3 Ways to Respond to Changing Expectations of B2B Buyers

By Sonia Coleman

This is a summary of an article that originally appeared in the Tech 360 Briefing published by IDEA entitled, “What’s Driving Purchasing Changes?”

Disruption is occurring in many established industries…and the wholesale industry is feeling the heat from the Amazon effect.

For IDEA’s Tech 360 Briefing, I spoke with people from all sides of the supply chain—manufacturing, distribution, and contracting—to get their perspectives on what is driving these changes and how each part of the supply chain can compete.

Industry Perspectives


Desiree Grace, Eaton

VP Channel Development and Operations, Utility; Previously with Anamet Electrical

“I’ve seen a greater appreciation of partnering and working together to solve customer problems and needs, like responding to national disasters. Before Hurricane Harvey, Eaton positioned power systems inventory in the market to assist our distributors and customers with a rapid recovery.”

Graybar electrical distributor B2B purchasingMike Polansky, Graybar

Director, Planning and Procurement

“Having good accurate data is one of the items that can distinguish us from our competition; therefore, the need to have the most current, up-to-date information regarding an item—all the way from weights and measurements to to compliance information—is absolutely paramount.”

Frontier electric distributor purchasing b2b trendsJenifer Betz, Frontier Electric

Marketing Manager

“Online purchasing has had a huge impact on the industry. We definitely feel the pressure to have our products on our website. That’s the biggest thing that we’re trying to act upon. We need descriptive product data to be able to compete.”

Electrical contractor energy consulting b2b purchasing trendsMark Gillespie

TMI Electrical Solutions, President 
Past President, Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) 

“We rely on online sources for over 90 percent of the product information that we receive about a product. Much of the product data that we gather during the pre-sale process supports the design and estimate of project costs prior to even securing a contract.”

The impact of purchasing changes

It’s more than just a technology thing. Contractor, commercial and industrial end users are demanding better ways of getting things done. Using technology or going online is often just the most accessible way to do it.

Greater Access to Products

People and businesses can easily search and connect online. As a result, end users are looking beyond location and tradition as their purchasing criteria.

The Amazon Effect

End users are watching Amazon and eBay’s advances into commercial and industrial product lines with interest.

Expectations Increasing

Online purchasing in our personal lives increases our expectations of faster delivery, notification, tracking, and access to product information and inventory.

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Takeaways: How to respond to these purchasing trends

Make it easy: Amp up convenience

It’s a competitive industry. Provide end users with the path of least resistance.

 Remove delays & obstacles

Empowered customers want descriptive product data and cut sheets now.

 Invest in stronger relationships

The supply chain is vibrant when partnership is embraced and supported.

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Special thanks to Desiree, Mike, Jenifer and Mark for sharing their wisdom and insights with me on the supply chain.

Read More: Check out the full IDEA’s Tech 360 Briefing for insight on what’s impacting purchasing trends and how to react to these trends.

Sign up to subscribe to Tech 360 Briefing and share your comments on IDEA’s Linkedin page.

Find out more on how IDEA can help you with eBusiness at IDEA4Industry.com.

Sonia Coleman works at the intersection of marketing + technology. She helps marketing teams and leaders build credibility, share successes and increase leads. Reach her at neuconcept.com/contact.


Sonia is the marketing strategist & word geek for NeuConcept.