In a recent blog I wrote called “Your Ecommerce Customers Are About to Change,” I discussed the unique opportunity businesses have been presented with due to COVID-19. Specifically, looking at how their customers, among many other things, will change forever in this new normal that we are starting to see each day. I wanted to focus a bit more on this and specifically dial into B2B organizations.
B2C markets have seen quite a shift in purchasing behavior as COVID has required more and more consumers have been forced to forgo their previous purchasing channels. But what does this look like on the B2B side of things?
I see this broken out in two ways. New customers and new customer behaviors.
COVID has forced many businesses to attempt to find products and services elsewhere. For example, tattoo shops use a lot of vinyl gloves and sanitizing products. Things that used to be so easy to find have become scarce and more challenging to source. As gloves and other PPE items become more in demand, the owner of that tattoo parlor may need to find a new, more reliable inventory source going forward. Where will they turn? Google.
As a manufacturer or distributor, it’s imperative to make sure that your business can not only be found in key customer entrance points like Google but that your site and experience are set up and ready to accept new customers. Creating easy, intuitive paths for users to register to become a customer, checkout as a guest, or find key information about your business has never been more important.
New Customer Behaviors:
Maybe even more important than new customers are the new behaviors your existing B2B customers are adopting. The way commerce occurs has changed forever, and just because your customers might have used a specific site feature to purchase previously, that doesn’t mean that they will need that feature today. As an example, let’s say you are a healthcare distributor selling to doctors’ offices. You may have previously had users place orders without any ordering restrictions or approvals. Going forward, your customers may now require all orders to be approved by a clinical staff member to make sure the appropriate items are on the order that is needed for patients.
Being able to identify these new behaviors or needs will help you build out features and experiences that your customers will need to conduct business in this “new normal.” However, sometimes adding a new feature or experience just isn’t enough. Sometimes new customer behaviors require something more to serve user needs.
Tune in next month, where I’ll discuss the how and when to build out a new channel model to capture B2C customers. For more information about how COVID-19 is shaping the future of innovation within the B2B healthcare space, check out our recent guide.