B2B eCommerce is only just about the cheapest price? Way off. For business customers, the shopping experience is becoming a central selection criterion in procurement – even ahead of product and price!
Accenture predicts that the shopping experience will be the key differentiator for B2B eCommerce companies by 2020. McKinsey also points out the advantages of an optimally designed customer experience: The consistent orientation towards customer needs leads to higher customer satisfaction, sales increases of 10 to 15 percent and a cost reduction of 10 to 20 percent – plus increasing employee satisfaction as well. So the crucial question is: How can the shopping experience be optimally designed?
A shopping experience is created on the basis of a variety of touch points
The shopping experience encompasses all of the buyer’s interactions and experiences with all touch points before, during and after the purchase. Touch points are products, suppliers, distribution channels (e.g. online store, eCommerce app, print catalog, retail shop) and other consumers.
An outstanding shopping experience begins with the supplier’s claim to concentrate on what is important for the customer and to deliver exactly that at the touch point. In particular, the supplier should take the following dimensions into consideration:
- Quality and emotionality of the product presentation and the product range
- Quality and interactivity of product search and advice
- Design and function of the sales channel
- Contact with service personnel and other consumers
- After-sales support
The B2B eCommerce app – a touch point that captivates
With a B2B eCommerce app, providers can benefit from an innovative sales channel that offers all the technical foundations with regard to the quality of product presentation, interactivity and quality in product search as well as design and functionality of the sales channel. The contact and after-sales dimensions can also be displayed in a B2B eCommerce app in a highly customer-friendly manner. A B2B eCommerce app is a contemporary touch point that will delight customers – provided it is designed professionally and with user-friendliness in mind. Therefore, it is essential to first capture the expectations of the target group and then implement them in the app.
What do B2B eCommerce app users basically expect?
From a technological perspective, customers first and foremost expect maximum comfort. Comfort is achieved when the app is easy to use and the information and the products that the customer is looking for are displayed instantly Speed and intuitive operation of the app are key success factors. Sophisticated synchronization technology is fundamental when it comes to speed: B2B users are enthusiastic about the secure feeling of receiving the desired product in the shortest possible time and at the same time having an extensive selection available. A clear and conclusive interaction design as well as the consistent implementation of relevant usability tests are essential for the user to understand the app intuitively and to be able to put it to direct use.
True usability is more than just design and technology
But that is not all: Concentrating solely on beautiful design and intuitive user guidance would not be enough. The requirements for a user-friendly eCommerce app for business customers are much more complex. The topic of user experience should therefore be managed jointly by marketing and sales as well as by the responsible specialist department. Technically complex requirements should be considered from the outset in order to map product specifications or application areas in the eCommerce app with the necessary depth of detail and quality.
A successful practical example is the eCommerce app from the Swiss company Winterhalter + Fenner. A “Kombitool” was developed specifically for this purpose. This special socket configurator makes it easier for the customer to arrange and assemble the individual elements and thus to place the correct order. A true added value for the customer that pays off.
The integration of digital catalogs with detailed product descriptions in the eCommerce app offers users another easily accessible source. The possibility of ordering directly from the digital product catalog increases order frequency. Those who enable their users to quickly create a new order based on the order history or display frequently purchased items and quantities will notice that they place repeat orders more frequently.
Often the buying decision in the B2B environment is complex, requires decisions of different departments and extends over a longer period of time. This process should be supported by the eCommerce app by providing different user profiles, taking into account higher-level frameworks and discount agreements and buffering order processes that have not yet been completed for further internal coordination processes.
Stay competitive with a top B2B eCommerce app
If B2B companies want to outlive the competition, they must come to understand the shopping experience in eCommerce as a central component. In the future, the shopping experience of customers will increasingly decide on whether a shop succeeds or fails. A professionally implemented B2B eCommerce app increases the shopping experience sustainably. Especially for B2B customers, a simple and fastest possible “Search-Find-Buy” process is key. With a user-oriented B2B eCommerce app, the customer receives a work tool from its business partner that functions reliably, simply and quickly at all times.