Your B2B customers are exposed to Amazon-like experiences every day, so it’s likely they will have some of the same expectations when shopping on your eCommerce site. However, that doesn’t mean your site needs to mimic their favorite consumer website; businesses and individual consumers make purchases for very different reasons and do business in different ways.
B2C customers tend to make one-off impulse purchases which, for the most part, don’t require any follow-up communication or assistance. They like unique website designs and cool graphics that make for a fun and interactive customer experience. B2B customers, on the other hand, tend to make large, repeat purchases, but only after careful considerations are made and multiple people have approved the order. They want to find the right products at the right price, so they can easily make their purchase and move on to the next action item on their list.
Unlike B2Cs, you focus on developing a long-term relationship with your customers and building loyalty. You may have fewer customers than B2Cs, but you have higher-value relationships with them. In order to keep those loyal customers, your B2B eCommerce website needs to focus less on flashy looks and “coolness” factors, and more on providing useful information in a user-friendly manner so they can make the best purchasing decisions for their companies.
Don’t get us wrong – your site should strive to provide many of the features and tools that B2C sites have, just make sure they’re the ones that your B2B customers actually want and need. Here are five B2C elements your B2B eCommerce site should include to keep your customers happy and loyal:
Omni-channel experience – Your customers need the ability to access and purchase your products wherever and whenever, which means you must have a mobile-friendly site that not only offers experiences across multiple devices, but features consistent content across your sales channels.
Ease of use – Don’t make it difficult for customers to find what they need; provide easy navigation and intuitive search capabilities to help them zero in on what they’re looking for, regardless of how they search for it.
Great content – Provide the best information you can about your products so customers can make an informed purchasing decision. This includes robust product descriptions, plenty of valuable specs, as well as product images, videos, data sheets and more to help them fully understand a product’s features and benefits.
Personalization – With the help of web analytics and reporting tools, you can better understand your customers’ needs and purchasing behaviors on your site so you can tailor their shopping experiences and provide relevant items that meet their needs. When you go that extra mile to personalize an experience, you build a better customer relationship.
Customer service – Customer service goes above and beyond a CSR answering questions or solving problems. You can provide additional customer service and personalization on your eCommerce site with features like a customer log-in portal that allows them to see their custom catalog of items, purchasing history and, if applicable, customer-specific pricing. Providing real-time inventory availability and shipping information are also great ways to give your customers peace of mind and confidence when ordering online. Live chat is another feature that allows you to be there for your customers 24/7, plus it’s a great way to increase conversions on your site.
As more and more people purchase products and services online, both B2Cs and B2Bs are striving to improve their customer experience. While B2Bs can learn a lot from B2C eCommerce sites, when it comes to eCommerce features, what works for one company may not work for another. If you’re not sure what your customers want from your site, ask them. After all, they’re not just an average customer; they’re your high-value customer.