How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Value Proposition
By Tom Wintaugh
Create customer segments that help you retain more business over the long term.
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Fostering a shopping experience that is simultaneously streamlined (efficient) and satisfying (relevant and successful) is a key challenge for successful B2B selling. To strike the right balance between technical precision and engaging creativity, businesses must strive to understand the business buyer’s total journey, including time requirements, the culture and needs of their organization, and even the emotional basis of their shopping habits. In this blog, we’ll look at the essential elements that shape a successful B2B shopping journey.
How well do you understand the industry, price preferences, legalities, and work culture of your client businesses? Unlike individual consumers, B2B buyers usually arrive with a well-defined set of requirements set by their company and vertical. These buyers are often keen on forging long-lasting relationships, for the sole reason of making their recurring procurement processes easy, predictable, and reliable. This puts a significant emphasis on relationship-building and trust. Using this understanding as a basis, merchants should consider how all aspects of their shopping experience are specifically designed to cater to these needs.
Of course, different buyers will have different motivations and needs, making it important to cultivate an environment that nurtures these relationships individually, while addressing a diverse range customer groups.
The heart of a delightful B2B shopping experience is a website that makes it feel effortless to find the products, information, promotions, and support any given user is looking for. That means a blend of fluid, intuitive navigation around the site, paired with extreme usability of all site features once the user arrives at them.
Categories: All ecommerce sites need to have thoughtful category structures and site organization, but these elements can be further dialed in for the B2B buyer by considering the exact pathway they will take from first click to final purchase. How can you shorten that journey, and connect with the buyer’s actual needs faster and more efficiently?
Search: Search functionality should be extremely efficient, leveraging facets to aid a seamless product discovery process.
Responsive and Accessible: The website needs to be able to automatically adapt to the devices your shoppers are actually using, without any drop in performance or aesthetics from tablet to phone to desktop to POS. Accessibility should be considered across the site, with features like alt text, sizing/zoom options, and other assistive technology.
Speed: Maintaining a website that loads quickly can be a very decisive factor, reducing bounce rates and encouraging users to explore more of your offerings. We wrote more about the importance of speedy websites here.
For B2B buyers, the product is king. Meaning, the fine details of the product, including attributes, pricing, and use cases, are the core that informs buying purchases. B2B buyers might be analyzing your products against competitor specs, or perhaps internal compliance requirements. For these reasons, buyers appreciate detailed and comprehensive product information shared in an easy to access and understand format.
Product images: High-resolution images that provide a detailed view from various angles are a must. Customers also respond to interactive visualizers and 3D views which help them imagine the product in use.
Product descriptions: Succinctly outline the features and benefits for every product. In addition to creative copy, add technical specs to the description to give your customer every reason to buy. We discussed the art of product descriptions in greater detail here.
Review and rating system: The opinions of other buyers is an important data point for customers. These grant an honest insight into the product’s performance, leverage social proof as a conversion driver, and build a community of trust and reliability around your brand.
Tailoring a shopping experience that speaks personally to the B2B buyer’s needs is an excellent way to nurture repeat business over time. Personalization strategy hinges on offering a customized journey through your site which is informed by customer segment, account preferences, buying/browsing history, pre-negotiated terms, and any other data you collect which informs you about how your customers like to shop. We discussed how to personalize the B2B shopping experience in this on-demand webinar.
Finally, simplifying the checkout process is a way to ensure a hassle-free conclusion to the shopping journey. This last impression can promote customer satisfaction and retention over the long term. Implement features that facilitate easy ordering, re-ordering, robust payment and fulfillment options, tax calculation, and a secure payment process to create a seamless checkout experience for your customers.
Your B2B buyers should not only find what they are looking for with ease and efficiency, but also feel valued and supported as they move through your website. This good impression can be built across every page of the ecommerce website, by considering insights about this audience when designing and managing pages, selecting products and pricing, fulfilling orders, and executing customer service. By keeping the emphasis firmly on addressing your customers’ unique needs, you set the stage for an enduring and profitable relationship with business buyers.
Katy Ellquist, Miva’s Digital Marketing Strategist, is an accomplished writer, marketer, and social media analyst who has created sophisticated content campaigns for a broad range of professional clients. She brings to Miva a complex understanding of ecommerce trends and techniques, building upon extensive digital agency experience and a prior role as direct liaison to Miva’s top accounts. Katy is a regular contributor to the Miva blog, covering essential ecommerce topics like design & development strategy, site optimization, and omnichannel selling, with the goal of increasing the actionable knowledgebase of the entire Miva community.
Tom is a Content Marketing Specialist at Miva.