LONDON, UK — The B2B buying experience is set for a revolution, according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology‘s new “B2B Future Shopper” report, with 67% of B2B buyers wanting to conduct their online buying via an avatar in the metaverse.
Whilst this might seem fanciful, B2B buyers are desperate for experiences that expertly fuse together physical and digital interaction. And while the metaverse is the future, there is plenty that B2B sellers need to do right now. 71% of buyers want to shop with businesses that boast both physical and online ordering platforms, mirroring the demand for omnichannel experiences from B2C shoppers and underscoring the increasingly complex desires of B2B customers.
It’s now just as important to consider mobile, marketplaces and social channels as it is face-to-face meetings. 71% of buyers wish they could shop more easily through their mobile devices, with 66% wanting similar experiences to those offered by consumer brands.
And, with suppliers’ online and mobile sites ranked as the top places to find products and raw materials, search for new items and make purchases, business leaders must urgently address that 46% find the online B2B buying process frustrating.
There is a clear disconnect between the way B2B buyers want to shop and the options available to them. While 68% expect to increase their use of digital channels for purchases, over half (51%) say sellers don’t understand the friction points in the current online buying process and 45% feel it’s more complicated than making offline purchases.
And with customer loyalty eroding, failing to adapt could have dire consequences. Over three in five (62%) said the current economic climate has made them more likely to change suppliers, with the lack of face-to-face interaction from hybrid working a factor for 47% of C-Level executives and procurement leads.
Two in five (40%) go as far to state that they had changed all suppliers in the last year, a figure sellers won’t want to see rise in the coming year. And 62% of B2B buyers say that they have conducted more of their B2B buying online because of working from home.
Aadit Bimbhet, Regional Commerce Director at Wunderman Thompson APAC, said, “We know that channel presence and channel penetration are important factors affecting brand salience. With 67% of B2B buyers starting their purchase journeys online, brands need a robust B2B strategy that is digitally enabled, flexible to changing trends and purpose built for B2B purchase journeys. In return, brands can access more distribution points, automate or streamline parts of the purchase journey, and unlock productivity and revenue growth from B2B buyers.”
Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology, added, “Just like regular consumers, B2B buyers want a more immersive, omnichannel experience and the same attention that is often afforded to B2C shoppers. Whether it’s selling through the metaverse, partnering with a marketplace or optimising through mobile sites, it’s essential that businesses listen to their clients’ pain points and deliver a tailored experience.
“But as important as developing the best digital experience is, businesses cannot forget the importance of building genuine, human relationships; particularly with the wider societal shift to work from home. Finding the perfect mix and balance of digital and personal interaction is vital. And, with multiple channels to pick from, B2B buying is much changed since 2020. The onus is on B2B vendors to deliver their buyers the right products, at the right price, through the best omni-channel experiences,” Hugh concluded.