As B2B buyers’ shopping habits evolve, heightened expectations require suppliers to embrace digital transformation, writes Joe Harouni, Commerce Practice Lead at Avionos.


Joe Harouni

The past two years have sparked significant change in commerce across the board. A powerful part of that change is the shift in consumer shopping habits. In a short time, the business-to-consumer customer experience has transformed to become digital-focused, personalized, and driven by informative product content.

To thrive in the post-pandemic era, B2B companies must become more comfortable with change.

That digital transformation in consumers’ daily lives has trickled into their work lives, raising buyers’ expectations for their business-to-business ecommerce experiences. B2B buyers now expect an elevated customer experience — from how they research to how they ultimately make purchase decisions. Now, suppliers must adapt to this new reality by providing streamlined, convenient digital experiences for B2B buyers that are comparable to the digital experiences in their personal lives.

How are consumer shopping habits changing?

Since 2019, consumer shopping habits have migrated to become multi-channel. More people are buying online for in-store or curbside pickup, browsing online, and purchasing products through social media platforms. This demand for a seamless transition between in-store and online shopping requires retailers to use digital innovation to deliver that type of customer experience.

In the Avionos 2022 B2C Consumer Shopping Report, 81% of respondents believe brands should act like the customer is always right. This means the future of ecommerce is collaborative. The most successful retailers will listen to customers’ feedback and use it to improve flexibility, responsiveness, and convenience.


So what do customers want? Based on the B2C survey results, we know they want:

  • convenience, including incentives like free shipping, samples, and discounts
  • fair pricing, accuracy, and safety
  • easy payment
  • clear return policies

How is B2B commerce adapting to B2C expectations?

Buyers are accustomed to accessing ecommerce sites online from their laptops or smartphones and making purchases from anywhere at any time. Through their personal experience, they’ve come to expect features like a single sign-on account login, easy repeat purchases, and accessible purchase history. They enjoy the convenience made possible by detailed product information and real-time inventory updates.

As the consumer customer journey has changed, these expectations have translated to the B2B realm. In the Avionos 2021 B2B Buyer Report, we found that buyers’ digital transformations heightened their expectations and changed their needs — an evolution that started with the pandemic and will continue beyond it.

The survey results show that 87% of B2B buyers would pay a premium for a supplier with an excellent ecommerce portal. If a supplier’s digital channel can’t keep up with their needs, 90% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor. To thrive in the post-pandemic era, B2B companies must become more comfortable with change.


It starts with understanding and addressing buyer pain points. According to the report, 48% of buyers said finding up-to-date product or service information is a top pain point when researching and making purchases, up from 19% in 2020. And 42% said they have difficulty integrating suppliers’ technology with their own solutions.

What does this mean for B2B suppliers? If they want to stay competitive, they must embrace and sustain ongoing digital change. Leading B2B companies are adopting video conferencing software, cloud software, digital invoicing, automated tasks, and more. But that’s only the beginning.

What are the top commerce trends of 2022?

With the change in consumer shopping habits and expectations, B2B brands need to focus on their digital transformation of the customer experience. They must address buyer pain points to meet their heightened expectations. This key focus is highlighted in some of the top digital commerce trends of the coming year: personalization, product information management, and optimization of the buying journey.

Because the commerce portal is often the primary means of digital interaction with a customer, it is essential to delivering a personalized experience. For many B2B companies that offer a transactional portal, personalization is currently an afterthought. And for many years, that was acceptable because having the right product, the right product information, and the right price was enough to distinguish a brand in a B2B commerce environment riddled with laggards.


But with the advent of cloud-based commerce solutions, a decent portal is no longer a differentiator. To provide a personalized feel in a B2B commerce setting, suppliers need to have up-to-date information on all customer interactions across all channels. For example, if a customer calls the service center for a shipment inquiry, that should generate a case on their portal that is viewable when they log in. If they call a sales rep for technical assistance, the PDF that the rep sends as a follow-up should be available on that portal.

As we saw in our survey results, detailed, accurate, and up-to-date product information is crucial to the buyer experience. With the implementation of a product information management (PIM) solution, a company can centralize and govern product data, while also making it readily accessible to different parts of the business. Good product data is essential for a positive commerce experience, and PIM is a great first step in improving product data to better inform buyers’ purchase decisions.

These commerce trends all point to the importance of the B2B buyer experience. To thrive in the current landscape, suppliers need to have a profound understanding of their customers’ needs and pain points. The most successful B2B companies will use those insights and embrace digital tools to continually provide a better experience, one that meets — and exceeds — evolving consumer expectations.

Joe Harouni is Commerce Practice Lead at Avionos, a digital agency that helps B2B and B2C companies with digital transformation covering ecommerce and marketing. He has more than two decades of web and app-based solution experience and dozens of launches across multiple platforms and industries.