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Turning the B2B e-commerce from procurement to self-service portal

In the past (but not so long ago), B2B websites were mostly “procurement” sites, where customers could access a large product catalog (rather say a product listing) and place quick orders by entering SKUs or uploading by CSV file import.

This time has changed. Today, we’re seeing B2B brands transforming the customer experience for the B2B buyer —starting with their digital channels.

B2B buyers now expect the same experience from their suppliers as they receive when shopping for personal items – Reminder: a B2B buyer is also a B2C buyer.

These buyers increasingly have a strong digital focus, and expect to find it in their professional purchase experiences, too.

To enhance their B2B buying experience, merchants should follow these steps:

Redesign the digital experience

Provide an ergonomic and responsive B2B e-commerce website that will work across all type of devices. A PWA website can also be a game-changer. Keep an eye on usability – screens may be complex on a B2B website.

Implement an efficient search

Suggestions, filters, sorting and even recommendations offer your customers the easiest and fastest way to find their products. Comparators, selectors and configurators are also useful to direct to the relevant product in a few clicks.

Personalize the B2B content

Each contact of your customer can have personalized content. Integrate as many data as you can from your internal systems (ERP, CRM), such as  prices, product catalogs, shipping details, payment terms.  Displaying content and marketing blocks specific to the user will be also a must.

Create a Single Point of Service

By providing access to sales documents (order confirmation, delivery notes, invoices), you can easily turn your website into a complete customer and self-service portal.

The list of services is endless. But you can easily enhance your existing website by adding some of these features :

  • Online incident management (error on delivery, defective item …)
  • Online return management
  • Online follow-up of inquiries (sales team, customer service …)
  • Blog pages, dedicated content or tools for your sector of activity

The most advanced B2B merchants are implementing voice-assisted search, IoT compatibility and other customer-centric features to their sites.

Before you reach this level of technicity, improve your current website with quick wins and regular features updates. Avoid any big band approach, and assist customers and internal teams accordingly – video tutorials are a good idea for this.

And remember to always put the customer in the center of your project.

This is the key.

We thank Cyrille de Sagazan of our partner Datasolution for this guest article!