In our most recent episode of our podcast Everything eCommerce, we talked B2B eCommerce with Steve Kemish of Junction Agency, and we asked him about the top mistakes he sees businesses make in B2B eCommerce. Forrester Research¹ reports that the B2B eCommerce market totalled $889 billion in 2017. By 2020, that number is projected to reach over $1.2 trillion. B2B eCommerce has quietly grown to surpass the size of the more visible B2C eCommerce marketplace, today accounting for 2.5 the volume of B2C online purchases.
Despite this explosion in the market, there is still a lack of understanding and a lot of work to be done. A vast amount of companies are still approaching B2B eCommerce as if it was B2C, or as if it was completely far removed from a human experience. Today we explore three key mistakes that businesses make in B2B eCommerce.
- Don’t try and do everything yourself
One of the main points Steve raised was that many companies try to do everything themselves rather than outsource what they don’t know, which often results in a resolution that isn’t fit for purpose. Instead of spending precious time and resources creating your own software and platforms, know when to look elsewhere and get someone qualified in for the job. Companies need to be careful with new software and where they are investing their money, so make sure what you are spending your budget on is actually worth it.
We see it all too often with live chat, companies will purchase live chat software and attempt to man the chat themselves, putting their phone team on chat. This is a huge mistake, as it means you are taking skilled people out of where they perform best, they may be a wizard on the phone but have a typing speed that would make your grandma look like Steve Jobs. Knowing when to outsource and hand the job over to people who know what they are doing can make a massive impact on your success online.
- Focusing on the product instead of the prospect’s needs
You know your product inside out, you’ve helped create the thing and you are positively bursting with information on every detail of it… but most of that isn’t helpful when it comes to talking with potential customers. Through the selling process, whether that be through a phone call, live chat or even the way you display the product on your website, you need to market to the needs of that specific customer.
Taking a ‘here’s what we do for you’ approach rather than a ‘here’s what we do’ can work wonders when it comes to B2B eCommerce. Instead of selling your product’s features, focus on the benefits it will bring to your potential customer. A good way to do this is through a live chat feature, wherein the prospect can chat to a trained agent about their needs specifically, and receive tailored content and suggestions based around that. Using a proactive strategy, the chat can appear to them when they need it most and be the deciding factor between a sale or not.
- Neglecting the usability of your site
Many companies assume user experience is only important on B2C websites, when in fact it’s more important on B2B. It’s important to keep in mind that ultimately you are creating an H2H (human to human) experience, and website and product usability should never fall to the wayside. Steve Kemish mentioned in our podcast that he user-tested a site, and what eventually persuaded the company to allow the budget to rework the site was the expression of a customer on webcam trying to get past a certain point.
According to a 2014 Google report, millennials comprise nearly 50%² of all B2B buyers. Millennials have grown up using technology and therefore are more likely to rely on it for research or when making work decisions. Because they use online solutions in their personal life for B2C purposes, they subconsciously expect an online experience similar to B2C shopping. In fact, according to a recent survey by MarkMonitor Online Barometer, 65% of B2B customers want simplified ordering experiences from B2B eCommerce portals, while 61% list ease of finding products via search as very important when buying online.
If there is an inherent issue with the way your site works, you most likely won’t notice it yourself after spending hours and hours pouring over it. You need to ensure it’s tested by people who have never used the site before, and if they are getting stuck at a certain point, then it’s time to take a look and rethink that part of your site.
B2B eCommerce is growing exponentially, so make sure you are ahead of the curve and you have a strategy in place for eCommerce at every step of the sales funnel.
Find out how live chat can help your B2B eCommerce website here.
Check out the full podcast episode here.
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