There's no question that as a B2B company, you need an eCommerce website to stay relevant and competitive.
To increase the effectiveness of your online stores you need to abide to the latest eCommerce trends, consider including these five features to help you fulfill those needs of your B2B customers:
1. Personalized Pricing Information
Many B2B companies offer different pricing structure for different customers, e.g., discounts for certain groups of customers, bundle pricing for a specific combination of SKUs, and quantity discount etc.
Your customers, when logged in, should see information specific to their accounts as well as the products and quantity they're ordering.
The information displayed should also reflect any online or offline interaction their companies have with your sales or customer support team to avoid any error, confusion, or frustration.
2. A Smooth and Fast Checkout Process
Checkout and payment for B2B transactions are likely to be far more complicated than for most B2C sales so make sure you have a well-crafted user experience for your eCommerce site's checkout process to minimize cart abandonment and increase conversion rate.
As a B2B merchant, your checkout process not only needs to be streamlined but also accommodate factors such as:
- Displaying spending limit specific to the buyers' account and their roles
- Integration with your client companies' purchasing and approval process
- Ability to provide a variety of payment methods, e.g. credit card, purchase requisition, extend trade credit or your own credit program, and handle the complexity of various charge types.
- Real-time verification of shipping restrictions of certain products to certain states, if applicable
- Enabling customers to charge shipping fee to their carriers' accounts (e.g. USP, FedEx)
- Ability to retrieve and use payment information from previous purchases
3. A User-Friendly Search Function
Improving the search functionality on your website can help your customers find what they need faster, thereby reducing friction and increasing conversion.
That means going beyond simply slapping a simple search bar on your website. If you offer a sizable variety of products, your B2B eCommcere site can benefit from these enhanced search functionalities:
- Filtering -- allow users to refine search results by selecting attributes (e.g. size, color etc.)
- Handling Long Tail Semantic Searches -- this function means the search engine can interpret the intent behind the user's search. On average, sites with a semantic-based search experience a 2 percent abandonment rate compared to the 40 percent abandonment rate reported by sites with a text-based search bar.
- Using Autocomplete -- this functionality not only helps customers save time but the suggestions also surface items your visitors might not have thought of purchasing. It was found that customers who land on an autocomplete page suggestion are six times more likely to convert than those who don’t.
4. Real-Time Customer Support
A "request a quote" form or a "contact us" page is a must. However, if you want to boost your conversion rate, consider adding live chat to provide real-time customer support.
It was found that live chat could generate 4 to 8 times more leads for eCommerce sites.
Many B2B companies experience resistance from sales reps who may consider the eCommerce website as a "rival" or a "threat."
To get your sales rep on board, structure your eCommerce site so it helps them become more effective when serving customers, whether on phone or in person. E.g. allow them to log in as customers and place orders for them, give them access to check inventory while talking to customers, and provide them with the capability to order samples of products for customers or easy access to product specifications and sales materials.
5. Mobile Enhanced User Experience
More and more B2B buyers and decision makers are doing research and placing orders via mobile devices. In fact, up to 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point during the decision-making process.
Having a mobile-responsive website is a given. However, there's more you can do by incorporating "mobile enhanced" features onto your website, such as:
- "Click To Call' button -- this allows visitors to get real-time customer support with just a tap of a button.
- Autocomplete -- the website can autofill information pertaining to geographical locations using the mobile device's location service.
- Mobile-friendly design -- fewer bells and whistles (e.g. videos and animation) to reduce load time, larger buttons to make clicking easy and placing calls-to-action closer to the top to save visitors from endless scrolling can all contribute to a better user experience that leads to conversion.