Consumer Behavior in B2B on Digital Platform
The most amazing aspect of the Digital Platform is its ability to give us a virtual medium for interaction. In a way we can directly interact with people who live around the block or around the world. We have redefined the meaning of a community to new heights. These communities have been significant touch points where consumer’s choices are shaping into decisions and eventually into purchases. The active discussions on computer-mediated environments like Facebook, Twitter and Quora have contributed as sources of information. The Digital place like real world is not a rosy place. The potential for falsification, exploitation by invading privacy and preying on curiosity of children is always there.
B2B Decision Making
The idea of collective decision making plays an important rule where more than one person chooses the products and services that multiple consumers use. It is quite fascinating to observe analogy between an organization here and a family unit. The members of family negotiate among themselves where individual or group plays a number of specific roles when they choose a product or service. Marketers often need to understand consumers’ behavior rather than consumer’s behavior. Some of the roles include Initiator who brings up the need, Gatekeeper who controls the flow of information, Influencer who sways the decision, Buyer who purchases and User who consumes the product or service.
The Decision making process differs when people choose what to buy on behalf of an organization rather than personal use. The Organizational buyers like any other buyers engage in learning process in which employees share information with one another and develop an organizational memory that consist of shared beliefs and assumptions to make the best decision. The Organizational buyers search for information, evaluate alternatives and make a decision. Digital Platform gives the organizational sellers an amazing opportunity where they can create an impact in this decision making process. The classic Buyclass theory of purchasing has three key dimensions for a purchase strategy. The level of information the buyer gathers to make a decision, the seriousness with which he assesses the alternatives and degree to which the buyer is familiar with the purchase.
The power of online communities lies in its ability to share participant’s experiences about anything and everything. These conversations are in many a place open to all where anyone could take part in it. These conversations essentially become a source of information to the buyers, with a horizontal structure of social media where control over the content shifts from small elite to large masses. Unlike traditional channels, media democratization happens where the control of creation, delivery and popularity of content is present with social communities. Online social networking magnifies the impact of word-of-mouth communication.
Online Opinion Leaders
The Internet makes opinion leaders quite powerful. An influencer person can sway the opinions of millions of people around the world. These power users have strong communication network that give ability to affect purchase decisions. Research data suggest that 6.2 percent of social media users are responsible for 80 percent of brand mentions. When these mass connectors spread influence-impressions, the impact of message grows due to its momentum effect. These impressions create a sense of familiarity for the buyers towards the brand which impacts the purchase decision.
The Digital world has a lot more opportunities to provide in coming years. The organization which uses this medium to understand consumer behavior and enriches customer experience will survive the competition of existence. The exploitation approach may not be the advised choice in long term at the cost of losing brand image.
By tracking the consumer behavior on digital platforms using different analytics tool will help companies to make better informed marketing decisions.
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