I was scanning headlines at InternetRetailer.com and came across a tidbit of information that made me stop and think about how browser use affects B2B ecommerce. Here’s the initial graphic that caught my eye:

Ecommerce Consideration Internet Browser Performance

Of course, using common sense, I know that online shoppers utilize a number of Internet browsers, but exactly how many browsers? And what are the implications of those browser choices on how a B2B ecommerce site functions? Needless to say, I clicked on the graphic to learn more. Here’s what Internet Retailer shared next:

Ecommerce Consideration Internet Browser Performance 2

(Source: InternetRetailer.com)

With today’s online shoppers utilizing at least 6 unique browsers to view the web (and quite possibly more since there’s quite a few percentage points in the “other” category), it pays to stop and consider how your B2B ecommerce site performs in each of the major browsers. Here’s what’s got me thinking: I manage this blog as well as our corporate websites and so I understand the mindset that if the site looks good in my browser, it must look good in other browsers too, right?

Um, not exactly.

Anyone who has battled through an update to the most updated version of IE from an older version knows that what worked in the old version might (or might not) work in the new version. And I’m not picking on Internet Explorer specifically–each of the browsers have had similar upgrade issues–and that’s within in one browsing software! Imagine how differently an ecommerce site might look in an old version of IE, the newest version of IE and Safari. Or Chrome. Or FireFox.

So, what’s the B2B ecommerce lesson here? Check you site–visually and functionally–in all of the major browsers that your target market might be using to surf the web. Check to make sure that your site works on the major tablet devices and smart phones. Check with EVERY update to make sure the new pages or changes render properly. Your site’s usability will go up as a result–and your customers will be happier.

P.S.–Curious about what alternative browsers might be in the “Other” category? So was I and so I did a little research. Turns out there are a LOT of alternative browsers out there and while you can’t optimize for EVERY one of them, it’s helpful to know which alternative browsers your customers might be using. Check out the following links: