There were many great concepts and strategies presented at this year’s B2B Online conference in Chicago, but one of the recurring points was that B2B eCommerce needs to look a lot more like B2C eCommerce.
This need could partly be due to the rise of millennials in the workplace (50% of B2B buyers are now millennials). And as that percentage increases, along with it comes millennial customer experience expectations. But this shift is also happening because buyers of any age interact with great B2C websites when shopping for themselves. Why wouldn’t they expect the same type of experience when shopping for their business?
When shopping online, buyers expect:
- Pricing transparency – Buyers, and specifically millennial buyers, expect to see prices during the discovery stage of the buying process. When they’re researching your products, they don’t want a phone number inviting them to contact you for more information. They don’t want a quote form that gets sent to someone in sales for follow up. More than 88% of B2B buyers choose to research a company’s website over talking with a salesperson, so arm them upfront with the information they need to consider your company’s products.
- Simplicity – Think of the most successful B2C websites, and they all have this in common. They make the buying process simple. One-click ordering. Intuitive search results. These sites make the purchase process painless. While one-click ordering may not always be possible with complex B2B purchases, consider starting with search. More than 75% of buyers say that having easy-to-find products is their #1 goal when using a website.
- Great customer service – Your B2B site needs to include plenty of opportunities for buyers to contact a relevant agent within your company. But also consider your website content as a customer service tool. Provide meaningful content that guides your buyers through any stage of the purchasing journey and also answers their questions after they become customers.
Buyers have come to expect more from their B2B eCommerce experience. The fact is, buyers will find the least painful path to purchase. If you don’t make it easy for them, that path may be to your competitor.