We often discuss the differences in catering commerce for B2C and B2B experiences at Echidna. We are always trying to find advantages for our clients, regarding conversion improvements, driving more loyal customers, and keeping them engaged with relevant content and offers. One focus that is dear to our hearts is ensuring their customers continue to build bigger baskets. Why? Because the fact remains that every 2 additional minutes a shopper spends looking for his or her first product reduces the total basket size by a whole product. From a B2C user experience perspective, there are many metrics and standardized levers and functions that we rely on to ensure that customers are getting their fill of products and/or services by the time they checkout. But what about your B2B e-commerce experience?
Not surprisingly, building trust along the experience provides the most potential for increasing average order values. Your B2B Customers - whether contractors, wholesalers or distributors - want a good deal…they are receptive to spending more if they save more, if you can prove you are easing purchasing decisions with timely information and status. Most importantly, they want to know that you understand their business needs and buying patterns. If you can create efficiencies in their day to day process, you’ve created a loyal customer.
How to Build Loyalty and Increase AOV In Your B2B Visitor
Like all good practices, it’s the summation of small interconnected interactions that provide an exceptional customer and user experience. This particular post is going to focus on ways to increase in-page average order value (stay tuned for a post focused on increasing off-page AOV next month). Let’s dig into these various interactions within the site and task flows in which we know they will be most engaged - and least anxious about the purchase decision.
Home and Navigation
- Can they easily locate global promotions or understand they are getting preferred pricing? Don’t assume users know anything unless you tell them who they are, and what rights and permissions they have.
- Are you displaying incentives to purchase today versus tomorrow? For example, one stick method to increase AOV if your merchandising strategy can accommodate is buy X and get X% off.
New User Login
- An age old tactic to entice new users is to incentivize registration. Receive X% discounts on first purchases are a typical lead into basket building strategies.
- Time-based promotions, coupled with other basket building tactics - can be an effective way to close transactions. Mature commerce experiences will drive recurring promotions on a monthly basis to drive out inventories.
- Offer personalized incentives to purchasing levels.
Browse & Search Results
- Browsability and findability is critical to basket building. The faster customers can find the first product, the more likely there were to linger in the category and make additional purchases.
- Cross reference your most popular and high traffic, top performing products, related content & documentation in the browse sequence.
- Gain trust by showing content authority, relevant to your products or services.
- Ensure a quality search function by SKU and natural term.
- Provide incentives to bulk quantity pricing on the item results. Always display “your price” to ensure their perception of exclusivity to special pricing.
- Give them a natural progression to purchasing every time they are on the site, even if they can’t order their desired product today. Ensure you are providing Save for Later and Notify Me functionality for out of stock items.
- In addition, inventory levels with next available stock date can provide some incentive to clear out inventory now versus be in waiting later.
- If applicable, product bundling and kits provide great value for customers.
- Provide navigable listing pages, with simple tech and thematic faceting options.
- Ensure that you are displaying next tier products via a Customers Also Bought functionality, and that customer ratings are easily recognized.
- Quick order tooling is often passed over for smart selling. B2B sites should build Quick Order as a site within a site. Offer related products and product up-sells either at the individual entry level or at the multi-add level.
- Reorder capabilities are a perfect time and location to drive incremental transactions. Smart selling tactics will describe new innovations, new pricing or other items that should be considered.
Account & Personalization
- Consider personalized recommendations via alternate channels (email, sms) based on order history, order volume, and segmentation behavior.
Added to Cart
- This is one of the most critical moments in the experience and can spawn from multiple points of entry…add to cart from search & browse, quick order, reorder, save carts, etc. A customer has just added an item(s) to the cart, adrenaline is peaked and they have overcome any anxiety around pricing or product selection. The key to a successful up-sell or cross sell is to provide smart options. Take time to ensure product relationships match the item or item groupings. Some items are a natural extension for up-selling, but don’t forget clever impulse buys.
Over 90% of B2B customers prefer to buy online when they’ve decided what to buy, and 74% of B2B buyers find it more convenient buying from a website than a sales rep. This is one reason why it is critical to include on-page, intelligent cross sells and up-sells into your sales strategy.
- Closeness qualifiers for shipping or deeper discounts based on basket size are an integral strategy to larger orders. Displaying a global indicator on the navigation or on the mini-cart provides a sense of gamification that users tend to aspire to.
- Ensure that at the cart you are not driving irrelevant up-sells or cross sells because the customer has already put at least one item in the cart, and most likely has been served additional incentives on the added to cart function, as well has quantity or bulk discounts promotions within browse.
- Bottom line: proceed with up-sell caution on the cart - you already have them hooked!
In B2B, Industries Play a Key Role in User Experience
Each industry must properly reflect their customers behaviors and personality. Remember that:
- Tone and voice are critical - you must engage them with your brand/culture and the methods you implement for pushing bigger baskets must feel natural.
- Design patterns of the B2C sector have fully integrated into user’s perceptions for B2B experiences, so don’t overcomplicate the experience.
- Stay true to identifying where and when your customer would be acceptable and appreciative to additional offers. Identify these key moments in your customers browsing and purchasing paths.
Remember, a thoughtful mix of the tactics above must mimic the customer's offline buying processes (i.e.: via sales agents or tech specialists), and it should not make them feel like you’re squeezing them for an extra dollar.
What is your strategy around increasing AOV this year and for the future? Where do you see your biggest gap areas when it comes to increasing basket size? If you would like to discuss improving your B2B e-commerce experience please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about future-readiness and the consumerism of B2B, download our Consumerism of B2B Report.
Download The Consumerism of B2B Report