The 5 Must-Haves in the Gold Standard Buyer Experience

  1. A simple user experience

A simple B2B eCommerce user experience should be straightforward and easy to use, even for the untrained buyer. This is especially important for manufacturers and distributors selling B2B, where the buyer may be less comfortable with technology. An intuitive B2B eCommerce buyer experience should include:  

  • Catalog browsing

  • Product search

  • Pricing that matches the buyer’s expectations

  • A cartview and running order total

  • An order confirmation

If this basic functionality is not working perfectly in your portal, your buyers will end up calling your customer service team with questions or revert back to your previous ordering process, even if it was more manual and time-consuming.

  1. Support for web and mobile ordering

Your B2B eCommerce provider should be able to accommodate the device preferences of your buyers, whether they want to place orders on a computer or a mobile device. This is not only important as a means to keep up with the standards set by the eCommerce experiences they are having in their consumer lives, but a strong mobile buying experience can have a meaningful impact on your buyers’ willingness to place orders online.

An important distinction to keep in mind is that of native mobile applications vs. mobile-optimized web commerce. In the mobile-optimized web buying experience, the buyer will need to have Internet access, and the user experience will be subject to any interruptions in connectivity. By contrast, a native mobile application is one that is installed via an app store. It can utilize the device’s camera as a barcode scanner, and can even function offline.

According to a study of over 500 manufacturers and distributors selling B2B, having a superior mobile buying experience (specifically, using an app and not a mobile website) correlates to higher B2B eCommerce buyer adoption.

To provide an exceptional mobile commerce experience and optimize for high usage of your B2B eCommerce offering, investing in a native mobile application is critical.

  1. Access to product & order information

Your B2B eCommerce user experience should include giving your customers 24/7 access to important product and order information. Outside of table-stakes information like product images and descriptions, this can include available-to-ship dates, real-time updated inventory levels for each of your products, or flags that note where items or in or out-of-stock.

This product-specific information can help manage buyer expectations, reduce backorders, and encourage the discovery of new items––all of which create a positive experience that keep your customers regularly coming back to your portal. It’s also important to provide buyers with access to their order history, allowing them to not only identify their most frequently ordered items and order complementary products based on previous purchases, but also to quickly copy and submit a reorder. As reorders are often a significant portion of the orders placed via your eCommerce portal, your user experience should optimize for this scenario.

  1. Access to helpful product collateral

Top B2B eCommerce portals include a section for you to host marketing collateral that supports your buyer’s ordering process. These assets often include product education videos, merchandising guidelines, and lifestyle imagery that bring your products to life and answers any remaining questions the buyer may have after viewing your catalog.

  1. Seamless order confirmation & fulfillment

Orders submitted by your customers in the field should immediately sync to your back office systems. Immediate order sync speeds up fulfillment, allowing your customers to receive their shipments faster than ever. Your customers should also receive an email confirmation of their order, complete with thumbnail images of each item.

Founded in 2010, partner, Handshake provides the B2B Commerce platform that helps manufacturers and distributors get closer to their customers with seamless ordering both in-person and online. Handshake Direct, Handshake’s online ordering solution, gives suppliers a website and native mobile app for their B2B customers to place orders online. For any questions about our partner, Handshake, reach out to us at [email protected].

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