Building Buyer Engagement Rate of B2B e-Marketplace with Technology Adoption and Customer Satisfaction, Doctor of Research in Management Thesis Defense by Muhamad Ismail

The e-commerce trend is vastly growing globally, especially in Indonesia as it has the world’s highest growing e-commerce market growth. Most people will recognize e-commerce as a platform for the B2C (Business-to-Consumer) model, where a seller or brand will directly sell their products to individual consumers. However, e-commerce is also a platform suited for the B2B (Business-to-Business) model, a concept where one business performs transactions with other businesses directly.

Companies like Ralali.com, Bizzy, IndoTrading, and Indonetwork are examples of B2B companies that have reached widespread adoption of the internet. Sellers, B2B companies, and buyers now can perform procurement, processing, and purchase transactions automatically via a website or application. Nonetheless, B2B e-marketplaces fail to stay on top of their customers’ minds, proven by the low number of online visits and downloads. Therefore, how can B2B e-marketplaces increase their buyer engagement rate more effectively?

This question is the main topic of a thesis written by Muhamad Ismail, a graduate student from BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL Doctor of Research in Management of S3 BINUS University. Titled “Effect of Perceived Value, Technology Adoption, Degree of Value of Orientation and Customer Satisfaction on Buyer Engagement Toward B2B E-Marketplace in Indonesia” was presented by Muhamad during his thesis defense in front of a team of promoters and examiners led by Prof. Dr. Ir. Harjanto Prabowo, M.M. on Monday, February 22, 2021.

Dr. Muhamad is the CEO of PT Zahir International, a SaaS company that aims to help SMEs and corporations in Indonesia. Before his journey as a Doctor of Research in Management student at S3 BINUS University, Dr. Muhamad graduated from Magister Management at S2 BINUS University in 2011.

B2B process in general

Many argue that it’s more profitable to retain customers than to search for new customers. However, customer retention is much more difficult than it seems. The key in retaining customers, and possibly gaining more customers in the process, is maintaining a strong buyer engagement. To do so, B2B e-marketplaces have to increase their customer satisfaction.

Dr. Muhamad stated that customer satisfaction was heavily influenced by at least three factors: perceived value, technology adoption, and degree of value orientation. Before deciding to proceed with their purchase, customers will have to go through a set of customer journeys. They will have to review the product value based on the effort to get it, its price, its quality, and how fast they can receive the product. This was what Dr. Muhamad wanted to prove with his thesis, the correlation between these three factors with customer satisfaction and buyer engagement of B2B e-marketplaces.

The importance of perceived value and technology adoption

Dr. Muhamad conducted a descriptive and explanatory survey with 245 respondents from organizations or companies who had performed transactions at B2B e-marketplaces in Indonesia. 47% of the respondents came from C-level positions, whereas 53% remaining consisted of staff, managerial, and senior positions.

Based on the study, Dr. Muhamad concluded that perceived value highly influenced customer satisfaction, though it did not relate to the value orientation degree. The same could be said for technology adoption, where Dr. Muhamad argued that it was the key to customer satisfaction in the modern era. As hypothesized, Dr. Muhamad found that customer satisfaction directly affected the buyer engagement of B2B e-marketplaces in Indonesia.

To close his thesis defense for BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL Doctor of Research in Management at S3 BINUS University, Dr. Muhamad urged B2B companies in Indonesia to further accelerate their technology adoption. This could be done by upgrading their websites and mobile applications, allowing buyers and sellers to perform transactions much more efficiently. Last but not least, technology adoption would lead to higher perceived value, as sellers could decrease their operating costs and buyers could receive their products in a much more effective manner. ** (PID)