B2B brands faced a moment of transformation in 2020. While B2B buyers had long been shifting to digital channels for purchasing, the pandemic accelerated the movement. So, how can B2B brands successfully go digital in 2021? Here are some ideas to consider.
B2B buyers have long used digital to research and understand solutions. The majority, 71%, of B2B customers start their research with a Google search. In doing this, they go on to consume a large amount of content before they buy. They read, on average, 13 pieces of content about a product or service before making a decision.
Now, they want to buy online as well. According to a McKinsey study on B2B buyers post-pandemic:
When your buyers change, you need to meet them where they are and address new needs. Certainly, B2B companies have new eCommerce challenges to remedy. Let's look at some strategies and tips for going digital successfully.
If you want to capitalize on the pivot to digital, consider these important aspects of enabling easier, frictionless eCommerce experiences.
Creating an app for eCommerce customers isn’t difficult. It’s a maturing space with many ways to launch, either on your own or with platforms. Mobile app ordering shows giant leaps, with orders rising 250% during the pandemic. So, if you want to offer convenience and ease to customers, an app can be a great tool. It’s also something that customers can use on the go. That’s especially helpful for field service professions who don’t operate in offices.
Live chat has been a powerful tool for communication between B2B customers and vendors. Its adoption rose in 2020 because it’s convenient for shoppers. It can be an excellent platform for two-way communication and quickly answering questions and providing guidance.
Companies that were dependent on in-person meetings with customers had to adapt fast. Video calls were the obvious answer. There may have been concerns that they aren’t as effective, but that has turned out to be false. In fact, they've proven to be extremely effective. The number of video calls rose 41% during the pandemic. These purposeful interactions can actually give sales professionals more time with a customer, developing stronger relationships.
Video versus traveling saves money on travel, and sales teams may be enjoying a better quality of life with not being on the road all the time. They have more time to prep and customize pitches. It’s really a win-win for all parties.
The number one reason B2B customers want to buy online is convenience compared to other methods. Make it even easier by adding a few additions to your eCommerce offerings, such as:
These elements deliver convenience and can increase order revenue.
Self-service has become the norm in almost any transaction. In an eCommerce model, the key is to ensure that it’s as frictionless as possible. Friction is anything that could frustrate or slow down the checkout progress. Design it with an emphasis on the user experience (UX). You can make your eCommerce merchant processing secure, reliable, and optimized to manage fraud and chargebacks with the right partner provider.
Take the time to rethink the checkout experience. You can get insights from your data, including actual sales and abandoned cart scenarios.
Follow these best practices to ensure your eCommerce offering fits your customer needs and new buying patterns. By focusing on these practical tactics, you can win at digital in the B2B realm.