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Buying behavior in B2B: Welcome to the world of customer journey and omnichannel!

06 March 2015
For numerous of our larger customers, a trend plainly looms: the change of the buying behavior in the B2B e-commerce area has begun!

While previously basic agreements have agreed guaranteed prices and conditions, and defined from which suppliers which goods were to be procured, this behavior liberalizes more and more and issues new challenges to B2B e-commerce.

Upcoming challenges of the B2B e-commerce:

Essentially, this trend was predictable. Why should procurement managers in big companies give up on something during their daily work, that they know and appreciate in their private setting: maximal price transparency and comparability and with that the natural market competition of suppliers? Why do B2B shops have to be unattractive and inconvenient in user experience? Why just having a webshop and/or print catalogue as primary sales channels? Single channel was yesterday – today’s customers are used to have a variety of media and channels utilized before they find and order the proper goods.

Read more about the storygraph!

Logically following this thought, it is time for B2B providers to face up to the same topics and challenges, that the B2C has already experienced for years. Previous the usability and the search facilities in the B2B area were not very important but recently the B2B shops have to face up new challenges, which became a “standard” in the B2C area long ago to keep up with their competitors.

  • Search & navigation
  • Apps for tablets and smartphones
  • Comprehensive networking of the sales channels
  • Excellent product information for the control of the buying decision
  • Unique Content and SEO
  • Competitive prices
  • Customer rating of products
  • Product recommendation (cross-selling)

The B2C area is a good benchmark and pattern for the new B2B e-commerce. Functions and patterns can be adopted to cope with the increasing demands of the customers and to distance themselves from the competitors. Though it isn’t enough to “modernize” the webshop as the only sales channel – only those companies are prepared for the future, that consider all sales channels as total supply for its customers – welcome to the world of customer journey and omnichannel commerce!

Nevertheless there will still be differences between B2B and B2C. For example in the checkout-process with pre-defined workflows for the release process in the B2B area, which is not required for B2C at all. It will be exciting to find possibilities to transfer the topics like vouchers and promotions or personalization to the B2B area and which additional sales-related added values could be created. Another central question is if the existing product data quality and the available article assortment are sufficient for the prospective demands in the contemporary B2B commerce? These topics are intensely interesting and challenging at the same time, as the answers on the questions have to be given very customer-specific and are depending on other topics like for example marketing policy or brand communication.

Which experiences did you collect in this area? What are your answers to the central issues in your company in detail? I’m looking forward to read your comments and to further discussion regarding these extremely interesting challenges!


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