Learn how you can provide greater customer convenience and drive repeat B2B sales through eCommerce. The seven B2B examples below illustrate ways to enhance your customer’s experience, increase revenue, and decrease operational expense. All sites featured were built by Unilog.
- Mallory Safety & Supply: smart product groupings and personalized logo items
- Quality Mill Supply: customer part numbers, RFQs, and live chat
- Town & Country Hardware: BOPIS, product reviews, and brand marketing pages
- Shearer Supply: predictive search with image previews
- Turtle & Hughes: comparison pages with color-coding for differences
- Fairmont Supply: outstanding product content and data
- Cooney Brothers: quick order pad with cut-and-paste efficiency
There are many things that make Mallory’s website a great example of a B2B eCommerce storefront. First, you’ll notice in the image to the right that they do a great job of grouping similar products into one expandable view. For example, the safety vest pictured bottom right comes in many different sizes. Rather than display every size as a separate result on the search or browse page, they group the results under one listing. When a visitor or buyer clicks the “View Options” button next to that item, the list expands to show all the size options with real-time pricing and availability for each. B2B ecommerce websites that don’t group items in this way frustrate site visitors because it forces them to sort through too many product options at once, often leading to abandoned sessions. The site also does a nice job of making the search bar and shopping cart icon “sticky” at the top of the navigation so that they never disappear from the screen, even when visitors scroll down the page.
Another unique feature on Mallory’s B2B eCommerce website is the ability for buyers to customize the products they purchase by adding their own logo. This capability was provided via an integration with Custom Safety Products. When a buyer adds certain items to their cart, they see an option to upload their own logo, preview it on the actual item, and view the updated cost based on this personalization feature. This is a unique B2B example of providing a value-add feature that other eCommerce websites don’t.
Quality Mill is an exceptional B2B example of an eCommerce website that provides convenience for their customers. It starts with a feature called “Customer Part Number” or CPN. If their buyers have their own unique part number for an item on Quality Mill’s website, they can enter that part number on the item detail page. This allows that customer to return to the site in the future and search on their own unique part number and have that item returned in the search results. In addition, customers can add items to their own unique product list for future reference or re-ordering. Talk about convenience!
Another convenient feature of Quality Mill’s B2B eCommerce site is the ability to submit an RFQ (request for quote). This is a good example of a micro conversion; while it may not result in a direct purchase, it allows the buyer to engage with the sales team at Quality Mill to see if they can offer a solution to the customer’s need. You’ll also notice in the image to the right that Quality Mill has a live chat feature powered by Olark that allows their customers to interact with their sales team in real-time. By providing the live chat and RFQ capability, Quality Mill can ensure no customers hit a dead end while browsing on their B2B eCommerce website.
While Town & Country Hardware considers themselves a retail store, they also have a pro component to their business model, which makes them a relevant B2B example. In fact, many of the traditionally B2C eCommerce features have become standard in the B2B eCommerce market. One such feature is BOPIS (buy online pickup in store). Big-box competitors like Home Depot and Lowe’s have revealed that a very large percentage of their eCommerce business follows this model, and other B2B companies have followed suit by providing customers the option to pick up product same-day at their branch locations or showrooms. In addition, Town & Country Hardware’s website features product reviews to help build trust with their customers. In order to accelerate the number of product reviews on their eCommerce site, Unilog integrated Bazaarvoice on this site. Bazaarvoice can pull in product reviews for items you sell, even if the reviews were not submitted on your site.
Another standout feature of Town & Country Hardware’s eCommerce site is the use of Brand/Manufacturer pages. They use it to convey the value of brands like Stihl, Traeger, Benjamin Moore, and Green Egg. But in the B2B market, you may want to showcase content for brands like Square D, Rockwell Automation, Kohler, Ingersoll Rand, or other lines you carry. Brand pages allow you to add videos, images, and other marketing materials to promote your knowledge of the products you sell. When buyers search for those brand names, they’re presented with a banner at the top of the search results page that expands to reveal your promoted brand content.
More than 40% of eCommerce site visitors turn to your site search before anything else. They have intent to buy and they have an idea of what they need. Shearer Supply is a good B2B example in eCommerce of a company who has enhanced their site search to display product images as the site predicts what the buyer is searching for while typing. In the example to the right, the buyer is typing “Wi-Fi” to begin their search for smart thermostats. Buyers don’t even need to hit the search results page; they can click the product image from the predictive search box and navigate directly to the item detail page. Many B2B companies will also provide the option to “Add to Cart” from the search bar preview, which is a convenient navigational element that helps improve conversion rates.
Customers want to be sure they’re getting the right product. Allowing buyers to compare multiple products that are similar, but may have slight differences, can help prevent future product returns. Turtle.com is an example of a B2B eCommerce site that allows buyers to easily see the differences between multiple products on a single page. More than just a comparison page, the site allows you to highlight the differences (or similarities) of product specs and attributes with easy color coding.
Product data and content – such as images, manuals, specs, attributes, videos, and more – are critical in attracting new buyers to your site (via search engines) and helping current customers get the answers they need. Fairmont Supply is a great B2B example in eCommerce of a distributor who has invested in robust product content to feature on their website. In the image to the right, you’ll notice multiple product images, a brief description, the manufacturer part number, UPC number, and Fairmont Supply part number. But if you were to scroll down this page further, you’d see a complete list of features and specs for this compact cordless drill/driver kit, along with other resources. The “Associated Products” in the right column also offer helpful alternatives for this item. Finally, Fairmont Supply is smart in displaying their list price. While customers can always login for their negotiated pricing, Fairmont allows anonymous shoppers to buy the higher margin list price.
Our final B2B example of an eCommerce site with strong capabilities is Cooney Brothers, a 3rd generation, family owned and operated PVF distributor. They provide customers with a quick order pad that allows buyers to rapidly enter part numbers and have those items added to their shopping cart. What makes Cooney Brothers’ site a notch above others who offer quick order pad capabilities is that they also allow buyers to cut and paste data from an Excel spreadsheet directly into their web form, so no re-typing is necessary. It’s a simple time-saver that their customers appreciate, and it cuts down on manual error rates.