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Many companies know it but struggle to put their customers' needs at the center of all activities. The lack of doing so has a massive impact on the website's user experience and sales performance. Digitalization experts therefore use the conversion rate as one of the most important B2B commerce KPIs to monitor.

This article shares ideas on how to improve the conversion rate in B2B online stores. But let's take a look at the definition of conversion rate first:

 

What is the conversion rate?

In the context of sales and marketing, a conversion is the transformation of a website visitor to a customer, or at least a registered user. However, a marketing conversion can also be a click on an ad or a banner. What a conversion looks like and what it entails depends on the goals of the company or the online marketer:  In B2B commerce, a conversion is understood as a page visitor placing an order and thus developing from a prospect to a customer.

 

What role does the user experience play for the conversion rate in B2B?

First impressions count - while B2B commerce may still lack behind B2C, Gartner already states that 80% of all professional buying processes will be digital by 2025. So it's high time that B2B companies take improving the user experience seriously.  An online store optimized for efficient procurement is the basis for a high conversion rate:

Fast loading times, specific catalogs, detailed product descriptions, individual prices and order templates for fast re-ordering are a must in B2B.

But besides those no-brainers, B2B experts should go the extra mile to make the buying process for their customers as easy and fast as possible. Here are 3 tools and features that may push your conversion rate way ahead of industry standards!

 

Boost your conversion rate with an AI-based search and recommendations

No website visitor should experience the following:  They type in a search query and the Search Result List (SRL) comes back blank. This is reason enough for many visitors to leave the site and continue their journey in a different store.

In order to prevent this, the search must already know what the visitor is looking for, understand synonyms and suggest alternative search terms and spellings even in the case of incorrect entries. If no matching products are found, the search should find products that are closely related to the item being searched for. Every good on-site search can do that.

But, technology can do more: Get ready for  AI-based search and recommendations. Data-driven personalized user experiences powered by AI can boost your conversion by a whopping 20%! The secret is to leverage all your data sources and understand the buying behavior of the website visitor. Done right, display perfectly matching products, accessories, documentation or information at the right time and place, on every device.

 A/B tests have shown a difference in average order value of >100% between visitors that did not get the recommendations and visitors that did. Overall, products added to basket increased 28%. (Chi Shing Chang, founder of SPARQUE.AI)

But AI-based search can enable even more! Imagine ordering spare parts by uploading a photo of the broken equipment! Image recognition by machine learning algorithms make it possible.

Automate the conversion with quick order, re-order and subscription features

B2B customers demand a fast and effortless ordering process. B2B commerce platforms need to have a plethora of out-of-the-box B2B features ready to enable that:

  • A quick order form can be used to create an order directly after entering the product ID and quantity.
  • A re-order is basically the re-submission of a weekly shopping list and enables orders based on the order history.
  • In a subscription, a periodically recurring, identical list of products is automatically ordered. The customer can comfortably rely on their continuous orders and establishes a long-term relationship with the vendor. A win-win situation, for the vendor can assume predictable sales.

Boost the conversion rate by taking the whole B2B buying center into account

B2B purchasing processes generally call for different authorizations by different people in different roles. Some users might only have viewing rights in the B2B online store, others have a free budget to spend.

 A B2B online store should therefore be able to map different roles in the buying center - from user to buyer to account administrator - in order to meet their special requirements as well as their internal processes.

The assignment of unique rights allows individual employees to place orders independently and within the limits of their assigned budget. At the same time, the cost center agent maintains an overview of the expenses incurred - a glance at the budget management is all that is required.

If the order process exceeds the budget, the approver can reject or approve the order and thus retain the necessary control over expenses at all times. In addition, a split shopping basket, to which every user has access regardless of the touchpoint, can prevent time-consuming processes in coordination.

How does that affect the conversion rate? The answer lies in the absolute mandate for each website user. If the user interface allows the right person to order the right product, abandoned carts or site drop-outs are a thing of the past.

Are you looking for further approaches to how your marketing and IT colleagues can positively influence your conversion rate? Download our free .pdf file, a checklist "Conversion Rate in B2B-Commerce - 12 tips to turn customers into loyal fans" right here:

Download the complete checklist now!