Web Design for B2B eCommerce is its Own Beast
Taking some queues from B2C can be helpful, but remember that your B2B site will serve a different clientele.
Using a website as a glorified brochure might work for retailers, travel agents and real estate professionals, but most B2B customers don't want glitz, distractions or bells and whistles. What business-to-business customers want varies among industries, but effective website design for eCommerce applications requires scalable and customizable platforms, a suite of administrative tools and superior analytics. Most B2B companies develop long-term relationships with their customers, and Web design is crucial to defining the rules for exchanging information, streamlining the conversion funnel and not wasting a busy buyer's time.
Building Customer Loyalty with a Reliable B2B Website
Websites for consumers target a wider audience and persuade people with emotional tactics like fostering desire, increasing status or saving money. Business customers look at websites more analytically and value brand identity and relationships. The unique demands of B2B eCommerce include a website that works as a reliable partner to nurture leads, increase conversions and customize the experience for established customers. Functional websites guide people from the landing page to the most appropriate channels and provide informational assets that buyers want such as demos, webinars, tutorials and white papers.
Actionable Problems that B2B Companies Face
More business is handled exclusively through contacts on a company's website, so an eCommerce site's service is crucial. B2B websites face specific challenges that include demonstrating products, integrating with the ERP, EDI and CRM systems that clients use and handling multitiered pricing and each customer's authorizing policies. Providing an integrated way of communicating and exchanging information is a design consideration that B2C websites don't have. Customer service begins before a customer orders a product, and website design plays a crucial role in converting sales, generating leads and building loyalty. Important issues companies face when marketing to results-oriented B2B customers include:
- Maximizing the relationship with a customer instead of landing a quick, one-time sale
- Building loyalty through branding, education and awareness campaigns
- Putting products first, ahead of marketing or superfluous information
- Answering questions instantly based on the buyer's needs
- Scalability to accommodate rapid increases in sales and data management without needing major upgrades
- Keeping design simple while providing high-quality images and graphics
- Providing multiple calls-to-action at appropriate times without hard-selling
- Getting business intelligence from every website visit
- Avoiding cookie-cutter website templates that make the site look unprofessional
The Service Shift Between B2B and B2C Customers
B2C consumers often can be sold on clever gimmicks, beautiful graphics, multiple products and biographical details that drive loyalty, but eCommerce buyers appreciate reliable service more than dazzling displays. B2C companies don't need a lot of service and support, but B2B customers will want reassurance when placing large orders. Functional eCommerce websites offer integrations that allow customers to place orders from within their CMS systems, and inventory management automatically updates in the seller's system. A fully integrated B2B website forwards any necessary paperwork, delivers on all promises and gathers information that evaluates success or failure. Unlike self-service consumer websites, B2B sites have longer, more detailed sales processes that often involve bringing in a salesperson to eliminate errors and misunderstandings or offer special arrangements based on mitigating factors.
Service Failures Caused by Inadequate Website Design
The most common failure in B2B eCommerce sites is failing to consider what the customer wants and placing that information front-and-center on landing pages. Tabs are handy for support information that some customers want but others don't need. Burying useful information is another common failure because companies get carried away talking about their businesses or marketing their brands. Keeping the website simple, navigable, intuitive and interactive impresses busy buyers and CEOs.
Clarity Can Help
Clarity eCommerce provides high-quality solutions that are designed to meet your specific needs. Out-of-the-box website designs don't work for eCommerce. Contact us for a free quote or consultation so that we can show you how our platform can help your business. Our long-term solutions are scalable, customizable, and marketable because they show your products to best effect and promote your brand, increase conversions and gain valuable leads and intelligence from every website visitor. The Clarity system provides intuitive integration, special checkout processes, choices of shipping options and applications for calculating local sales taxes, verifying addresses and making real-time calculations.