HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE A ONE-STOP SHOP FOR BUYERS
Buyer expectations in the B2B marketplace continue to rise, causing many distributors to scramble to keep up. They want one place where they can research and compare products, learn how they work, get the latest information related to those products, and have the option to purchase them. According to Walker Information, 86% of buyers say they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience that offers these types of options. With this overwhelming desire for an enhanced experience, Walker predicts by 2020 that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Unfortunately, those distributors with a lackluster site are losing out to the competition as the new B2B buyer looks to other companies who can meet their needs. This white paper outlines the different technology, tools, and content that businesses can integrate into their current eCommerce site to build a better overall experience – one that will help draw more site visitors, keep them there longer, and convert more of their visits into sales.
The B2B marketplace is undergoing a transformation. What once was a single-channel method of selling and buying has evolved into an omnichannel, hybrid style of commerce that provides more convenience for buyers and more opportunities for sellers. Having an online storefront for customers to transact is a step in the right direction. But if distributors want buyers to get the most out of their user experience, they need to expand their site into a place where people can see relevant results from onsite searches, learn about the latest products and industry news, and make purchases as a result of those offerings – in other words, create a one-stop shop.
Today’s buyers are looking for more convenience, accessibility, and control when it comes to buying products and services. When a business puts more power and resources in the buyers’ hands, yet still offers the help and expertise of its sales and customer service staff, it’s creating better experiences, relationships and, ultimately, loyalty with buyers.
96% of B2B buyers want to see more content from industry thought leaders.
(2017 Demand Gen Report)
TRANSFORM YOUR ONLINE STOREFRONT INTO A GO-TO BUYER RESOURCE
If your current website isn’t built for transacting, or doesn’t provide information other than basic product specs, it’s time to add more commerce tools and content to create a great balance of online offerings.
- First and foremost, go mobile
Buyers want a great user experience every time, which translates to an easy to use and easy to navigate site that can be accessed from any computer or device. According to Forbes, 87% of Millennials use two to three devices a day because they contend mobile is essential in the workplace. Many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers agree, and say a mobile device brings convenience and efficiency to the job. Sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will not be able to compete in the B2B marketplace.
- Make search results relevant and worthwhile
Websites that feature robust product content and advanced search capabilities make finding products and related information simple for buyers. Open-source search platforms like Apache Solr give site visitors multiple ways to search and navigate, especially when the product information includes rich content like multiple attributes, product features, and supporting documents. Sites built with Solr also provide a navigation bar to refine search results, as well as intuitive capabilities such as type-ahead searches and interpreting misspelled words. Better search results help buyers find exactly what they’re looking for without having to click through multiple pages.
- Build a library of information
Looking for a differentiator between you and the competition? Publish relevant and useful content for buyers. Last year, Demand Gen Report found that 96% of B2B buyers want to see more content from industry thought leaders. Take advantage of the resources your company already has – knowledgeable staff, industry experience, and manufacturer materials – to create original content and share the latest information with your audience. With a good content strategy in place, your organization can build a repository of information and become a rising industry thought leader.
- Provide easy transactions and flexible payment options
Most distributors have a good mix of customers – from large contractors to mom-and-pop shops – so if they aren’t providing multiple payment options to meet their specific needs, they’re missing out on potential sales. First, provide a customer portal on your site that allows logged-in buyers to see their contracted pricing and product catalogs. Then, integrate punchout catalogs that enable customers to transact through their own e-procurement system. Lastly, offer payment gateways for those who prefer paying with a credit or debit card.
CONTINUALLY MANAGE AND EVOLVE YOUR SITE
A site must be constantly maintained and developed or it will lose relevance to buyers. Regardless of an organization’s size, if it has made the decision to have an eCommerce site, it needs a dedicated person or team to properly manage it. eCommerce typically falls under the areas of marketing and IT, but if ownership and roles are not clearly defined, critical areas of the site can be left abandoned. With a dedicated team in place, goals and deliverables can be balanced between the business areas more effectively. While it may be difficult for small and mid-sized companies to consider hiring a full-time person for their eCommerce efforts, it’s a necessary commitment if they want their site to succeed and bring ROI. Read on to learn how these Unilog customers have developed their sites into valuable resources, and have continued their online relevance and success in the B2B marketplace.
McNaughton-McKay – When the Michigan-based electrical distributor first began its website presence, its intention was to only provide an informational site for visitors. But as its customer needs evolved, so did McNaughton-McKay. With Unilog’s help, the company now provides a fully functional eCommerce site where buyers can shop its entire product catalog, transact, and access a huge resource library of articles, videos, and catalogs.
North Coast Electric – North Coast realizes digital commerce is a journey to meet customer needs and expectations. That’s why the full-line electrical distributor has been investing in and evolving its websites since 1997. Its two online stores are managed by a dedicated team that was recently expanded in order to develop and maintain its online content. Click here to learn more about North Coast’s commitment to digitally evolve.
Mayer Electric – Looking to add more efficiency and functionality to its website, this electrical supply company partnered with Unilog to give its site a major makeover that included converting it to a responsive design, streamlining the navigation, and upgrading the punchout functionality. Since going live, Mayer has experienced an increase in site users and greater efficiency. Read Mayer Electric’s success story here.
Would you like to transform your current site into a B2B marketplace asset? With help from the commerce experts at Unilog, you can. They offer an affordable and flexible Google cloud-based platform powered by CIMM2 that features better content management, advanced search capabilities, and a responsive design. With CIMM2, distributors have the power to build a superior e-business that today’s buyers want. To learn more and see CIMM2’s capabilities in action, contact a member of the Unilog team today.
Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace. Our cloud-based eCommerce platform and product data enrichment services help distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers increase online sales, reduce cost to serve, and enhance their digital channel. Unilog is an ISO 9001:2008- and ISO 8000-certified company with North American headquarters outside of Philadelphia, PA and international headquarters in Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.unilogcorp.com.