Understanding 2020’s B2B Omnichannel Consumer

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If you are in the business of selling to other businesses (B2B), it’s essential to understand what your buyers want. We’ve researched the topic of B2B buying, and we’ve found that most B2B omnichannel buyers today prefer making their purchases via e-commerce channels, but often go offline if the experience doesn't offer what they need.

The Rise of Omnichannel Purchasing in B2B

We’re predicting that the trend toward e-commerce will only grow in the future now that in-person contact has been limited. If you have an efficient, robust B2B omnichannel approach to selling, you’ll be in good shape in the days ahead. However, online order processing has presented challenges for some organizations. And when the process doesn’t go smoothly, your buyers may be forced to look offline for help, even if they prefer engaging digitally.

Don't make it so your consumers are omnichannel buyers simply because shopping online isn't convenient enough or isn't done right.

B2B Omnichannel Consumer Behavior Explained

We recently commissioned a research report analyzing  B2B omnichannel buyer behavior, preferences, and challenges. We queried 560 global B2B organizations that purchase from wholesalers, manufacturers, or distributors. The results were enlightening.


  • In the very recent past, phone, e-mail, or in-person sales were the norm, and basically, the only options.
  • Now, B2B buyers are leaning overwhelmingly toward suppliers who offer an e-commerce option.
  • And for over 70%, online is the preferred channel for ordering.


Of course, to benefit from digitally-inclined buyers, your online channel must meet their needs and expectations. Yet sadly, not all e-commerce sites do that. While many buyers say they would prefer to make all their purchases online, only a fraction are able to do so successfully.  That leaves lots of room for improvement of e-commerce sites.

In fact, 25% of buyers say they want smoother and faster checkouts, easier repeat ordering, faster delivery times, and more reliable tracking than they are getting from online sellers. This research indicates that B2B buyers are likely using online channels for a certain level of convenience, but the experiences are not always up to par with their expectations. Often they are left to look offline for what they need.


Why Poor Online Experiences Force B2B Buyers Offline

Many B2B buying challenges center on the buyer journey — and, more specifically, the friction and hurdles caused by poor experiences throughout the journey.

In our research, we found that a lack of information available online forces buyers to pursue offline help from a sales representative.


  • Information about product specifications, purchasing, payment options, shipping, and tracking was often lacking.
  • 98% of respondents reported encountering this challenge at some point during the course of an online purchase.
  • 58% of B2B buyers surveyed indicated that they encounter order errors online monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, and even daily...


Your buyers know they have choices. If you can’t provide the experience they need, they will look elsewhere. B2B omnichannel suppliers should strive to improve their customers’ experiences across all channels, so their buyers are free to engage and purchase via their avenue of choice, and not, by default, be boxed into the least frustrating option.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to these cross-channel customer experience challenges, and it starts with your ERP.

Addressing B2B Buyers' Challenges Online, Offline, Wherever

Your ERP system is not just a hub for your business logic and data; it can also solve some challenges faced by your B2B customers. With the right tools, you can achieve a more customer-centric e-commerce experience and help you:

  1. Realize cost savings

E-commerce can cut operational costs by eliminating the time and resources needed to take and manually enter offline sales orders. With an ERP-integrated e-commerce solution, further cost savings can go along with minimized time and effort required to manage and synchronize web store data.

  1. Improve the efficiency of your purchase process

If the most significant challenges during the B2B purchase process involve data availability and reliability,  then ERP integration is a clear answer. By leveraging your Dynamics ERP with a Sana Commerce e-commerce solution, you can pull real-time ERP data (such as inventory information and product data) into your web store to keep your customers fully informed 24/7. Complete product data can also significantly minimize order errors, such as those caused by incorrect product, inventory, or account data entry.

  1. Boost customer satisfaction and loyalty

There will always be a margin for error when it comes to online purchasing, and you may not be able to provide all the information that every single customer may need online. In addition to mitigating current e-commerce challenges as best as you can,  it’s also essential that you focus on an effective omnichannel strategy. By doing so, you’ll not only minimize the extent to which customers are forced offline due to online challenges, but you can also provide a  seamless and efficient experience for those customers who switch between online and offline channels by choice.

Would you like to learn more about B2B buyers’ unmet demands and how you can meet them? Download our newest research report for the latest B2B buyer behavior data and insights.




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