The number of B2B buyers shopping online is predicted to skyrocket in the next few years. According to a Forrester’s survey, 74% of B2B customers already conduct over 50% of their research online even when they purchase offline.
Most B2B buyers begin their journey with Google. Without displaying and selling products online, businesses have a hard time getting their website ranked among the top three search results on Google’s first page.
If you don’t yet have an online store, now is the best time to invest in one. However, you must do more than just launch an ecommerce site: you must consider your customers’ needs and requirements. Even though you are targeting businesses instead of consumers, buyers are still ordinary people. They expect similar purchase experiences in their private and business life. You must offer them an extremely easy purchasing path and an omnichannel shopping experience.
Take customer needs as a starting point
At Solteq, when we plan a new online store for a B2B company, we always carefully examine the characteristics, expectations and shopping preferences of current clients. That information helps to create an optimal customer experience from start to finish. Customer feedback is a good starting point for developing an online store.
Let me share an example with you. We recently had a meeting with our client supplying B2B products. The company had begun to receive lots of customer enquiries why placing reorders took so much time and effort. It took customers days to browse their product history and ensure they were ordering the right products. Since all their previous orders were saved in the system, they wanted to reorder with a simple click of a button.
We started designing an online B2B store allowing customers to see their customer-specific product prices, reorder products effortlessly and shop online just as they do as B2C consumers.
Attitude slows down the transition to the digital age
Even though research and customer feedback clearly indicate launching online B2B stores makes sense, some companies are dragging their feet transitioning to the digital age.
The biggest obstacle to opening an online store is attitude. Many companies cling to their existing business model even though they could easily support their old sales channels with new ones. Another major obstacle is fear. Many companies fear what will happen if they let their customers and competitors see their prices. However, if customers can’t see the prices, they prefer shopping at a competitor’s store.
You should bear in mind that price alone doesn’t seal the deal. B2B buyers search for information just like B2C consumers. This means you can influence their purchase decisions with high-quality product information and a smooth purchase process.
A well-functioning online B2B store increases sales, strengthens current business and frees up human resources, because customers can easily place orders online themselves.
Let’s greet B2B ecommerce as a great business opportunity.