The B2B space can be considered eternal. Brands will always need quality suppliers, making B2B virtually immune to oversaturation.
That’s not to say it isn’t evolving. Merchants and manufacturers operating in the B2B space must change accordingly. With eCommerce platforms lessening the need for technical design and coding skills, B2B businesses can take their online presence into their own hands.
In this article, we cover B2B eCommerce trends that those marketing B2B companies absolutely need to start implementing today if they want to bump up conversions and stay ahead of the fierce competition. Whether you’re supporting a startup or an established brand, take note.
#1. Transparency is Cool (and profitable)
Trust is the number one asset in consumer-focused eCommerce. Consumers can’t physically enter a store and get a hands-on feel for a brand and products. Therefore, trust needs to be established right off the bat.
B2B eCommerce is no different. Companies need to build trust through transparent pricing and a fluid user experience. Those in the B2B sector that are transparent with their online presence and pricing capture trust and heighten credibility. In fact, 44 percent of B2B buyers [MT1] say they want clear pricing on eCommerce sites. They also expect self-service features and the ability to easily schedule calls with salespeople.
#2. Multiple Payment Options
How do you improve conversion rate, increase customer retention and reduce cart abandonment? With a variety of payment options.
B2B buyers are always looking for ways to better manage cash flow and reduce costs. Providing multiple payment options such as payment plans, purchase orders and extended credit will bring more value and flexibility to your customers. Shopify Plus is a top-tier eCommerce solution for B2B brands that provides payment methods such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, money orders, bank deposits, BitCoin and more.
#3. Custom Landing Pages are the Weapon of Choice
What’s the most effective way to convey your offer to prospective customers? With dedicated, customized landing pages.
Conveying the information B2B customers need to see on landing pages can be tricky when compared to B2C. There are usually more decision-makers involved and showcasing the true value of a product or service at scale isn’t always a walk in the park.
B2B business landing pages need to:
- Educate the prospect about the problems you solve
- Clearly define your offer
- Guide them to the next step of the buyer’s journey with compelling content
In addition, elements that capture user information are often required to schedule callbacks and discuss transaction matters. If you’re using landing page builder software like PageFly, you can easily drag and drop form elements to your Shopify store if you choose to use that platform.
#4. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) Create Functional Opportunities for B2B
B2B decision-makers looking for fast, accurate and highly detailed information on products — and that’s perfect for VR and AR. Although their use is increasing more rapidly in B2C, they present a major opportunity for immersive and personalized experiences for B2B businesses.
VR and AR have the potential to help customers identify products quickly, particularly in niches that are more design-based such as machine parts and engineering materials.
Hololens by Microsoft is chasing the dream of enhanced productivity through hyper-realistic AR headsets. This allows partners, remote teams and potential clients to get a hands-on feel for products. It also opens up opportunities for virtual hangouts, making distance less relevant when discussing business transactions.
#5. Extensive Customer Support
89 percent of consumers will switch to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
That’s a whopping statistic, but the increasing importance of customer service is no secret. As web and social platforms become more advanced, engagement levels are also increasing, bringing with them a new demand for top-tier service.
With so much noise filling every marketplace, B2B businesses need to stand out from the crowd and truly connect with prospects. So how do you keep customers from running in the other direction? Or worse, venting to the world on social media about a poor customer experience?
One option is to perform regular customer service audits. The other is to have plenty of on-site resources like live chat, FAQs, and multiple lines of contact. Another viable route is to integrate artificial intelligence (AI). Business is being transformed by AI to the point that B2B merchants simply can’t ignore it anymore. Chatbots can be used for customer queries anytime communication with a human is expected.
AI chatbots have the unique ability to collect data over time, providing faster and more personalized responses to future inquiries. Engagement improves and brings agility to the sales process thanks to the chatbots’ ability to track behavior patterns and, in turn, create more qualified leads.
#6. The Advent of Fully Personalized Shopping Experiences
When shopping online, one in three buyers [MT3] choose their vendors based on personalization features such as AI, predictive ordering, one-click reordering and customized product catalogs. The additional value and convenience they add increase conversion rates.
To create such a personalized experience, merchants need to use enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms to integrate purchasing, inventory, sales, marketing, finance, human resources and other data from disparate sources. ERP systems are the virtual glue that holds all the organizational systems together.
#7. Welcome to Voice Commerce
B2B consumers are increasingly looking for voice capabilities when ordering online. Voice commerce excels at repeat orders, which are common in the B2B space.
Voice commerce negates the need for long, visual descriptions and lets customers order hands-free with ease. Although this technology is still in its infancy, voice commerce is worth keeping a close eye on for merchants serious about increasing conversions and optimizing the user experience.
eCommerce platforms are rapidly advancing. If your B2B company is considering implementing a new platform or optimizing an existing site, choose an all-encompassing platform that allows for customization and advanced integration.
Shopify Plus is a viable option that continues to grow alongside eCommerce trends and takes the technical burden off of business owners so they can focus on growth.
Staying ahead of the game is key to creating memorable user experiences that lead to a loyal following and repeat business.
About the Author:
Brendan is a copywriter, content creator and CRO expert at PageFly. Brendan helps eCommerce merchants strengthen their brand, drive quality traffic and capture more sales.