Historically, B2B ecommerce sites have tended toward a more utilitarian look/feel than their B2C counterparts, but this trend is rapidly changing.
The most successful B2B ecommerce sites now feature a fine balance of searchable content, images and interactive tools within the constructs of a clean graphic design.
One thing is clear: Successful B2B ecommerce sites focus on user-friendliness and making the shopping process as easy as possible to ensure the customer is able to make a purchase quickly.
A Needle in a Haystack
Without a robust search platform to help guide your visitors, finding that one SKU they need could be a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack. Suggestions to help your customers find what they are looking for include:
- Make sure that all of your site content is searchable including product names, part numbers, product descriptions, support documents and frequently asked questions (FAQs).
- Consider providing a guided search tool such as a product quiz or configurator that asks questions about the product a customer wants to buy and reduces the results to a manageable number.
- Offer dual navigation–for example, by function as well as by key attribute.
Images–they’re not just for consumer-oriented sites anymore. Images help site visitors confirm that they are ordering the right product and show the product “in action.”
- Utilize thumbnail sized images to help the customer confirm that he/she is ordering the right product.
- Show your products “in action” as a way to explain complex functionality or to break up lines of copy and specifications.
- Consider at least one or two key product beauty shots to improve your site’s overall user experience. (Hint: This is especially helpful since we are all consumers at heart, even if the purchase is for business.)
Once pigeon-holed as tools for consumer-driven sites only, interactive tools and media have a clear place on the B2B ecommerce site.
- Interactive search tools that help a visitor isolate the product they would like to purchase from thousands of SKUs make the shopping experience quicker and more manageable for the shopper.
- Product demonstration videos educate your audience on new or advanced products they might wish to try.
- Estimation and quoting engines provide real time, on-the-fly pricing which speeds up the purchasing cycle.
- Product or store locator tools drive customers that are not willing to buy online to the closest retail location to make their purchase.
Clean Graphic Design
Traditionally, graphic design has been an area of B2B ecommerce that has lagged behind B2C by a considerable amount. With the adoption of more and more B2C functionality, the overall look and feel of B2B ecommerce is changing.
- Start with a clear and consistent taxonomy to ensure that your site is well-organized.
- Use a color scheme that emulates the design of your corporate site or retail locations to ensure that visitors know they are in the right place. This improves the credibility of your site and improves the chance that an order will be placed.
- Utilize a design that reflects your product and your target audience. For example, if you sell high-tech equipment such as laptops, your site design should be clean and contemporary with quality images that show people who look like your customers using CURRENT or CUTTING EDGE laptops.
Keeping in mind that a B2B ecommerce site should meet the needs of it’s visitors first and make the purchasing process as simple as possible will ensure that you design your site for success.
Ready to learn more about ecommerce site design? Download the white paper, Sell More With Stunning Design – Increasing Conversions and Decreasing Cart Abandonment.