E-commerce: how to improve the customer experience in b2b?

Par Laurent Desprez, Vice President and General Manager for Europe at Oro Inc.

In 2022, B2B buyers are demanding better digital experiences. They want a B2B customer experience similar to the B2C customer experience they enjoy when shopping in person.

A survey of B2B customer expectations conducted by Insights World Research and Oro inc. showed that demand for B2B online shopping is skyrocketing: over 80% of respondents indicated their intention to make at least 50% of their purchases from e-commerce sites in the next 12 months🇧🇷

The investigation also revealed that companies need to improve the experience for B2B buyers🇧🇷

The pain points most frequently cited by B2B buyers in their shopping experiences are:

  • lack of personalization (39%),
  • lack of real-time inventory information (38%)
  • and the length of purchase processes (34%).

Therefore, e-merchants are interested in improving the experience of their B2B customers to gain competitiveness…

5 tips to improve the B2B customer experience

#1 – Equip yourself with a B2B e-commerce platform

It is not appropriate to build B2B shopping experiences with a B2C eCommerce platform.

Equipping yourself with a B2B e-commerce platform offers the possibility of customizing and adapting to the requirements of B2B customers.

The creation of online catalogs and personalized price lists for each client is also fundamental.

To do this, you can include frequently purchased products or compatible with frequently purchased items.

In addition, the use of a B2B e-commerce platform makes it possible to offer an online sales site by language or currency and to market the products that each customer wants to buy, indicating the availability of the products and shipping possibilities.

#2 – Provide a view of available inventories

At this point, it is necessary to connect the e-commerce sites with ERP, WMS or any other system to give customers a real-time view of product availability.

For companies that have several warehouses, the use of geolocation allows defining the warehouse that will respond to an order and the shipping time.

This saves the customer from having to call or email to find out about stocks and allows them to more easily complete a transaction, ensuring their order is filled.

The proposed experience is therefore engaging and contributes to offering the customer a framework of confidence and quality to make their purchases.

#3 – Offer a self-service portal

B2B customers want to manage their orders themselves.

Setting up self-service portals allows users to access their order information (including status and tracking), invoices and order history.

It may also be interesting to offer the possibility of placing new orders thanks to the history of orders placed or digitizing the return authorization process to facilitate the management of order returns.

Finally, offering an online chat, either with a live operator or with an AI, allows you to answer questions in real time.

#4 – Expand your content offering

In 2022, B2B buyers are looking for an Amazon-like shopping experience.

In this context, it is necessary to enrich your content to improve the customer experience.

We should also think about adding state-of-the-art research tools to simplify product access, offer tutorials and troubleshooting videos, allow customers to download user manuals and installation guides, etc.

Finally, don’t forget to use your CRM data to deliver content tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey.

#5 – Integrate B2B customer purchasing processes

At this point, it is necessary to let B2B customers define the necessary authorizations and accesses to carry out their purchase processes.

Also, be careful to clearly identify whether customers prefer EDI or their own online shopping system over using an e-commerce platform and whether they need to provide integration.

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