B2B being a relatively younger technology in the eCommerce industry, it has seen a skyrocketing growth due to the pandemic. What started as a response to the COVID crisis has turned into the new normal – Going digital is the new wave of the future for B2B sales. There is a huge shift in preferences of both sellers and buyers in the B2B market and recent research shows that the shift is here to stay. Most B2B seller & buyer interactions have moved online with 70-80% of B2B decision-makers preferring digital & self-serving models avoiding in-person human interaction. Adding to that, 70% of B2B buyers are open to making large purchases up to $50,000 and 27% of the buyers are ready to make orders worth even $500,000 online and 15% are willing to spend over $1 million.
The pandemic induced shift in buying/selling preferences are expected to stay for a long time and the B2B sellers who deliver a better customer experience are likely to get rewarded – Research shows that brands that offer outstanding digital experience are 1.5-2x more likely to become primary suppliers.
Benefits of B2B eCommerce –
Integrating ERP systems and other back-end systems will streamline the operations of the B2B companies improving their efficiency and productivity. B2B businesses can focus on improving customer services or expanding their businesses rather than being occupied in just taking orders all the time.
Setting up workflows and automating redundant tasks will decrease the error rate and increase order throughput leading to increased revenues.
Scale up Faster
Manufacturers following traditional sales/distribution models will face challenges when they are impacted by the demand. B2B eCommerce will enable them to reduce costs through cloud solutions. The flexible costing models B2B eCommerce firms follow will allow the manufacturers to scale effortlessly with minute marginal costs when there is an increase in demand.
Increased productivity and efficiency lead to increased sales/revenue. B2B eCommerce allows businesses to easily up-sell or cross-sell products using the automated recommendation module. With this, businesses can encourage the customers to buy more products which increase average order value.
Easy ordering and reordering features will allow customers to place an order/reorder easily either from file uploads or from previous orders cutting the purchase process short.
Improved Brand Awareness
B2B eCommerce platforms give a lot of ways for businesses to improve their brand presence and increase awareness among local & international target groups. SEO support from the platform will improve the website’s search engine visibility and lead the traffic to the website increasing the chances of conversion.
Reach More Customers
B2B eCommerce platforms allow businesses to target customers both locally & internationally thereby providing larger reach and increasing brand awareness. As more and more customers are preferring to buy online, implementing B2B eCommerce will not only retain the existing customers but also attract new potential customers.
B2B eCommerce platforms allow businesses to easily scale according to the changes in the market demand or with respect to the growth/expansion plans of the organization. Adopting sizable cloud solutions for eCommerce allow businesses to quickly respond to the changes in the demand and manage marketing & merchandising capabilities.
While these are the benefits for an organization implementing B2B commerce, the most important aspect that ensures customer conversion is the experience they have while using the website. Better customer experience lowers customer churn rate by 10-15%. Also, B2B buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience and 71% of the buyers prefer buying from a website with better CX. Unfortunately, B2B companies have an average customer experience score of less than 50% lower than the B2C companies which fall between 65-85%. So, how can organizations offer a better customer experience to retain, attract and get ahead of their competition? Here are 5 keys that allow you to deliver a better customer experience –
5 Keys For a Better B2B Customer Experience
1. Design & Usability
A website should be woven to allow users to consume maximum information with a minimum number of steps with thoughtfully placed CTAs, images & graphics. The content should subtly convey the message your brand stands for and your key value proposition. It is easy to get lost in adding fancy designs and graphics along the way, but there are two simple rules to keep in mind to deliver a good customer experience –
- Ease of purchase – Customer should be able to place an order effortlessly. Adding too many steps or complex steps which require the customer to put in extra efforts in the purchasing process will totally nullify the B2B commerce implementation in the first place.
- Responsive website – The majority of the customers are accessing the websites from their mobiles nowadays. This trend is here to stay, and mobile users will increase in the future. So, make your website responsive which welcomes all customers such that no matter the screen size, the experience will be the same.
2. Extensive Product Information
Typically, B2B organizations do not spend much time creating/adding product information while transitioning to B2B Commerce. Businesses must keep in mind that when a customer is looking at their product, they would expect to get all the information they can get without physically seeing the product. If they do not see that kind of information, they will go looking somewhere else. If product images, price & a short description is all you add for a product, there are very high chances that the customer will be unhappy with the service.
B2B organizations must also remember that they must earn the customer’s trust before selling the products. With half-fed information about the product, the customer cannot fully trust the business thereby abandoning the site. Add multiple high-quality images, videos, and a description that fully explains the features of the product, customer reviews & documentation will assure complete quality and good service to the customer.
3. Responsive design
Just as explained in the above points, responsive design is a must in today’s scenario. Mobile users are growing day by day, and they expect the sellers to adopt the same. Nobody in today’s time has the bandwidth to access laptops or desktops every time they want to order something from the seller. This applies to both B2B & B2C.
The latest PWA technology allows businesses to develop a responsive website without the trouble of maintaining multiple websites/codebases for desktop & mobile screens. PWA websites can be installed as native applications which save a lot of time for the seller when updating content. Updating it for one screen size will update it for all other screen sizes.
B2B businesses must also remember that customers can access the website on multiple devices as well. And they expect to experience the same flow/content on all the devices.
4. Enhanced Search Functionalities
An interesting fact regarding the website search is that users who use the search functionality are 7-10 times more likely to convert than the users who do not use search. Having a better search functionality that allows users to find their desired products effortlessly will certainly increase the chances of conversion. But this again depends upon the product information you feed to the system. Having less information will make the search functionality less effective which displays irrelevant or no results for the search terms.
Logically categorizing the products, assigning common keywords & search predictions will help users to find the product & place an order easily. Adding extensive product information will help the search system to effectively identify and display the relevant product according to the search term.
Delivering personalized content is the key to successfully converting a user. This is true for both B2C & B2B customers. B2C businesses can deliver customized content basis previous purchases, recently viewed products, location, previous searches, etc. But this will not be the criteria for B2B customers. There are a specific set of criteria like organization structure, contract prices, etc. that a B2B customer expects to see when they log in.
For e.g. – a customer from certain branch orders for a few products and it must be approved by the corporate branch to execute the order. Also, B2B businesses can strike deals with customers with different contract prices. The customers expect to see the contract prices rather than the normal prices.
B2B personalization leads to better conversion, faster ordering & customer loyalty.
It is not only important to implement B2B commerce but also to provide a good customer experience. With 79% of the marketers believing that B2B commerce with a better customer experience can transform their business, it is now high time for all the B2B businesses to consider focusing on B2B eCommerce and provide better customer experience to attract/retain customers and be in the competition.
Take your B2B eCommerce business to the next level – Connect with our B2B eCommerce experts to know who we can help you – Schedule a call now!