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Difference Between B2B and Customer Buying Process

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Business buying behavior refers to the buying behavior involved in a business ,that is,organizations that buy goods and service for use in the production of other products and services that are sold,rented or supplied by others. in the business buying process , business buyers determine which products and services their organization need to purchase,and then find, evaluate and choose among alternative suppliers and brands.

Business to business marketers ,also know as B2B,must do their best to understand business markets and business buyer behavior. In some ways, business markets are similar to consumer markets,this is because both involve people who assume buying roles and make purchase decisions to satisfy needs. However, business markets may differ in many ways from consumer buying. The main differences which may result from a business market to a customer market are in the market structure,demand, the nature of the buying unit, the types of decisions and the decision process involved.

The first difference may be the fact that in a business decision making,there are more decision participants and a more professional purchasing effort. Often,business buying is done by trained purchasing agents who spend their working lives learning how to buy better. Their professional approach and greater ability to evaluate technical information leads to more cost effecting buying.Then there are different buying roles which are the initiation, influencer, users, buyer, decision maker and the gatekeeper. The initiation is that person/s in an organization who will recognize there is a problem or need. The influencer is then the one which with his opinions or says will influence a purchase rather than another, the influencers are generally also found in consumer buying process. We also have the decision maker which of course is the one who will evaluate the alternatives,take in consideration quality,value and supplier and will be the one taking the final decision. Then we have the users and buyers, the users being the people which will benefit of the use of the product and the buyer being it the one who pays for it. Finally we have the gatekeeper, this might be any person in an organization who controls access to the buying process unit. This might be done voluntary or involuntary, which means a person might just had forgotten about it or else he has an interest in not passing the information through.

The business market tend to deal with fewer but larger buyers than in consumer markets. Even in large business markets, a few buyers often account for most of the purchasing. For example: Bosh sells its power tools and outdoor equipment to tens of millions of consumers worldwide,however,it must sell these products through huge retail customers such as Castorama, Asda and Wal mart-which combined account for a huge proportion of their sales.Also a business market tend to buy in bulk as to get advantage of discounts,and might wait for other products to be needed as to buy at one go.

A business demand is most of the time a derived demand -this is when a company is demanding material to produce a product demanded by consumers. whilst consumers are buying what they need , the business is buying what the consumer needs,that is why it is called derived. If the demand for these consumer goods reduces,so will the demand for all business goods entering their production. For example if a sum of consumers decide to became vegetarians or vegans the restaurateur will have to increase supplies of soya ,vegetables and so on to satisfy his customers, and most probably decrease in meat supply.This is why business marketers need to make sure they closely monitor the buying patterns of consumers. The dependence on derived demand encourages business to business marketers to sometimes promote their products directly to final consumers, as to increase business demand. For example INVISTA promotes DuPont Teflon directly to final customers as a key branded ingredient in stain-repellent and wrinkle-free fabrics and leathers. You can find teflon fabric protector tags on Nautica and Tommy Hilfiger clothes and also on home furnishing brands such as Kravet. By making teflon familiar and attractive to final buyers, INVISTA also makes the products containing it more attractive,so in this way it can raise consumer demand.

A lot of the business markets then, have inelastic demand that means the total demand for many business products is not affected much by price changes , especially in the short run. For instance,a drop in the price of leather will not cause shoe manufactures to buy much more leather unless it results in lower shoe prices that, in turn will increase consumer demand for shoes. Demand is especially inelastic in the short term because producers cannot make quick changes in their production methods. it is also inelastic for business goods that represent a small percentage of the product’s total cost-producers might switch to other suppliers in response to price difference possible in the medium term. Business markets may also have more fluctuating demand,which means that the demand for business services or products tend to change more and faster than the demand for consumer goods. A small percentage increase in consumer demand can cause large increases in business demand. Sometimes a rise of only 10% in consumer goods demand can cause as much as a 200% rise in business demand during the next period. In the same way ,a small decrease in one consumer demand,can cause business demand to collapse. Because of demand being volatile , it has led many business marketers to diversify their products and markets to achieve more balanced sales over the business cycle.

Business buyers usually face more complex buying decisions than do consumer buyers. Business purchases often involve large sums of money,complex technical and economic considerations and as said before interactions among many people at many levels of the buyer’s organization. Because of the purchases being more complex ,business buyers may also take longer to make their decisions. Business buying process tend to be more formalized and large business usually call for detailed product specifications,written purchase orders ,careful supplier searches and formal approval. At last one can observe that in the business buying process relationships between buyer and supplier are much closer, whilst consumer marketers are often at a distance from their customers.In contrast B2B marketers may roll up their sleeves and work closely with their customers during all stages of the buying process. Business marketers will help business buyers to define problems, to finding solutions and to supporting after-sale operations. In the short run,sales go to suppliers who meet buyers’ immediate product and service needs although in the long run ,B2B marketers keep a customer’s sales by meeting current needs and by partnering with customers to help them solve their problems.

What we can conclude here is that the process of a buying decision for a business and a consumer have mainly the same stages such as problem or need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decisions and post purchase behaviour, however, in many cases there might be differences which sometimes might also lead to a different buying decision.

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