Digital experience is huge for B2B buyers. Our recent report, Turning Salespeople into Strategic Advisors, revealed that 88% percent of buyers would turn to a competitor if a current supplier could not keep up. Businesses that deliver subpar digital experiences now will see long-term negative effects on the bottom line – but those who meet customer expectations could experience long-term loyalty. So, what exactly do buyers look for in their online experience?
B2B buyers reported seamless eCommerce experiences are non-negotiable. Ecommerce websites that don’t fulfill buyer needs result in the loss of purchases. The need is so great that 81% of buyers said they would purchase from a supplier with slightly higher prices if their website provided a better user experience, a jump up from the 74% who agreed in 2019. Suppliers need to be easy to do business with to keep buyers from switching to their competitors.
A common frustration shared among B2B buyers is a lack of product information online. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they had difficulty understanding product specs. Another fifty-seven percent of survey respondents said they were unable to find and compare products and pricing. When buyers are making major purchases, it’s important to not just have access to information, but to have access to the right information. To accomplish this, businesses need to display ample product information that can help the buyer make a more informed purchasing decision.
Of course, the lack of information can lead to challenges with choosing which product to purchase compared to others. 43% of those surveyed had trouble understanding the benefits various products could bring to their business. Companies should rely on their sales team to give any guidance the buyer may need while contemplating which product to purchase. The expectation however is not for the salespeople to share the same information that can be found online. Rather, they should be personalizing the content to give customized solutions to the consumers. It’s an integration of the two, not an “either, or.”
The effective use of salespeople as strategic advisors is where suppliers can gain a competitive edge over eCommerce giants such as Amazon. While Amazon provides a virtually seamless online shopping experience, there are no salespeople to talk you through your options. All the information you have access to is on the website. While this might work for consumer shopping, highly complex B2B purchases require increased guidance from experienced salespeople. Buyers can’t possibly know everything there is to know about all the product options on the market, or how those products can help them reach their specific business goals. It seems only natural that they would want an advisor to explain the benefits of the product and how that can impact the business’ bottom line.
It’s also important to remember that digital experience optimization is an ongoing process. It is not enough to simply buy the technology and not use all the benefits it has to offer. Companies must continue to evolve and improve their digital tools and investments to provide the best journey for consumers. They must also consistently evaluate how their eCommerce and person-to-person sales teams work together. It is only then that the eCommerce experience can remain seamless.