Engaging modern B2B decision makers through eCommerce

It’s no secret that millennials – people who are between the ages of 18 and 35 – are jacked directly into the World Wide Web. This age group is more likely to research purchases online, ask their social network peers for buying advice and complete transactions online.

However, these are all business-to-consumer trends, meaning that people shopping at consumer-focused stores. Does the same hold true among business professionals who are looking to purchase goods and services for the companies they work for?

Surprisingly, corporate millennials also tend to use the same approach as consumer buyers.

A new study from digital marketing company Acquity Group looks to answer that question.

Surprisingly, corporate millennials also tend to use the same approach as consumer buyers. This runs contradictory to what many B2B retailers expected. Other channels such as conferences were previously thought to be more influential on corporate purchasing decisions. The survey found that customers between the ages of 26 to 45 were 50 percent more likely to research before making a purchase, and 90 percent of the B2B buyers from the ages of 18 to 35 make official business purchases online.

“The significant difference between age groups in time spent researching is likely a reflection of experience and an expectation of substantially more robust content,” said Robert Barr, senior vice president at Acquity Group. “Younger buyers are more attuned to the online shopping experience and less familiar with options in B2B eCommerce, likely leading them to spend longer doing research across sites, especially third-party sites, when information on the supplier’s website isn’t readily available.”

Engaging B2B buyers
Although the B2B audience isn’t traditionally the one brands would consider engaging via an eCommerce strategy, this survey suggests the multichannel shopping experience isn’t just limited to consumer-facing retailers. If B2B businesses haven’t created a robust online shopping platform, now may be the time to consider doing so.

Moreover, it’s easier than ever to create a compelling shopping experience that engages customers at every level: brick-and-mortar, online and mobile. Ecommerce software, such as SalesWarp, can be used to consolidate customer data and operations metrics from these different platforms and create a comprehensive, all-inclusive shopping platform. This will allow B2B brands to better engage this new generation of business professionals.