New car shoppers all have different ideas when it comes to optional equipment and functions, and car makers have learned to offer many combinations. Today’s business-to-business buyers want more options, as well, led by buying directly from brand manufacturers, according to a report released yesterday by Forrester Research Inc.
The report, “A Brand New Day in B2B Commerce,” asserts that buyers want to purchase outside traditional channels, and brands therefore need to rethink their sales strategies.
“Out of respect for channel partners, B2B brands often redirect customers to partner sites—but in the process inadvertently frustrate and disappoint these originally eager customers as well as hurt their bottom line,” Forrester says in the report, which was written by Andy Hoar, vice president and principal analyst for B2B e-commerce, along with other Forrester analysts. B2B e-commerce shoppers look for detailed information about the products they need to procure wherever they can find it, Hoar writes.
The report is based on responses from 225 B2B company buyers to the Q1 2017 Global B2B Buy-Side Online survey conducted jointly by Forrester and B2BecNews sister publication Internet Retailer from December 2016 to February 2017. Buyers now expect B2B brand sites to be “the authoritative source of product information across the broader ecosystem of B2B buying,” the report says. The survey shows 54% of buyers say a manufacturer has the best information about its product on its own website.
Those buyers also want to buy directly online from brands and some will pay for the privilege, Hoar writes. 43% of buyers prefer to buy a product directly from the brand that manufactures the product, rather than the distributor that sells it, and 20% of them are willing to pay slightly more for the opportunity to do so.
Rather than placing themselves at the center of the sales process, manufacturers traditionally have deferred to distributors and wholesalers to do the selling, a mindset that needs an update, Hoar writes. “Historically, brands and the channel have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship that has consistently grown the pie for both parties. But changing B2B buyer behavior is now forcing digital business pros at B2B brands to rethink their traditional channel-centric selling strategies.”
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