For years eCommerce has been considered a B2C experience, with most businesses selling goods to customers such as tech, apparel and homeware to individuals. Now it’s time for B2B companies to move away from account managers and start to carry out transactions in the online space.
With every B2B customer being able to shop on a B2C platform, consumers for any B2B business have a higher than usual expectation. Meaning at every B2B business needs to step up and offer the same experiences that customers receive at a B2C level.
With needs differing from B2C to B2B, there are still ways that B2B ecommerce owners need to conform to the norm on their site, helping convert customers to a successful checkout.
1. Better search. Starting with Elastic.
If you’re dealing with a large number of products and catalogue, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find exactly what they’re looking for, as quickly as possible.
Enhancing your search facility on your ecommerce website can make your product visibility a much sort after feature, helping your website to funnel your customers and users to the correct product.
Implementing intelligent search solutions such as Elastic Search can allow users to filter search results and find what they’re looking for, without even leaving the page they’re currently on.
These smart integrations offer features such as fuzzy search functionality to pick up on any common typos that customers might do, autocomplete search strings and the option to pull through product images and categories to make product discovery easier than ever.
2. Up to date and detailed product information
For most B2B businesses, it’s simply not enough to just list a product name and image on a product page and expect the orders to roll in.
Compiling a compelling array of product data, whether that’s dimensions, MPNs or spec sheets can all help to convert customers better.
Using a PIM system such as Akeneo will help you to manage this data more easily and push across multiple sales channels and marketplaces to widen your target audience and revenue streams.
3. Product images that stand out
Purchasing without being able to physically handle or see a product is always a downside of placing an order online.
For B2B websites which might deal with intricate components, providing a high level of detail in your product imagery can make all the difference rather than relying on CG or stock imagery.
Including a 360 view of your product, high definition close-ups or even a video are all great examples of this in practice.
4. Order tracking
When waiting for a delivery of B2C goods you get excited and pumped, imagine what it’s like for B2B orders, it’s a business waiting for its new stock to arrive.
Even though it might be commonplace to send an email with a tracking number to your customers, think about what ways you can exceed their expectations.
An online order tracker showing each step of their order process and its current progress in your system.
5. Secure, payment portals
Whilst most B2C transactions require immediate payment or maybe not with Klara, B2B transactions don’t always have to settle straight away, with extended credit terms etc.
Offering flexible payment options for credit, debit and even BACS payments alongside offline transaction terms can help your customers checkout with a solution that suits them.
6. Include a VAT price toggle
For most B2B websites, it’s almost expected that all prices shown will be exclusive of VAT. After all its a business buying from a business.
Providing a better user experience for your business customer and reducing the risk of your visitors leaving your site to go and find a VAT calculator online… or times it by 1.2
7. Tier Pricing
As B2B customers tend to place orders on the large side, purchasing hundreds of items at a time rather than for individual items here and there.
This is especially useful if you’re shipping cartons or pallets where selling an extra batch of products won’t affect the carriage costs.
8. Real-time inventory levels
There’s nothing worse than placing an order only to be informed that not all of the items are in stock.
Not only will it cause more customer service issues, but your customers trust in your company will start to degrade.
Real-time inventory updates on product pages let customers know exactly where they stand and help you avoid the risk of overselling stock and disappointing potential buyers.
9. Re-order or quick order functionality
Providing a bulk order form so that customers can add products by part number or SKU and being able to quickly change the order quantity for each line can streamline this process and expedite the checkout experience.
In Magento you can even allow your customers to reorder previous transactions from within their account area and make repeat purchases easy.
10. Live customer support
If you consider how stressful buying new items online can be, imagine the pressure associated with purchasing hundreds of spare parts to then again sell on or use in your factory.
Having an FAQ or contact page to help deal with queries is a must, but implementing a live-chat facility means you can engage customers quickly and stop that drop-off.
11. Request a quote
Following on from live-chat, it’s also a good idea to implement a ‘request a quote’ facility if you have a complex ordering process or deal with huge quantities.
12. Mobile-first design
Last but by no means least, it’s crucial that your B2B commerce website is geared up to serve mobile users.
Not only will this appease Google, whose algorithm changes over the last few years have moved towards this “mobile-first” approach but makes it far easier for your customers to browse and buy.
It’s important to note that not all of these points will be applicable to every business and their online store.
The best online experiences always cater to the needs of their customers first, balancing form and function with style and substance.
To learn more about how to take your B2B commerce website to the next level, contact one of our experts today.