behavior of international purchasing or importation of these companies. Among the most salient aspects are:

1) Contact with new international suppliers

34% of importers in this industry use Internet search engines to find new suppliers. In parallel, 21% do not look for them, but wait for potential suppliers to contact them electronically.

This leads to incentivize exporting companies in the sector to use search engines more intensively as promotional tools (SEO, Adwords, etc.) and at the same time identify buyers in the target market and contact them directly.

At RGX we provide tailored “Importers List” to address buyers in the indicated markets, this includes a supervision of the communication to be sent to the buyer, to ensure that the export value proposition conforms to what the buyer expects to receive.

2) Importance of financing:

68% of importers of industrial manufactures have indicated that “flexible payment terms and / or financing” are a fundamental reason why they would choose a new supplier.
Making a more exhaustive breakdown, the countries that are most likely to change providers if they offer them “flexible payment terms or financing” are Panama, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.

It is important that the exporter review the possibility of converting the payment term into a commercial sales argument, improving the financing conditions under which their counterparts currently pay.

3) Use of E-commerce in the sector:

Four of ten importers indicated that they buy products online. Among them, 67% buy directly from the website of their supplier, the exporter. Additionally, 59% of importers state that the website of a supplier influences the evaluation of a new supplier, with the most valued content being the following:

• Technical specification of the product
• Product certification / product warranty
• Section “Who we are / about us”
• Information on the export of the particular product (commercial conditions, information on freight / transport, etc.)

At the same time, a quarter of those surveyed (23%) mentioned having used B2B platforms, such as Alibaba, Amazon and / or eBay, among others, to make imports.
These results indicate the importance of having a website with specific information for international buyers for industrial manufacturing exporters. At the same time, it reveals the importance of having a presence on b2b platforms that connect them with potential buyers.

4) Import Logistics:

80% of industrial manufacturing importers admitted to having delays in the import process, while production delays are the main cause, as stated by exporters and importers.
The second and third most common obstacles indicated by importers were the additional import costs in Customs, and national logistics, that is, the internal distribution of the product in the importer’s place.
This behavior indicates the opportunity for industrial manufacturing exporters to offer delivery solutions at destination (Group D Incoterms), offsetting the greater financial immobilization with pre-financing or export financing instruments that do not substantially alter the prices of the products.

At RGX we currently select exporting companies with high capacity to compete in the international market, and incorporate them into its virtual business agenda service with tailored buyers in more than 50 countries.

If you want to qualify for our Export Competitiveness Methodology and qualify for the export acceleration service, click below.

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