UX for B2B
Over the last couple of years, we have seen e-commerce develop into a mature sales channel in the B2C market, meeting high demands on product presentation and customer service. But is the same true for B2B? And in that case - what is important from a UX point of view?
What's a "good experience"?
As with everything in life, how we experience a digital service depends largely on our expectations. The rapid development in online shopping for B2C has led many to expect the same simple and user-friendly interfaces and processes in e-commerce for professionals. However, this sector has many challenges in the form of differentiated pricing, custom product lists and tailor-made logistics. Nonetheless it’s possible to create end-client interfaces that give a great experience in the form of self-service functionality, mobile connectivity and easy access to support and service.
Before you start
Target groups, personas and user journeys are popular buzzwords, but the B2B landscape is usually more complex, and much of the useful information is in the heads of the sales force. Processes and personalisation are often implemented in the ERP and logistics systems. Before attempting to digitalise the buying process, it can be a good exercise to see if there are simplifications that can be implemented. Can we reduce the number of price lists? Can we simplify or standardise user journeys? Which API:s are available to peripheral and support systems? Which product information is available, both for our own products and for those we are reselling?
The majority of those tasked with purchasing in the B2B sector are skilled professionals, who really know their field and the challenges they face. Therefore it is important to respect their knowledge and show that you understand their problems and have solutions. Be generous with information and content - preferably in different formats - white papers, downloadable brochures that can be shared, video, 3D, AR… In short, that which helps the client, often in cooperation with colleagues, to make an informed purchase decision. Also remember that your prospects and customers aren’t all ready to buy. They are in different stages of the buying journey. Don’t be too greedy for information before giving access to content - an email address is usually enough if you have a CRM system in place.
Configurator or bulk order?
Products for business use are in general larger, more complex and more expensive than their B2C equivalents. Often there is a base product which regularly needs consumables and spare parts. A good experience could include a “visual” configurator for the base product and easy ordering of consumables or peripherals. It can be a good idea to offer bulk ordering via SKU codes, Excel uploads - or other time-saving methods of ordering the customers are accustomed to.
5 quick tips
- Always be clear with your sources for statistics and testimonials
- Offer support even during purchasing, by chat or phone
- Help your new digital customers along - demonstrate with a video or instructions. This will help bridge the gap from traditional sales
- Accessibility is no longer a "hygiene factor" - Google gives extra points to fast-loading pages and WCAG-compliant code
- Keep a "UX backlog" with improvements, both big and small, and track their effect over time
/David Aler, Strategist
Are you in need of advice on digital solutions for B2B? Reach out to our Sales Manager Johan Cassel, on +46 70-494 24 60 or firstname.lastname@example.org.