Customer experience enhancements can increase revenue from B2B customers in the same way as it does for B2C. B2B e-commerce enhancements can include:

  • Transaction security
  • Trade efficiency
  • Easy to access information such as product specifications
  • Simplifying the business processes to improve the customer experience – such as credit approval and contract management – and even integrate with customers’ back-end systems for complex workflows.
  • Improving the payment process by adding cost-effective online and even mobile payment channels and by supporting the full range of B2B payment options from purchase orders to credit cards.
  • Offering more convenient and flexible delivery options, such as pick up in branch or deliver to project locations.
B2B customers seek as much information online, if not more, than their B2C counterparts. Business spend always has to be justified, so a higher standard of information is sought.  They look for useful product or service descriptions, informative comparison charts, enticing up-sells and an easy path to communication with your organisation.

Three very important lessons B2B e-commerce could learn from B2C:

1. Understand your customer perspective

With many design teams adopting or at least talking about UCD (User Centred Design) and the process of embedding it, we should not forget that motivating a team to improve UX (user experience) for your users or clients is not just about providing a list of issues, but sharing the pain. As well as their delight of course! Truly successful UCD is emotional and cultural, not just a process.

2. The more complex the scenario, the higher the need for supportive user interfaces

B2B sites ought to emphasise usability more, not less, because you are helping users to accomplish more advanced tasks and research more specialised products.

3. Both B2C check-out conversion and B2B lead generation impact the bottom line.

It’s true that B2B sites do not always end in purchase, but they still have leads to generate and closures to achieve. Prospects use websites during their initial research and stick with the helpful sites during subsequent research. A company site is the first port of call. Thus, a site that inadequately communicates the credibility of a vendor and its products can seriously deter incoming leads – long before your official sales efforts begin.

B2B customers expect the same level of user experience that mainstream B2C sites have long offered. Isn’t it time to give it to them?

Would you like to contribute to a definitive study on user experience? Then please go here and fill in the survey.