The secret of success for driving business customers to your website can be complex, but there is some solid information available to make the process a little easier.

For example, a 2017 survey conducted by Forrester/B2BecNews revealed that B2B customers are not all that different from the typical e-commerce consumer. When asked what drives businesses to buy from any particular website, the top response from 26% of respondents was “most credible product details.”

The next two highest ranked responses were:

  • “easiest to use” (17%)
  • “fastest delivery/shipment” (15%)

Interestingly, the lowest ranked specific responses were:

  • “best customer service” (7%)
  • “broadest product selection” (7%)

The only responses ranking lower were “other” (3%) and “don’t know” (1%).

For companies in the B2B biz, this provides invaluable insight into where to focus resources to attract and keep customers. A website overhaul may be in order if product details are lacking. Additionally, ensuring the entire site, from browsing to searching to completing a transaction, is user-friendly, can make a huge difference.

Amazon’s Prime two-day free shipping, followed by free one-day and free same-day shipping, fed a consumer hunger for speedy and affordable fulfilment of orders. Other businesses, such as Wal-Mart, have since jumped on board to the fast & free shipping bandwagon, sometimes requiring a minimum order amount or, like Amazon, a membership fee.

Where B2B customers and typical e-commerce consumers differ can be summarized in four key ways, according to the Houston Chronicle.

1. Advance Planning.
A typical e-commerce consumer may make spur-of-the-moment purchasing decisions, but for businesses, usually there is some planning involved.

Accommodating advance planning can be as simple as offering wish lists where items can be saved for future ordering. Allowing for those lists to be shared enables multiple parties at the customer business to review and decide on the specified items.

2. Purchase Process
Advanced planning naturally leads into the decision-making aspect of the purchase process. Many businesses have a purchasing process that involves more than one person’s approval or some type of formal authorization before purchases may be made.

Often when e-commerce consumers make the decision to make any purchases, they may do so independently and quickly.

3. Support Contracts
An e-commerce consumer may make a purchase of a piece of office equipment such as a copier, with no worries about support contracts. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises consumers that the cost of add-on service contracts may make them not worth buying.

However,, for many businesses it is a requirement for making the purchase. They need to know that if something goes wrong with the equipment they have a solid means of resolution.

4. The B2B Relationship
The FTC repeatedly advised consumers in it’s Read Up! How to Be an Informed Consumer brochure that being informed means shopping around and comparing prices. This precludes relying upon an established vendor relationship for making purchases.

For businesses, though, having an established relationship with another business they can trust and count on to serve them well is an important part of the decision-making and purchasing processes.

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