How B2B eCommerce Companies can Learn from B2C to Improve Customer Experience
In the closing years of the 20th century, B2B was not so exposed to ecommerce as it is today. During those days, B2B was mainly an offline activity, which was fulfilled via a network of B2B professionals and merchants. However, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Things have rapidly changed since the beginning of the 21st century and business has become more wired than before. A lot of people think that B2B has lost the deal by not following eCommerce over the years, but according to many researchers and professionals, ecommerce can still serve B2B companies as well.
Common knowledge is that B2B companies are reputed to be slow to change. Thus, they adopt ecommerce later than their B2C company counterparts. However, this does not mean that the B2B space is full of companies that are lazy about change. The fact is that B2B is a domain that is full of challenges, that involves too many complex transactions, in the sense that some B2B businesses in the past have maintained that B2B ecommerce does not work for them.
However, this is precisely the opportunity for B2B companies to treat obstacles as challenges and stand out as leaders in their field of operation. By adopting four convenient tactics that are applied by B2C companies, B2B companies can manage and even master their online customer service experience as below:
1. Incorporate Reductive Navigation
Also known as faceted or layered navigation, this navigation allows users to refine their search and select different attributes of the product they are searching for. Thus, you can provide a lot of advantages for users who use faceted navigation, provided that it is set up correctly. Yet another facet to reductive navigation is that the product data should be capable of being integrated into an ecommerce system. The data can exist in many forms such as an Enterprise Resource System (ERP) or in the form of a Product Information Management system (PIM).
2. Provide Easy Checkout
Today, many B2C companies have incorporated simple checkout to reduce shopping cart abandonment, improve conversions and also increase repeat orders. Today, many retailers include single-page checkout that helps reduce abandonment rates and increase conversions. Implementing a single-page checkout should not be a difficult step for B2B companies, although the terms and conditions could be more complex for them than for B2C companies and retailers.
3. Become Mobile-enabled
Today, both B2C and B2B customers are increasingly accessing the internet from their smart-phones. Hence do not consider that including a smart-phone experience for your B2B website is just an add on for it. You might have noticed that the percentage of mobile traffic that comes to your website is increasing dramatically at present. Today, even B2B executives reach out for their phones to execute purchase decisions.
4. Become Digitally Oriented
The digital revolution has caused a tremendous upheaval in the way things were done. Companies are rapidly evolving and have changed the way business is conducted. Hence, businesses need to radically change the way they operate in today’s world and how they engage with customers. Omni Channel is the buzz word in most business spheres, where it works across diverse functions so that businesses can deliver in the right kind of customer engagement and experience.
Thus, the old pathways of thought needs to be broken down and internal mismanagement and misalignment needs to be fixed. Going digital does not mean the old processes should be woven around the new digital structure, but the change should come from withing and view omni-channel as holistic to provide the right level of customer engagement.
Thus, B2B companies have the advantage of learning from their B2C counterparts. Therefore, B2B companies should try to adopt to what ever good they have learned and implement them as part of their own business strategy.