There are several tactics a B2B merchant can use to increase their conversion rate. These include a mobile-ready online store, quick ordering and reordering, inclusion of detailed product information, and more. Implementing these features on your B2B website will have a positive impact on your conversions, but what is it that makes them effective?
To really understand what separates a successful B2B website from its competitors, you should evaluate not just the features that are used, but why they work. Understanding the motivations of your B2B customers will give you further insight into improving your conversion rate. So, why are B2B buyers so attracted to these types of features?
A bit of analysis, and you'll see that many of the suggested implementations have the same overarching goal: speed.
Why Speed is the Root of All B2B Conversion Optimization
As a B2B merchant, you're familiar with the ways B2B buyers are different from "regular" B2C customers. B2B buyers aren't shopping with the same motivations as B2C — they're on a mission to make a purchase for their business. They're also likely to be working under a very strict set of rules and limitations, as according to Statista's 2017 B2B eCommerce report, 81% of B2B buyers are company employees, not executives with broader power. Tight deadlines and tighter budgets are also probable factors.
The pressure is real — so real, in fact, that almost half of B2B buyers have regrets or second thoughts after their purchase. What we can take away from all this data is that B2B buyers want an easy decision-making process that will give them confidence in your products, and a smooth purchase path that makes the buying itself as painless as possible. This translates to speed in two different ways: decision-making speed, and website usage speed.
Increasing Decision-Making Speed
Your approach to the buyer plays a huge part in the ease of their decision-making process. This is why it's recommended to focus on benefits, rather than features — it's easier for a B2B buyer to absorb information when you're presenting it in a way that tells them directly how their business will benefit. The buyer can evaluate these benefits and weigh them against the needs of their business. If you list features instead, the buyer will need to spend extra time interpreting them to see how they might apply to the business's unique situation.
Multimedia such as videos, augmented or virtual reality are also popular for this exact reason: they give the buyer a closer look at aspects of your product that don't come through as easily in text or still photographs. They're the next best thing to inspecting a product in person.
Increasing Website and Purchasing Speed
It should go without saying that your page load speed is crucial, as all but the most dedicated customers will abandon your website if it takes too long to load. But page load speed isn't the only optimization you can make to give your buyers a faster experience. Your navigation, site layout, checkout pages and more should all be geared toward helping the buyer find what they need with as little difficulty as possible.
Nailing your navigation is easier if you use an app to track mouse movements and heatmaps, which show you how users interact with your site and help identify possible problems. Is everyone clicking on the wrong place? Do users scroll up and down repeatedly, as if they're having trouble finding something? Is there one link that everyone ignores? These are all signals that your layout needs improvement.
The desire for speed is why B2B buyers prefer a means of self-service, so make it simple for them to create an account, save payment information, and reorder via a quick order form. A single-page checkout also cuts several seconds off purchase time — combine this with saved information and one-click reordering, and you have every B2B buyer's dream: a way to replenish products in less than 60 seconds.
Ultimately, your goal is to become the ideal B2B merchant in the eyes of your buyers by taking the uncertainty and difficulty out of a stressful process. Increase the ease and speed of purchasing from you by providing your customers with the shortest possible path between researching, choosing, buying, and reordering your products. You'll increase conversions and gain powerful customer loyalty this way. Why would a buyer want to go through that painful process with another seller when ordering from you is so convenient?
Knowing that speed is at the core of B2B conversion optimization will give you a better understanding of the mindset of your buyers, and enable you to make more informed decisions when it comes to the features you choose to implement on your eCommerce website. If every part of your site is geared toward speed and convenience for your B2B customers, buying from you will just seem like common sense.