It comes as no surprise that B2B buyers expect digital customer experiences to be seamless, easy, and convenient. But most B2B organizations aren’t delivering B2C buying capabilities, even though 81% of online buyers would choose a supplier with excellent eCommerce and customer portal capabilities even if the supplier’s product was moderately higher priced. The takeaway? Bad digital experiences decrease customer loyalty and leave money on the table.
To stand out and gain market share, B2B commerce experiences have to offer buyers what they need, when they need it, across every channel. But many will need to deal with poor data management, technology debt or digital immaturity to do so. In their latest webinar, Marketing Experience lead Mary Schneeberger and Digital Strategy lead Mousumi Behari break down how to overcome these challenges to deliver great commerce experiences – and drive measurable digital revenue.
Challenges in B2B Experiences
- Shifting From Old School Sales to B2B eCommerce
- The accelerated shift to online commerce has been difficult for B2B businesses that previously relied on face-to-face sales. Now, they’re tasked with creating a comprehensive commerce solution with frictionless B2B buying, product information, and relevant, engaging content.
- Lack of Customer Insights
- With multiple customers and disjointed data management, it’s difficult to segment your customers effectively. But good segmentation empowers better integrated marketing and targeted content, leading to an increase in conversion rate.
- Digital Immaturity
- Innovation in B2B is being driven by experiences external to the industry; in other words, consumer experiences influence buying expectations in B2B. But B2B businesses have to fight against fractured foundational capabilities, leaving their experiences lagging behind expectations.
- Skill Gaps
- It’s not enough to invest in ecommerce technology. If your employees don’t know how to use the tech effectively, you’re unlikely to see a return on your investment. Prioritize employee training and competency development in parallel to technology investment.
- Shifting Salespeople to Service Providers
- Our latest B2B report shows a growing need from buyers to see sales reps serve as strategic advisors, not just order takers. This requires effective digital commerce with key product information and seamless checkout to empower buyers to make purchases themselves.
B2B Experience Changes with Big Impact
While each B2B buyer’s needs are unique, there are persistent trends in buyer expectations that have been accelerated during the digital evolution. By innovating in these areas first, you’ll see measurable results quickly and gain buy-in for larger digital transformation projects.
- Product Information Management: 59% of B2B buyers say they have difficulty understanding product specifications or configurations during the buying process. Another 39% find inconsistent product or service information across digital channels. Clean up your information and make it findable with tweaks in your search and navigation capabilities on your site.
- Seamless Online Purchasing: B2B buyers that want to complete purchases online often run into roadblocks like difficulty finding and comparing products or pricing (57%) or lack of transparency around delivery and fulfillment (37%). Pay attention to these aspects of your ecommerce channel to decrease abandoned carts and increase online revenue.
- Personalization: Personalization should be an integral part of every B2B marketing plan. Effective personalization can increase content engagement, discoverability, and lead generation. Try showing recently viewed items or content, suggest discovery items based on what similar visitors have done in the past, or related products or articles based on past purchasing and viewing habits. Not sure if personalization can drive results for your business? See how JLL drove 100% increase in lead generation and 75% increase in purchase orders with personalization at scale here.
How to Roll Out B2B Experience Changes
The best time to update your digital experiences is now. But blindly making updates and changes to your site isn’t going to help you reach your KPIs. Define your digital experience updates prior to launch by following these three steps.
- Don’t assume that you know what your customers want. Instead, use data analytics to identify what content is impactful, which pages have higher-than-normal bounce rates, and where customers are abandoning their cart during checkout. You can also create customer personas and conduct first-hand customer research.
- Define Outcomes
- Qualify what success looks like prior to making changes. Ask yourself what you’re striving for: Increased conversions? Greater average order value? Better brand recognition? These metrics should align to larger company-wide goals. Once confirmed, establish a regular cadence to review progress towards the goals and make any needed adjustments.
- Now that you’ve done the analysis, it’s time to start working on tactics. Create your initiatives, determine your financial investment, allocate internal resources and prioritize depending on what will have the highest impact. Maintain a customer centric perspective; your B2B buyers’ needs should guide your strategy, not the other way around.