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B2B shoppers happy to use an avatar to order in the metaverse – but also keen to buy more easily online: study

More retailers are adding metaverse capabilities. Image: Shutterstock

Business-to-business buyers say they will be happy to use an avatar to buy in the metaverse, a new report suggests. 

Some 67% of respondents to Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology’s B2B Future Shopper report said they would like to do their online buying in virtual worlds using an avatar in the future. Right now, however, 71% of buyers want to buy from businesses that have both physical and online ordering platforms so that they can shop across channels. And 71% say they would like to shop more easily through their mobile devices, with 66% wanting similar experiences to those offers by consumer brands.

In the meantime, 46% find the online B2B buying experience frustrating. While 68% expect to increase their use of digital channels for purchases, over half (51%) say sellers don’t understand the friction points in the current online buying process and 45% feel it’s more complicated than making offline purchases.

The changing way that buyers want to shop is key since more than three-in-five (62%) say the current economic climate has made them more likely to change suppliers, with the lack of face-to-face interaction from hybrid working a factor for 47% of C-Level executives and procurement leads.

Forty per cent say they have changed all their suppliers in the last year – and 62% of B2B buyers say that they now doing more of their B2B buying online because of working from home.

Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology, says: “Just like regular consumers, B2B buyers want a more immersive, omnichannel experience and the same attention that is often afforded to B2C shoppers. Whether it’s selling through the metaverse, partnering with a marketplace or optimising through mobile sites, it’s essential that businesses listen to their clients’ pain points and deliver a tailored experience.

“But as important as developing the best digital experience is, businesses cannot forget the importance of building genuine, human relationships; particularly with the wider societal shift to work from home. Finding the perfect mix and balance of digital and personal interaction is vital. And, with multiple channels to pick from, B2B buying is much changed since 2020. The onus is on B2B vendors to deliver their buyers the right products, at the right price, through the best omni-channel experiences.”

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 2,261 purchase managers, procurement managers, purchasing clerks, agents, purchaser and C-level executives with a purchasing budget of more than £20,000 in companies with an annual revenue of £1m plus.

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