General consumers aren’t the only ones who value a good customer experience when shopping online. Business-to-business (B2B) end-user buyers—nonprocurement business professionals who purchase products and services for work-related activities—have arrived. And as a result of their personal digital shopping habits, they want a consumerlike experience when researching and making business purchases online as well, according to an August 2014 study by Forrester Consulting for Intershop.
B2B end-user buyers worldwide were most likely to begin researching work-related purchases on search engines (35%) and manufacturers’ websites (27%), and 18% got started on consumer sites. What content are they looking for once they get there? The research found that those polled worldwide expected a mix of “traditional” digital and rich media content. Technical brochures and specification sheets (61%) and instruction manuals and how-to documents (46%) were the most helpful forms of content, followed by video.
Pricing is typically top of mind for shoppers, and this was no different for B2B end-user buyers, with the highest percentage of respondents—73%—citing this as the most useful type of information for online work purchases. Sellers should also plan to provide delivery and availability information, as well as allow users to get a full understanding of what the product looks like with 360-degree images and displays.
Forrester reported that mobile usage for researching or finalizing work-related purchases wasn’t all that common; however, it expected this to change as a result of very high smartphone usage in the business world, meaning sellers can’t ignore mobile when crafting content and information for buyers on the hunt.
May 2014 polling by IDG Global Solutions found that, once again, execs wanted a mix of content and information when researching via smartphone. Among executives worldwide, visiting vendor sites for product info was the most common activity conducted while looking into business purchases on such devices. Price and product comparisons ranked a close second, followed by articles and videos.
Just like the general consumer population, B2B end-user buyers want it all when shopping online: a good media mix as well as a huge range of information, from costs to availability to enhanced features and beyond—across devices.