For a long time, Business to Business and Business to Consumer shops were in their own separate worlds. But that trend is changing. In truth, the worlds of B2C and B2B are colliding. B2B ecommerce is becoming more like B2C every day.
It makes sense. The folks that place the orders for their businesses are well-versed in personal online shopping and for a long time, personal shopping on B2C sites was usually easier. Business shoppers know how easy it is to buy from consumer-tailored stores. Why shouldn’t it be as easy for their business purchases?
As a result, expectations have changed and if you want to compete, one of the best ways to do it is to take a look at what B2C businesses are doing. Here are some tips to help you get started.
It’s all about usability.
A lot of B2B sites operate like catalogs and don’t take advantage of all the ways eCommerce has advanced in recent years. Think of some of the sites you personally like to shop on. Why is that? What makes them easy to use or sites you trust? Think about that and also consider looking at your store’s own usability. Some key areas to consider would be:
- Navigation – how easy is it for customers to find what they need and make their way through your site?
- Account personalization – With B2B, you’re bound to have a lot of repeat orders. Find ways to make things easier on your customers.
- Favorites Lists: Let your customers have saved favorites lists in their account to make ordering quick and convenient.
- Auto-fill Info: Autofill as much information as you can to help speed up the shopping and ordering process for your customers.
- Auto-correct prices to show discounts: If certain customers always get bulk pricing or always have a standard discount, be sure to show that before the checkout.
- Offer reordering options: In some cases, you might be able to come up with an auto-reorder option. Let your customer choose a timeframe like 30 or 60 days and set an auto re-order so they don’t even have to go to your site to get their supplies. This is convenient for them and it’s a guaranteed future sale for you. In other cases, you could save previous orders to allow for quick reordering at a click of a button.
- Product Recommendations: This is something you can do on product pages or dynamically in the shopping cart, depending on the items placed in the cart.
- Bulk ordering options: As you know, with business purchases, often customers need to buy in bulk. It’s important to make it easy to understand the bulk options on your site and make placing those orders as easy as possible. Make sure the pricing is clear and that it’s very easy to change the quantity as needed.
The bottom line is, when it comes to B2B, aside from your inventory and pricing, it’s all about convenience. The more ways you can find to make your shop the easiest and most efficient site to use, the more customers you’ll get and the more customers you’ll keep.
If you find ways to make their lives easier or get their ordering done in less time than they’re used to, they’ll love you for it.
One of the best things you can do is get honest feedback from a friend who is not familiar with your site. Let them take a look or even place a fake order and have them tell you what they thought. Ask them how easy it was to find what they needed or what they thought of your checkout process. An unbiased opinion can really help you.
Another route would be to get a usability audit. IoVista offers usability audits where we’ll review your site from top to bottom from the viewpoint of the user – but with eCommerce know-how. We can go through your site and find any trouble spots and make recommendations for fixing them. If you’re interested in a usability audit for your site, just send us an email or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.