In today’s digital business environment, b2b sellers need to ensure they consistently offer an online experience that meets customer expectations, supports increased sales and grows brand loyalty. But there are many myths around b2b ecommerce that continue to hold back some companies. Here are some of those myths – and why you can ignore them:
Stylish website design is just for b2c companies
Think again! Website designs change fast and can quickly look out of date – just because you’re selling to other businesses doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of what’s happening in the market and regularly adjusting your approach accordingly. In addition, new design elements are constantly making the buyer’s job easier and improving the customer experience. These elements are what you need to be searching for and incorporating into your site.
Keep a check on what your competitors are up to, and what you can learn from them to improve your own site. For example, online video is growing in popularity and is becoming more cost efficient to produce. It can be a great way of communicating technical or complex content. Above all else, make sure your site stays optimised for mobile!
I should build a website that appeals to everyone, whether they’re a customer or not
Wrong! Focus on building a website for your customers. Connecting with your customers and providing them with the service they expect is all that matters. But in order to make those connections, you need to really understand who your customers are. Research can help to create accurate buyer personas and provides the insights required to develop compelling messages that inspire customers to buy from you.
If you can segment your market into different niches, it’s worth creating individual landing pages for different types of customer featuring personalised content tailored to each specific audience. Create pages that are explicit about who your products are aimed at so that visitors can instantly make a strong connection with you.
Business customers hate dealing with automated digital processes
Not true! Intelligent software and a best-in-class ecommerce platform helps to make processes quicker and slicker by automating simple or repetitive tasks such as order management. It’s what business buyers are used to from sites like Amazon as consumers in their personal lives, and they expect a similar experience in their professional lives. Automation also frees up your team to add value in other areas of the business.
The aim has to be to make ecommerce as easy as possible, with a streamlined customer journey and a faultless customer experience. So, for example, you might want consider investing in live chat and customer service portals to help you manage your customer experience 24/7. Customer service pop-ups and sales chats should be seamlessly integrated into your site design so they are natural and unobtrusive.
Everyone expects sites to have a few problems here and there – it doesn’t really matter
It does matter! Unfortunately it’s all too common to see mistakes occurring with sites, and while some customers may choose to ignore these, others will immediately go elsewhere to place their order. We encourage the businesses we work with to aim for fast-loading pages that deliver a smooth visitor experience – and no unnecessary errors. Most problems are avoidable if you regularly check and update your online environment to ensure your software is current and your site code is healthy and secure. A lot of these issues can be avoided if you opt for a cloud-based ecommerce solution.
Aim to give your customers as much relevant information as possible. For example, real-time inventory position or delivery dates, rather than a pointless 404-page redirect when stock has run out. The customer experience can be greatly enhanced by integrating your ecommerce platform with accounting systems like Sage or Pegasus so that customers have all the information they need to make informed buying decisions.
Keep on top of your web analytics – your visitors will usually let you know what they don’t like about your site through the way they behave. And it’s also worth conducting regular usability audits, particularly after you’ve made design changes to your site, to determine if the layout and categorisation chime with visitors.
Social is just for b2c, it’s not going to benefit my b2b business
Take another look – b2b businesses can also benefit from using social media to boost sales! Just like b2c consumers, business customers want to feel they’re buying a good product for a fair price from a popular company that has earned the confidence of other satisfied buyers.
You need to focus on creating – and continually growing – a social hub for your company where customers can access reviews, testimonials, and relevant case studies. Encourage customers, friends, connections and followers to share product knowledge and experiences with their peers – and let them know they’ll be helping others if they publish reviews and testimonials about your products and services.
Although these are just some of the many myths around running an online b2b business, there’s no doubt that there are significant challenges to be overcome. What’s important is that you can continue to offer your customers best value and make the job of buying from you as easy as possible. Keeping your customers happy should be your number one priority – but this is only possible with the right ecommerce system.