Think about the last time you wanted to buy something online. Chances are, you jumped onto Google, found something that looked relevant (or knew what you wanted from the jump) and made it to a website.
From here, one of two things happened. You either:
• Found what you were looking for, or
• Got lost in an outdated site or less-than-satisfactory user experience (or worse – both) and closed that tab ASAP.
So at this point, you were either rushing to your inbox to see if your order has shipped yet – or back to square one.
But what came next? This is the part we forget. You then went to work the next day, put your business hat on, and entered the B2B chat. Same person, same needs, same annoyance when websites suck – just a different email inbox open.
As millennials and gen Z come into their own, they’re bringing with them all the habits they’ve developed through growing up with the internet. And they’re now involved in 73% of B2B purchasing decisions.
So the default to email over a phone call, the wanting to research things on their own time without the pressure of committing to anything – these are the generations that want this in their 9-5 life as much as they do as a consumer.
We know that B2B eCommerce typically:
• Has a longer purchase cycle than B2C
• Involves a longer relationship than B2C
• Involves more decision makers than B2C
• Comes with a higher price tag than B2C
But we’ll let you in on one of the best-kept secrets in eCommerce right now. It’s in learning from the biggest players in B2C that the greatest potential for B2B lies. It’s where B2B eCommerce can replicate the user experience to the point where converting for your product is as second nature as adding that item to cart.
If you’re a wholesaler who’s been in business for a while, chances are a lot of your business is done in person or over the phone. But considering that most purchase decisions are already made before the first call with a salesperson, it may be a case of not knowing what you’re missing out on when it comes to today’s B2B eCommerce landscape.
So what’s driving these purchase decisions? The information that’s available on your website. And chances are, you’ve been playing the specifics (like pricing and account management) pretty close to your chest, saving these details as the proverbial ace up your sleeve.
But in the age where information has become currency, you’re likely selling yourself short of new leads – and new customers. This is the information that gives you credibility. Credibility leads to trust, and trust doesn’t just lead to purchases – it leads to ongoing relationships that could make a huge difference to your revenue.
In a 2015 survey of B2B purchasers, a whopping 57% of respondents said pricing was key content missing from vendors’ websites. 43% said that they wanted to see product reviews from previous purchasers.
See how this mirrors their experiences as consumers? And we’re willing to wager these stats have only grown.
The Takeaway: When it comes to the millennial consumer (and by extension, the millennial B2B purchaser), you’re pitching for their business from the moment they land on your site. Prove to them on every page why they should buy from you – and then make it easy for them to follow through.
So you’ve updated your site and armed your prospects with all the info they could possibly need to realise you’re the one they’ve been looking for. Cue the music, dim the lights, put the champagne on ice and let’s seal the deal.
Remembering back to your last online shopping experience again – in fact, let’s remember back to the last five or so (push past any buyer’s remorse that this may bring up). What did the purchasing experience across these sites have in common? Probably a fair bit actually – and that’s intentional.
If every site had a completely unique purchasing flow, we’d get fed up pretty easily. And nothing kills purchase intent like a frustrating user experience.
Now, this is assuming that your B2B customers can purchase from you online already. At a baseline, online ordering is all but essential to capitalise on the purchasing behaviour of your customers. More than a third want self-service functionality to boot.
86% of B2B purchasers would rather reorder online than through a sales rep. So ask yourself – are you missing out on 86% of your potential repeat ordering revenue without online ordering?
This all comes back to this idea that a B2B purchaser isn’t an eCommerce unicorn, popping up to buy on your site and never to be seen again. The person interested in buying from you? They probably have open tabs on Amazon and The Iconic while they browse your site.
B2B buyers are B2C buyers, and if you’re asking them to learn a completely different purchasing process to what they’re used to, they’ll just find someone else who offers what they’re looking for.
And what are they looking for? According to data from Shopify, business customers want:
• Enhanced search functionality (62%)
• Ratings and reviews (56%)
• Personalised recommendations (54%)
• Promotions and specials (51%)
• Mobile-optimised website (41%)
The Takeaway: Old dogs don’t want to learn new tricks. Learn from the checkout process of the retail websites your customers are purchasing from every day, and see how seamlessly the buying mindset translates across to a business application.
Chances are we’ve potentially pitched to you an entire overhaul of your B2B site just now. But this could be a blessing in disguise – particularly if you’re also in the B2C game.
If we were to make a Venn diagram (is there a better way to visually represent things? We think not) of B2C and B2B eCommerce, the little overlapping part in the middle? That’s your website.
Merging your retail and wholesale efforts not only makes things easier from a marketing perspective (one domain to remember? Yes please!) but also streamlines things on the back end.
By running your B2C and B2B sales through the one site, it’ll be easier to:
• Keep track of your inventory
• Integrate your CRM
• Set up and monitor Analytics
• Leverage your social engagement and SEO
• Make updates to your code, theme or user experience
A change like this may involve a change in your platform – not all eCommerce platforms are created equal, and it can be tricky to find your proverbial glass slipper. The key is to find a platform that offers all the front-end features that your customers want, and the back-end functionality that your business needs.
For example, if you want to include GST for retail buyers but charge GST exclusive for wholesale customers, then this will limit your options.
The Natives can point you in the direction of a platform that does it all based on your unique needs. Want a platform that has specific pricing tiers or specific pricing for certain clients? No issues. Just let us know how you operate and what you need, and we’ll take care of the rest.
The Takeaway: Managing one website is a helluva lot easier than managing two. Streamline your B2C and B2B efforts and reap the benefits across inventory management, analytics, content management and CRM integration.
A killer website experience establishes your credibility.
When it comes to the millennial consumer (and by extension, the millennial B2B purchaser), you’re pitching for their business from the moment they land on your site. Prove to them on every page why they should buy from you – and then make it easy for them to follow through.
If buying from you is easy, then they’ll probably do it.
Old dogs don’t want to learn new tricks. Learn from the checkout process of the retail websites your customers are purchasing from every day, and see how seamlessly the buying mindset translates across to a business application.
B2B and B2C eCommerce can be two sides of the same coin.
Managing one website is a helluva lot easier than managing two. Streamline your B2C and B2B efforts and reap the benefits across inventory management, analytics, content management and CRM integration.