Understanding Internet Buyer Behaviour

Business to business marketing via the internet needs to be approached differently from business to consumer marketing. The buying decision is often complex and involves different groups of people, depending on the type of purchase. Information providing the appropriate level of detail should be made available on the Web site.


In contrast to B2C market structures, B2B markets might have fewer consumers, but economies of scale is a driving factor in these markets, which makes buying in bulk a given in these markets. Online businesses should strive to streamline purchasing and sales operations with the added benefit of creating additional value and a sustainable competitive advantage. Retailers should pay close attention to the online markets they aim to serve and should also understand that there are differences between the on- and offline customer experiences.

Concerns over security still remain a significant reason why many will not shop online, and a major part of consumer use of the Internet is still associated with pre-purchase information searching.


In order to develop a greater understanding of the business to business decision-making process, it is useful to compare the characteristics of business to business online markets with consumer online markets. Buyers in consumer markets tend to make purchasing decisions based on emotion whereas buyers in business markets tend to make purchasing decisions based on information. Buyers in Business markets have different levels of experience and information when faced with a certain product or service to purchase. For instance, a company might need to purchase new machinery to meet a new customer need, which implies that the buying team has no experience with the new machinery nor do they have any experience with the supplier of the new machines. In this instance, an informative website will be most effective. Buyers is becoming more informed with increased access to product information available on the web.

Managing an alliance successful requires building interpersonal relationships between the firm's managers, also known as "relational capital". This helps to build trust and facilitate harmonious relations between the firms. Personal relationships also foster an informal management network between the firm.


A firm must guard against regarding the alliance purely as a cost-sharing or risk-sharing device and rather view it as an opportunity to learn how a potential competitor does business. To maximize the learning benefits of an alliance, a firm must try to learn from its partners and apply the knowledge within its own organisation. Managers should educate their colleagues about the skills of the alliance partner.