The B2B market is expected to become twice the size of the B2C market by 2020. In the US alone, B2B e-commerce sales is expected to cross $1.1 trillion by 2020. Another study, this one by UPS, shows 63% of industrial buyers purchase online, with half of them transacting through e-commerce platforms.
To take advantage of this encouraging trend, building an e-commerce site alone is not sufficient. You need to work toward making your site customer friendly in order to attract and retain customers. The following best practices can help you do that:
Your site design has to be visually captivating and at the same time, it should also be easily navigable with clean layouts. Your products should be arranged into well-defined categories, making it easy for buyers to view and choose from them. A structured menu with product carousels, search engines and filters provide a positive customer experience. If you require customers to sign-up before purchase, make sure the process is quick and demands only necessary information to be filled in. Since a tedious check-out process is one of the main reasons for cart abandonment, you need to do all you can to make the process smooth for your customers.
Your site should provide sufficient detail about products to satisfy customer curiosity and encourage a purchase decision. Not having sufficient product information leads to the customer walking away from the product or probable disappointment. Ensure you provide the full cost of purchase, including shipping charges, to make the purchase as transparent as possible for the customer. Product Information Management applications are useful in managing product information and ensuring information is consistent across delivery channels.
Bulk, repeated orders are common in B2B transactions. It is convenient for business customers if your site remembers previous order information and instructions. Your site should be robust enough to support multiple orders. It should integrate with back-end like your CRM, ERP, and inventory management platforms to collate customer information and update inventory and prices real-time so that your site does not display incorrect information regarding your stock to customers. Provide multiple payment options like credit cards, ACH, purchase cards, and wire transfers to the customer to make it easy for customers to purchase from you.
Business customers tend to be loyal to a seller with whom they have had a good purchase and delivery experience in the past. Hence, good B2B sites see a large number of repeat customers. You can build loyalty further by using site personalization to offer a tailored experience to your customers. You can also use customer segmentation to divide your customers based on various criteria like their location, interests, and purchasing capacity to offer targeted promotions and incentives, which can help you drive sales and earn customer satisfaction.
Mobile allows you to give your customers the anywhere-anytime shopping experience. 78% B2B companies believe mobile to be the future of online commerce. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly so that customers are able to access your site from a mobile device as easily as they do from a computer.
Giving your customers a rich experience can ensure they keep coming back to you for their future needs. These best practices can help you see high customer satisfaction and a steady increase in your e-commerce revenue.