How B2B companies must deal with younger online buyers

One-third of B2B buyers start their online buying journey with user-friendly Amazon Business or Google, forcing online B2B sellers to upgrade their ecommerce sites, a new study from Avionos finds.

More B2B buyers are starting their online purchasing experience with Amazon Business or Google because those sites deliver the ecommerce experiences the new generation of B2B buyers expect, says a report from Avionos, a provider of digital services for commerce and marketing.

Of the 150 B2B buyers Avionos surveyed in November 2018, 33% said they turn to Amazon Business or Google to begin their purchasing journey, compared with 32% for a supplier’s website or portal. Of those buyers starting their B2B buying process online, 30% are making more purchases through Amazon Business. In comparison, 22% have increased their purchases through supplier sites, the report.

Gen Xers and millennials set the pace

Creating a digital B2B experience that appeals to today’s new breed of B2B buyer starts with rich product content and real-time capabilities, the report says. Lack of product content and specifications can hinder site search, making it harder for buyers to find the right product to meet their needs. It can also prompt them to jump to a competitor’s site. 84% of B2B buyers surveyed say product content has stopped them from completing a purchase with a supplier, the report says. Specifically, 46% of B2B buyers say a lack of product content is the leading contributor to not finding the products they need; 32% blame poor site site mostly on incorrect product content.“Gen Xer’s and millennials are becoming a larger percentage of B2B buyers,” says Scott Webb, president of Chicago-based Avionos, said in an interview. “Suppliers that create compelling, searchable websites without skimping on the (traditional) features B2B buyers expect, and remember their customers’ needs can compete with the likes of Amazon Business and Google.”

Scott Webb, president, Avionos

“B2B buyers expect a similar search experience to that of Google when searching a suppliers’ site,” Webb says.

Problems with sellers’ ecommerce sites, such as a lack of comparative product pricing or visibility in fulfillment, also cause online B2B buyers to start the purchasing process on onlin marketplaces. Leading website problems cited by respondents in the Avionos report include non-comparative pricing (41% of respondents); inability to compare product options (40%); difficulty researching products (35%); lack of visibility into delivery and fulfillment (32%).

Allen Bonde, vice president and research director, Forrester Research

More automated marketing

“Indeed,” Forrester adds, “many companies will start to expect their tech providers to offer their services through a marketplace approach. Driven by this focus, we expect Amazon Marketplace to double its sales in 2019.” (Amazon Business said last year that it had surpassed $10 billion in annualized sales, and analysts from Forrester and other firms have projected it will surpass $20 billion this year.)

In a third report, “Predictions 2020: B2B Marketing and Sales,” Forrester says B2B marketers will expand their use of data management tools, including artificial intelligence, to improve how they reach customers. “With 62% of global B2B marketing decision makers planning to increase their data management investments in 2019, customer data platforms (CDPs) will be the Trojan horse that gives programmatic omnichannel marketing processes a foothold in B2B marketing,” Forrester days, adding: “CDP adopters will move beyond core data integration use cases to build more precise audiences for activation, leveraging AI-powered decisioning and broad integrations to begin automating and orchestrating buyer journeys.”

Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 B2B News, published 4x/week, covering technology and business trends in the growing B2B ecommerce industry. Digital Commerce 360 B2B News is a publication of, whose titles also include Internet Retailer. Contact editor Paul Demery at and follow him on Twitter @pdemery.


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