Decoding the B2B Purchasing Puzzle in 2018

Compared to European and Latin American Buyers in The B2B Purchasing Cycle, North Americans Are Most Likely to Choose Online Marketplaces

A recent study, jointly authored by B2B Online, Oracle Commerce Cloud, Mirakl, and WBR Insights, revealed that digital buying experiences are more effective in engaging B2B sellers compared to traditional media. The study found that B2B sellers are missing a significant number of opportunities even as B2B buyers are becoming more comfortable with digital buying experiences.

One of the startling facts arising from the study is that 87 percent of business buyers across all age groups are mostly purchasing online, more than any other channel. Additionally, 73 percent of respondents prefer purchasing from digital channels; and only 11 percent choose digital channels as their preferred choice overall indicating there is a demand for better digital experiences.

The report also shows that B2B buyers want a mix of channels to purchase from.

While only 14 percent of respondents prefer person-to-person sales as their top purchasing channel, it’s still a utilized channel with 70 percent of engaging with a person to purchase.

Here are 5 very important things you should know to decode the current state of the B2B Purchasing Puzzle

Age Groups Now Play a Key Role in How Manufacturers and Distributors Engage Buyers

Millennials are 14 percent more likely to purchase through online marketplaces than Baby Boomers, and 16 percent more likely than Gen-X.

A sizeable percentage of respondents believe that millennials are digital-savvy and prefer to explore more vendors before they fit into loyalty programs. Quoting how Amazon engages the millennial population for B2C sales, the study finds B2B sellers too could recreate similar digital experience models.

RFPs and Marketplaces Top Choices for B2B Buyers

In general, 87% of the respondents prefer to buy from marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba. Astonishingly, 70% of the respondents also choose person-to-person engagements for B2B buying. 97% millennial buyers choose marketplaces over other channels, including RFP and tender process.

“Over one-quarter of B2B buyers (26%) identify marketplaces as their most preferred purchasing  Channel, and more respondents (87%)—including 97% of Millennials—buy through marketplaces in general than in any other channel.” – The Next Generation of B2B Purchasing

North Americans Prefer Marketplaces over Any Other Channel

Only 3% of North American respondents choose person-to-person as the medium for B2B purchases. Compared to European and Latin American B2B buyers, North Americans are most likely to choose marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba, and eProcurement systems.

Latin Americans opt mostly for RFP and Digital channels for B2B buying, higher than customers from other two geographies.

Millennials Prioritize Pre-Ordering and Back-Ordering

The report reveals that the less negotiation, the better. In each age group, approximately 70 percent of buyers value the fewer negotiations and improved sales processes associated with marketplaces and online buying channels. In all digital channels, millennials are most likely to prioritize pre-ordering and back-ordering. Mobile purchasing is a key B2B buying medium.

Baby Boomers and the Art of Balancing Choices in B2B Buying

Baby Boomers differ from the two younger age groups in B2B buying by virtue of their choice in prioritizing most benefits to a lesser degree from all channels. The study finds that the Baby Boomers are most likely to enjoy greater options and a wider assortment of products than the other two age groups.

Why Build a Clear B2B Selling Segments

Clearly, the future of B2B purchasing is hinged on the way vendors leverage and promote the technological breakthroughs in their marketing and sales campaigns. More focus on digital channels and the experiences would be key to how B2B buying market shape up in the coming.

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