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Like most e-commerce managers, you probably focus on improving your B2B customer experience. After all, that separates the top players from the rest of the pack. According to a recent study by Wunderman Thompson among B2B buyers, you may also want to consider offering a more B2C-like customer experience. That’s because 90% of buyers surveyed said they now expect a B2C experience from their favorite B2B brands because they enjoy the seamless, convenient, personalized digital experiences the best brands offer. And they want the same when they buy with their professional hats on. So, what does that mean for you? Read on to find out.

 

This is how you personalize the B2B buying experience:

Download: AI & Personalization in B2B E-Commerce

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1. Focus on customer satisfaction

Commerce managers know what key performance indicators (KPIs) your buyers use to evaluate suppliers. According to The B2B Future Shopper 2021, 38% of global B2B buyers identified customer satisfaction as one of their top KPIs. Delivering that ultimate B2B customer experience is critical. Here are a few tips:

  • Prioritize customers’ needs.

  • Provide personalized offers and customizable products.

  • Provide high-quality products and services.

  • Make sure your products are easy to find.

  • Build a quick and easy check-out process.

  • Offer free shipping and prompt delivery with tracking information.

  • Offer a wide variety of payment options.

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2. Treat your client as a person, not as a number

When it comes to e-commerce in B2B, personalization is critical. A 2020 survey revealed that 52% of customers expect personalized offers. In another survey, 84% said being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to them. You want to ensure that each customer feels like he is being treated as if he is your only customer. But how? It starts with making the shopping experience as personal as possible. And for that, you need to go beyond just tweaking the content on your site. Instead, you need to bring the in-person shopping experience online.

One way to do this is through suggestive selling, a technique where you suggest products to customers based on their past purchases and browsing behavior. So, if a customer buys a drill, you might offer some screws and a level to match. This takes personalized recommendations to the next level by suggesting products instead of just displaying them.

Factsheet: Personalized Search & Recommendations
Another way to create a more personal B2B shopping experience is through chatbots. These are computer programs that can mimic human conversation. They can help customers to find products, check out, and answer questions without a hassle.

Buyers value the support of people they see as trusted advisors. How to build that into digital journeys is challenging.

 

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3. Innovate the digital experience

To keep up with the competition, businesses must create a cutting-edge digital experience that caters to their buyers’ needs. As mentioned above, chatbots and AI are great solutions to make that happen. 50% of businesses using AI are using it to address areas of friction within sales and marketing, such as churn analysis, personalization, recommendations, content and asset production, and governance.

Innovating the digital experience by providing state-of-the-art technology like chatbots or AI makes it easy for buyers to purchase what they need, when needed, in a personal and tailored way to their business.

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4. Don’t underestimate the power of search

Search is one of the central pillars of the digital ecosystem. Whether browsing for ideas, carrying out research, or going straight to a product to buy, people need to be able to find what they are looking for before a transaction takes place. Did you know that:

  • 61% of buyers stop purchasing online due to a lack of search functionality on B2B sites.

  • 35% of buyers stop purchasing online due to difficulty selecting the right product.

  • 32% of buyers stop purchasing online due to difficulty finding products.

Successful B2B search strategies need to acknowledge that modern buyers are looking for products in various ways and expect simplicity, consistency, and convenience across all channels – which is why search needs to be omnichannel. The modern B2B vendor must offer multiple online and offline touchpoints.

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5. Provide self-services

As mentioned above, B2B buyers today expect the same level of service from their suppliers as they receive when shopping for personal goods. By providing self-services, you cannot only improve the customer experience but also increase the loyalty of your B2B buyers. Besides that, providing robust self-service tools can significantly reduce costs related to acquiring and servicing customers while freeing sales and service teams to focus on higher-value activities. However, as mentioned in tip 2, buyers value the support of people they see as trusted advisors. Offering self-services should be different from the value of trusted advisors. It’s all about finding the right balance to serve your customers best. But all in all, a self-service portal helps to automate complex sales processes, maximize customer lifetime value via personalization and merchandising, and market value-added services to drive growth, which differentiates your business from competitors and establishes deeper customer relationships.

 

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Conclusion

Finding the right balance between automation and the value of trusted advisors is vital to distinguish your business from competitors and build deeper customer relationships. Proven tools like chatbots, AI, and self-service portals will help you to automate complex sales processes with personalized offers, content, and recommendations, but it’s still people you sell to. So, it’s not all about reducing costs and maximizing sales. It’s also about bringing that little bit of extra value and making your customers feel heard. Because in the end, a satisfied customer is the best business strategy overall and personalization is just about giving buyers what they want.

If you want to learn more about the power of personalized, AI-driven B2B buying journeys, this whitepaper is a must-read:

 

Download: AI & Personalization in B2B E-Commerce

 

About Wunderman Thompson:

Intershop business partner Wunderman Thompson is a global leader in helping brands and retailers grow and succeed in an era of connected commerce. Their commerce offerings include global ecommerce consultancy that brings strategic clarity, tech know-how, and creative inspiration to help organizations deliver winning commerce capabilities across digital channels. Visit www.wundermanthompson.com and contact our experts to learn more.