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B2B buyer expectations are increasingly being influenced by their consumer experiences

The needs and expectations of B2B buyers are increasingly becoming aligned with the experiences that people are looking for within consumer retail, according to research from ecommerce platform BigCommerce.

The survey found that 74% of B2B buyers are using online platforms to purchase products, with 60% making use of B2B marketplaces, particularly using Amazon Business (51%), as opposed to the likes of Walmart (23%) and Alibaba (19%).

The main pain points identified during the purchasing process were inaccurate pricing and shipping costs (40%), slow website load times (29%), and poor customer support (28%). And 31% of respondents pointed to technical issues, followed by lack of secure checkout, had prevented them from completing an online purchase before.

Almost two-thirds of respondents use search engines as their main avenue for product discovery, while 42% use online marketplaces, such as Amazon Business. Interestingly, 42% of B2B buyers also discover products from catalogues, proving that there is still a significant role for them. On the other hand, just 24% of respondents are discovering new products at trade shows.

“The way B2B buyers shop is changing, and B2B merchants need to adapt. Buyers are turning to online channels to research, compare and purchase products,” said Lance Owide, General Manager of B2B at BigCommerce. “B2B merchants need to have a strong online presence and offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience to keep buyers loyal and converting — or risk losing market share.

“B2B sellers need to get the basics of a website right before moving on to bigger and better functionality,” continued Owide. “Many of these basic functions come from their experiences in the consumer retail space, mobile responsive sites and customer reviews to name a few. Technology partners can help alleviate some of these stresses. Customer service, for example, could benefit from implementing a live chat function, allowing buyers to speak directly to a representative from the site.”