COVID-19 has changed how B2B buyers and sellers interact. This year and the foreseeable future has necessitated that B2B companies rethink their go-to-market approach. From in-person sales turning into digital interactions, the shift we saw coming was forced upon us this year. Forward-looking we can anticipate many will choose to continue to do business digitally in some capacity.
What this means for B2B is taking a new lens on how they view their sales and marketing processes. Understanding that a corporate website needs to not just serve as an information hub, but as a digital business platform for their partners and prospects.
As a leading B2B eCommerce agency, we work with manufacturers and distributors to help them navigate improving their digital presence. We hope these insights into core B2B eCommerce features will help guide your organization through this time by planning recovery and reimagining the future.
Before starting on a journey to improve digital operations, you will want to make sure you know your users. Meeting the needs of your audience is a critical step that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It is not enough to give customers multiple digital options to reach your brand or do business with you. What matters most is consistently getting the options and experience that they want right. So how do you know what your audience wants?
Start by creating user personas. These fictional characters are developed based on primary user research. User personas will enable the business to create a truly differentiating customer-focused digital strategy & experience on multichannel touchpoints.
Your user personas will be used throughout the entire process of crafting your digital presence. You will use these personas to create user journeys and the overall user experience that your digital touchpoints offer.
The usability of your digital touchpoints has the ability to move your brand from lagger to innovator in eCommerce. Top considerations for the site and mobile usability include:
The consumerism of eCommerce is driving this shift in B2B. These four features are by no means an exhaustive list of what best-in-class B2B sites and apps offer, but it is a great starting point. Remember, these B2B eCommerce features might look different or offer additional functionalities depending on the industry you serve.
Everyone understands the browse and search feature. They also have certain expectations thanks to B2C eCommerce setting the bar. What makes it so complex is that on-site B2B search is complex- lots of attributes, lots of variants, lots of images, hundreds of thousands, or more products. Being frank, most customers will not utilize your navigation to dig into 4-5 sub-categories. They expect a one-click experience, using search, with the results they desire.
Several considerations when it comes to preparing your search and browse features include:
Customers expect that you understand their personal shopping needs- it is not creepy anymore! In B2B this is especially helpful for buyers because they are often purchasing the same things over and over. Being able to suggest smart upsells based on what other buyers usually pair with that item, what other customers are buying, or even similar items people are viewing are all smart plays.
“McKinsey reports that cross-selling and category penetration
techniques increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%”
Shown below is one way our client Jessup Manufacturing incorporates suggestive selling into their online shopping experience.
When it comes to purchasing and fulfillment, it is important to expose self-service tools, and offer convenient means of service contact.
Several features that help offer a best-in-class purchasing and fulfillment experience include:
Giving buyers an easy to navigate and clear view of their account is important for their ease of usability and also to help you personalize the experience now and even better in the future. Having a clear direction within the account portal means including options such as:
Sales leaders on average rate digital channels approximately twice as important now as they were before. When looking at eCommerce technology, you will want one that tightly integrates enterprise operations with your online business channels. When considering the user experience, you’ll want to revert back to your user personas to create a delightful experience for all journeys. In doing so, this will give you an engine of innovation to continue to deliver value by powering future innovation and business automation.