The Internet´s influences on industrial buying behavior in small and medium sized enterprises

The understanding of the behaviour of organizations when buying is of paramount importance to the industrial marketer. Since the explosion of the use of the Internet, things are changing rapidly, not only in everyday life but also in the companies’ behaviour.

Then, this study’s purpose is to see how the companies are adapting to improve their business using the Internet.

The study is carried in the area of Industrial Marketing specifically in the field of Industrial Buying Behaviour. The objective of this work is to investigate and find how the Industrial Buying Behaviour and its components has changed due to the introduction of the Internet.

To carry on the study I focused on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) from my country of origin, Catalonia; with a study of three companies I could investigate how everything was changing.

The Buying Process seems to have not many significant changes due to the introduction of the Internet, since all the steps taken previously are still present. The most important difference is that this new source of information has replaced in most cases the traditional ways of finding new suppliers.

In the Buying Center the roles have not changed but it seems to be more influencers since more people have access to the information, and the gatekeeper is losing importance since all the information is on the Internet. Regarding to the factors affecting the Buying Process, the most significant factors are still price, quality and technical capability. The factors for selecting a supplier are the same but geographical location is losing importance since the introduction of the Internet because many far away suppliers are found, that can compete with local ones in order to reduce costs. Moreover, although the managers state that the Internet availability is not a factor for selecting a supplier, in some cases a supplier has been preferred due to this reason.

To sum up, some changes can be seen but it is still early to see how everything will be established when the companies adapt the Internet at all levels, it will be interesting to carry a similar study in some years from now.

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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