While it may be tempting to wait another month, quarter, or year to give your B2B ecommerce platform the overhaul it needs, don’t do it. Every day spent using an inefficient system is a day spent losing potential revenue and missing out on new opportunities to win more business from more new clients.
It is now estimated that as much as 55% of B2B product or service buyers are making at least half of their purchases online. And, this number is growing.
In today’s B2B climate, your customers expect to be able to act independently to get the information they need about your company and its offerings. They also expect you to offer an easy, seamless online purchasing experience similar to what they’ve encountered with other vendors.
Orogamis specializes in developing holistic, results-oriented strategies for B2B sellers to be successful online. While every client is unique, there are some essential components that should be thoughtfully considered when creating any B2B ecommerce website, buying portal, or other online asset.
Now—let’s explore some of the key features that every B2B ecommerce strategy should include.
As a general rule, B2B buyers want to be able to do everything they possibly can by themselves, without requiring involvement from a person on your side of the interaction. This kind of presumed convenience should be integrated into your website, giving customers the ability to:
While allowing your customers to self-serve is crucial to sales success, it’s important to be mindful of the need for balance. Unless your B2B offering is purely transactional, there will likely come a time in the customer journey when a phone conversation or web chat will provide utility for your customer.
The key is striking that balance between total user autonomy and available involvement from you when it’s needed. This will be different for every B2B company.
For most B2B companies, pricing is going to vary depending on the product or service price point, the buyer, their location, what’s being purchased, and a host of other variables.
This can be addressed in a number of ways. Automated quote generators can use algorithms that take into consideration quantity discounts, per-SKU pricing, existing customer discounts, customer location, and more.
Developing a bespoke pricing model and keeping it up-to-date can be a technically challenging task, but your customers will appreciate the accuracy and ease with which they can obtain the pricing information they need, when they need it.
At a bare minimum, your website should have crisp, high-resolution images of your products with extensive data sheets that thoroughly enumerate features, benefits, and compatibility.
Think of every question your customers have ever asked about your products or services, and find a way to include the answer to those questions on your website. It is probably not possible to overdo this, as prospective customers will be sponges for information before they get the confidence they need to make a purchase (especially if they’re first-time customers).
When displaying product information, take the opportunity to conveniently inform your customers of other complementary or supplementary products they might be interested in. Cross-selling and upselling are proven methods for increasing top-line revenue in any sales environment, and B2B ecommerce is no different.
All too often, B2B ecommerce companies will invest a huge amount of time, money, and effort to craft an elegant, functional, beautiful website that works perfectly.
…for Google Chrome users on a PC.
The moment a customer visits the site using another device—i.e., a mobile phone or table—or a different browser, the experience changes. There can be display issues, module glitches, timeout errors, or worse. This creates an immediate, negative impression for potential customers, and they’re probably going to high-tail it over to the nearest competitor with a more responsive ecommerce website.
The days of building websites for one or two user environments are over. Today, B2B ecommerce sites need to work flawlessly across all browsers, all devices, and under all conditions (without adding significantly to site loading times, if at all possible).
With as many ecommerce backends as there are available today, there is simply no excuse for not having a user-friendly online ordering process.
B2B customers want to be able to locate the products or services they want quickly, change their desired options or quantities easily, reorder, view past invoices, apply discounts, and opt in or out of automatic renewals all through one customer portal.
Sales Enablement is the term used to describe any tool, process, or technique that assists your sales reps in closing deals and servicing accounts.
Too many B2B companies either don’t sell online at all or think of their ecommerce website as something that only their customers are going to use. This is flawed logic. Your website should be powerful enough to act as a go-to resource for your sales reps when they need fast access to product information, a customer’s purchase history, or other data.
Consider adding the ability for your salespeople to access client’s accounts and place orders on their behalf. Make real-time inventory levels available to your team. Allow sales reps to generate quotes within your site and have them automatically sent to customers. All of these additional features will contribute to a faster, sleeker overall sales process throughout your organization.
The User Experience—or UX—refers to everything the user encounters from the moment they make landfall on your website to when they become a first-time customer (and beyond). Crafting an on-brand, effective, and memorable user experience is essential for B2B companies to optimize the return on their investment.
This checklist includes the essentials. Companies with more sophisticated solutions or longer, more complex buying cycles may need additional modules or processes that adequately provide the best possible customer experience.
Even after you think you’ve arrived at the ideal B2B ecommerce site for your business, it will be immensely helpful to get an objective, third-party perspective on the total user experience, preferably from a company that specializes in this sort of thing.
More often than not, a comprehensive UX audit will reveal site performance gaps and opportunities for optimization that companies just don’t see because they’re too close to the project.
So, as you’re going about the task of ensuring your B2B ecommerce solution is in the best shape it can be, don’t forget to rope in the experts for validation and/or critical insight. It can make the difference between having a ‘ho-hum, me-too’ website and delivering a powerful, impactful user experience that keeps your customers coming back again and again.
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