The e-commerce landscape is changing dramatically due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Customers’ purchasing priorities have shifted to primarily essential products, and Stay-At-Home orders have shuttered retail stores and canceled B2B markets, leaving retailers and vendors reeling from sudden changes in demand.
With buyers under stress, dependent on e-commerce, and dealing with supply chain issues, it is now more important than ever to deliver an easy and transparent B2B e-commerce experience. In fact, Accenture reported that 19% of B2B buyers said poor commerce functionality would lead them to switch sellers, and another 15% said an inadequate website would drive them away.
To support your customers now—and keep their business in the future— incorporate these three features to elevate your B2B e-commerce experience.
Better Product Details and Real-Time Inventory
In November, a third of US B2B buyers said they would need more accurate product information to help them make decisions during a recession. Enhance your online product experience by beefing up product detail pages and online catalogs with detailed product descriptions and high-quality images, specs, and updated inventory to support purchasing decisions.
The latter is a common pain point for B2B buyers, even before the effects of COVID-19 sent customers on a frustrating hunt for in-stock products. Showing your B2B buyers an accurate representation of inventory saves them time, while, reducing frustration and customer churn.
To avoid frustrating your buyers:
Clearly label in- and out-of-stock items on search results and product detail pages.
Display in-stock items first by default in search results.
Consider removing out-of-stock items from your product feed. For example, you can connect Episerver Product Recommendations to your catalog feed to only display products that are in-stock.
Show available quantities of in-stock items.
Display a firm date when out-of-stock items will be available.
Give buyers the option to be notified when items are available (teeing up a future sale).
When possible, show complimentary items that are in stock, so buyers have alternative options to purchase.
Real-time Shipping Updates and Faster Delivery
B2B buyers, like B2C shoppers, want to track their orders and expect fast shipping options, like Amazon and its retail competitors provide.
In fact, “long lead times for delivery/fulfillment” tied for #1 alongside pricing as the reasons B2B buyers ditch sellers, with missed delivery dates securing second place.
B2B customers want updates on their orders’ expected arrival date and any changes to the delivery schedule. During the checkout process, consider including an opt-in for shipping updates between purchase and delivery or use marketing automation to send a follow up email with shipping updates.
Self-Service Reordering Tools
Though many buyers still want to meet with a sales rep to review new products and trends, they prefer to reorder products online. McKinsey surveyed 1,000 B2B buyers and found that 86% said they’d prefer a self-service reordering option, instead of going through a sales rep to reorder.
Make reordering easy through a simple retailer portal. Buyers can access previous orders, see updated inventory, and reorder in just a few clicks, making repeat sales simple for your business. Increase average order value by promoting AI-driven product recommendations on the same page.
If your site doesn’t support self-service reorders, now’s the time to add that capability—then promote it to your customers.
Retain more customers by delivering a better B2B buying experience
In addition to favorable payment terms, discounts and freight allowances, B2B buyers are looking to vendors to provide a complete customer experience. Keep your buyers coming back for more with a B2B site that’s easy to use, with detailed and up-to-date product information, accurate inventory, transparent delivery, and self-service tools.