Industrial buying is a much more formal buying process and usually involves several people within the organisation. A manager may issue a buying brief and the buyer would need to research products that best match that brief then feed this back for final approval. These transactions often involve large quantities, larger costs and more complex techniques for negotiating and buying.

Industrial buyers are far less likely to make impulse buys as it affects the rest of the company and their position within it. These choices are centered around quality, delivery, service and price. The buying will likely build up relationships with suppliers also. Because there is more at stake, many suppliers in B2B exchange meet regularly to touch base with clients and manage the ongoing relationships and expectations of the buyer.

Consumers however usually follow a much simpler process only consulting themselves and the internal search for smaller, regular purchase items and can make impulse buys. They have no one to answer to for these smaller purchases and usually have little contact or loyalty with the supplier. Often consumers are very sensitive to price. For larger purchases such as a car, consumers may consult family or friends with the external search and gather information for larger purchases that are non-habitual. They may refer to the internet for research and comparisons, friends for advice, and they may shop around at various alternative suppliers to establish the best value. They will then have their set of choices to make their final decision, perhaps with the help of a friend or family member.

When marketing goods to B2B or B2C sectors it is vitally important to recognize the differences between them and choose appropriate communication channels and tailor appropriate messages to them.