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Why are B2B Customers Hesitant to Purchase Online?

Recent research shows that the time it takes for online and offline B2B purchase orders to be placed is increasing. 58% of buyers say they spend more time researching than ever before and 65% said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact.
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With online information a major influencing factor in B2B purchasing, take a look at which aspects of content pose a threat to buyers looking to finalize a purchase:

  • Online presence: Make sure you can be found! The most basic requirement is that your website is optimized for search.
  • Website navigation: Is your website easy to navigate? Does the categorization of products follow a customer-centric structure? Do the tabs and drop-down menus flow well? Your site design should provide a good user experience (UX).
  • Information: Each product should have the relevant content – description, function, availability, and price.
  • Credibility: After visiting the home page and products/services pages, the next stop for B2B buyers is the‘About Us’ page. A survey of buyers showed just 9% of respondents think of vendors as trusted sources of content and yet 88% believe online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection.

So what online content do business buyers refer to? Content from trusted sources on the Internet such as trade discussions, articles from industry experts, findings by reputable research organizations, trend spotting and customer feedback.

Making purchases is a team decision and this content is accessed at different executive levels of the buyers’ organization – the researchers, the influencers and the decision makers.

Are you generating content that’s targeted at all of those stakeholders to enable the discovery, qualification and selection of your brand?

  • Online-Offline coordination: Do you have the processes in place to provide a smooth online-offline experience? From confirmation of order to delivery, can you provide accurate real-time information on the status of the order – stock levels updated regularly, logistics in place?
  • Follow-up: In a study of hundreds of B2C brands, 10%-40% have an emotional connect with their consumers. But surprisingly, B2B brands have more than a 50% connect with their buyers. This brings the onus of establishing and nourishing a connect with buyers on you. Focus on helping buyers do better in their business and they are sure to remember you when it’s time for their next purchase or they are asked to recommend a vendor.

In addition, security of online transactions, the existence of a trustworthy intermediary, and your guarantees and returns policy also play a role in B2B online purchasing.

So, to get B2B buyers to trust online venues for their purchasing requirements, vendors need to provide online the same qualities of a good personal salesman – comprehensive information, references, trust, and personal connect.

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