In this blog series, I will continue to explore the divergence of B2C shopping experiences and B2B buying experiences. Last week, we discussed how traditional shopper marketing has manifested into consumer focused digital experiences. In this addition, I will discuss some typical B2B buying experiences.
We have probably all purchased something for our work that was required to accomplish a specific task. Typically, this involves fulfilling a need that has been specified, finding a product that solves a specific problem, or replenishing supplies that are running low. In all of these scenarios, there is a common thread of specificity. In addition, I may be constrained to procurement contracts or other commercial obligations.
For B2B buying experiences, the key is seamless finding, ordering, and fulfilling of my need. They ability and desire to stray from the path with impulse purchases is very limited. This fundamentally shifts the paradigm and purpose of the experience and marginalizes the value of many core B2C ecommerce features.
A key question to ask as you are creating your B2B buying experience: Am I tightly aligned to my customer’s need?
Consider employees or procurement specialists fulfilling an order on behalf of a branch or jobsite for replenishment of consumables. They would rather not need to search through every single item manually again, whether by clicking through multiple levels of taxonomy, or performing a search and filtering through a large number of results. Instead, they want to enter a product identifier (usually a UPC, Model number, or any combination of unique identifiers) into a quick order pad; submit the quantity needed for multiple line items; and with one button click add all of them to a cart. Once in the cart, contract pricing and quantity discounts are automatically applied, and the order is submitted within seconds. Better yet, the procurement personnel may have started a spreadsheet of needs over the past few days or weeks. From there, an order, via that spreadsheet, can be uploaded and the B2B eCommerce site can automatically parse it into the cart.