A breakdown of the B2B buyer
The world of business-to-business retail is very different than more traditional business-to-consumer operations. B2B merchants typically serve smaller audiences, but at the same time, they do much more business with these customers. This means it’s critical that retailers take the time to learn about their clients so they can better serve them.
A recent infographic from Acquity Group went into great detail about the different types of B2B buyers, noting three specific profiles.
1. The millennials
First on the list is the up-and-coming business professional, the millennials between the age of 18 and 35. These customers grew up during the Internet boom, and as such, they tend to be very at ease shopping online.
As many as 89 percent of B2B millennial customers make corporate purchases online – that’s 131 percent more likely than shoppers older than the age of 35.
The Web is also critical for the decision-making processes leading up to the purchase for this age group – they are 61 percent more likely to have researched both the items under consideration and the merchant they are buying from via various Internet channels. Before finalizing a purchase, they’ll also check the websites of competing retailers for better prices.
2. Generation X
Generation X, B2B professionals between the age of 36 and 45, are likely your current established buyers. Although they know how to use modern technology, they aren’t as fluent with it – they view the Internet as a tool, a means to an end.
As such, only two-thirds (68 percent) make their business purchases online. Additionally, only 34 percent do extensive research online before making the final buying decision. They are likely driven to shop online out of convenience – they don’t have time to go to a store, so they’ll hit the Web instead. The Internet isn’t the first destination, but they don’t have any qualms shopping online either.
3. Baby boomers
The last B2B buyer is the baby boomer, the seasoned executives who either have the final say in purchase decisions or may even be above the act altogether.
These individuals are even less likely to shop online, with only 45 percent of business professionals between the age of 46 and 60 buying goods off the Web and only 29 percent of people above the age of 60 doing so. Additionally, only one-quarter of baby boomers researched B2B buying decisions online.
If this report from Acquity Group illustrates anything, it’s the importance of offering an omnichannel shopping experience that combines your eCommerce operations with other platforms. You have three different customer types who all have different preferences, and by offering the flexibility to buy online, in-store or via mobile devices, you can cater to each one.
Of course, this extends beyond simply purchasing – customers should have their option when it comes to fulfillment, research, customer service and returns as well. By allowing customers to pick and choose where and how they engage with you, you’re maximizing the convenience of the buying experience.