Why Is UX So Important to a B2B eCommerce Site?

First impressions of websites are critical, and 94 percent of customer judgments are design-related.

In agile development, “user story” is a term that refers to the interests of a key stakeholder group such as customers, staff, vendors, distributors and third-party business associates. Agile development assigns a distinct role in the development process to each of these stakeholders to ensure that their interests are well-represented when developing software applications for business operations and SaaS applications. In effect, different users are represented at each stage of software development from inception to implementation. The main goal in B2B applications in today's market is to improve user engagement and experience for each stakeholder. B2B eCommerce platforms fulfill this objective through UI / UX development.

One of the primary reasons why UX is so important for business-to-business customers can be illustrated by a Nielsen Norman study that found website users failed to complete website actions 28 percent of the time[1] That figure represents progress from the days when early Internet marketing companies enjoyed unparalleled growth, but their websites failed about 50 percent of the time, which is probably why the dot.com bubble burst. B2B customers today demand seamless website performance, customized features, self-service options and features like those found on B2C websites. There's still plenty of room for improvement when website operations fail in more than one-fourth of common operations, and proactive development of customer-centric features can result in companies securing a large percentage of dissatisfied customers and new business while inspiring greater customer loyalty to their brands.

Optimizing web displays and user controls

Reaching B2B customers on their mobile devices and optimizing displays and controls for user-friendly mobile searches and applications rank among the most important benefits of creating a signature experience for website visitors. The ability to segment customers and website visitors in real-time depends on developing full CRM integration, which enables many features and benefits that include the ability to display customized screens based on various criteria. This feature is a key advantage for attracting a new visitor's attention, answering user questions proactively and getting beyond the few-seconds-only threshold that many studies confirm is all the time that websites have to find ways of keeping customers and improving user engagement.

Enhancing usability

Empowered customers can perform dozens of self-service actions, order products, arrange shipping and check out their orders without a lot of distractions and complications. Business integrations enable automatic shipping choices and confirm details about inventory availability, sizes, colors and any other product features that customers can customize. Layering product information appeals to a range a buyers -- from those who know just what they want to those who need various levels of product information to decide or need to satisfy the needs of their own stakeholders and multiple decision-makers. The best practices for B2B usability include:

  • Highlighting the most popular and profitable products
  • Customizing displays based on customer profiles
  • Providing customized subdomain catalogs for easier product searches
  • Using visual cues, product demos, research and supply chain details to support the sale process
  • Updating information in real-time to avoid inaccuracies, expired offers and outdated content
  • Eliminating meaningless decorations, frills and clutter
  • Helping customers with more advanced processes such as researching specialized products
  • Making the customer's system status highly visible at all times with page headers, breadcrumb navigation, menu options and progress bars
  • Using words and phrases that customers understand or providing definitions of complex industry or technical terms
  • Giving customers macro and micro views, links to customer service and the tools to navigate the site easily
  • Showing high-quality images, videos and photos and never using blurry or generic materials that devalue the website

The Nielsen Norman Group identified more than 800 best practices that facilitate usability in eCommerce applications, and no website or platform could hope to implement all of them.[2] However, customizing the experience for each user allows companies to hit the most important marks for groups of buyers based on segmentation, past buying behavior, predictive analysis and comparisons to other customers with similar profiles.

Personalizing content and the user experience

First impressions of websites are critical, and 94 percent of customer judgments are design-related.[3] Great design in today's B2B marketplace depends more on utility and organization than any aesthetic criteria, and business buyers want quick answers to their questions, easy navigation and relevant content. Satisfying these needs generates better experiences by anticipating what customers want throughout their website journeys and providing content that's relevant and language-specific to the user.

Personalized content includes written descriptions, product specifications, supply chain information, safety information, product demos, company information, photos, images, reviews, testimonials and other support materials.

Enhancing internal operations and third-party integrations

Better customer experiences generate an incredible wealth of analytics data that allow companies to segment their customers more accurately and discover how their content, applications and customer-facing features are working. This information can be used with integrated CRM systems to trigger automatic marketing applications, personalized content, special offers and staff involvement at the right stage of the self-service process. The staff can monitor business operations closely from