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Faculty & Research


Features and Functions for Business-to-Business Websites: An Exploratory Study of What Users Want

Working Paper
The dollar amount of Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions on the web is large and growing. Retail trade on the web, is also growing but is estimated to be less than one-third the volume of B2B online transactions. Nevertheless, until now, most research on web transactions and interfaces has focused on the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sector. Given the importance of the B2B sector, it is important to fully understand the needs of business customers. This research is the first attempt to focus solely on the needs of B2B website users using data collected through a nationwide online survey. The authors find that in e-space, B2B customers are significantly different from B2C customers. For example, while an entertaining (or fun) site will increase the willingness of B2B website users to search for information online, it does not affect the willingness of B2B customers to purchase online. This and other findings in the author's study demonstrate that the design specifications for a website need to be sensitive to the projected manner in which the site will be used. As competition online intensifies, B2B websites that are designed to facilitate either information search or efficient purchasing will provide a competitive advantage.

Emeritus Professor of Marketing