5 key factors for an exceptional B2B user experience

From user to chooser, how to please them all

5 May 2021

The emotive pull of brands like Apple, Coke and Nike is very different from the transactional world of business to business (B2B) purchases, but the importance of user experience (UX) when buying online is similar. According to Oxford Academic, the goal of UX is to "improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product."

While it's easy for B2B brands to forget they're dealing with a real person behind a computer, their experience is just as valid (and often has more at stake) than a business-to-consumer experience. Here are five key factors to consider when creating an exceptional UX for B2B consumers.

1. Understand the decision-making process

B2B purchases arent impulsive by nature. Typically, they are the result of a long, complex process involving multiple stakeholders across a business. Customers can begin researching weeks, months or even years before considering a purchase and then go on to present and justify the offering to multiple people for approval. This extended process is often why good UX isn’t seen as important in the buying B2B process.

However, during this time, a well-thought-out and designed UX can make all the difference. Providing information that’s relevant to their research and decision-making process is key – product specifications, safety information, product demonstrations, testimonials and any other relevant supporting information.

Key takeout – make your B2B customers' job easy by providing the information they'll need to make a decision.

2. Keep customers and their needs front and centre

Any customer will want to know how your product can help them and it’s the same for B2B sales. Understanding your customer is crucial to delivering a fantastic UX, but in B2B there may be several people involved along the way. B2B customers are concerned about the needs of their company (from a rational perspective) rather than personal or emotional needs as in a B2C journey. From a UX perspective, it’s vital to ensure your UX isn’t heavily tailored to just the decision-maker or the finance team, for example, but delivers on the needs of each person in the decision-making chain.

Key takeout – know your customers. From user to chooser, there may be several decision-makers within the organisation. You need to talk to all of them.

3. First impressions still count

Across the board, website design is critical. Research has shown that around 94% of customer judgements are design-related. Great design still matters in B2B sales, but the output will look quite different from B2C – there needs to be a greater focus on functionality and information over pure aesthetics. Business customers want quick answers, easy navigation and relevant content rather than an emotive journey of storytelling.

Key takeout – let the bells and whistles take a back seat. Clear, concise and informative wins over emotive and elaborate.

4. Consider your customers' unique technical needs

For a B2B customer journey, UX designers have to create flows that simply don’t exist in B2C. Unlike a one-off consumer purchase, B2B customers often require numerous self-service options like placing recurring orders, checking inventory availability, adding customised elements and so on. Quoting is also a major part of many B2B interactions, and there are plenty of variables that exist in and are unique to B2B. Once an order is complete, the UX needs to cover post-purchase care – warranties, maintenance and so on.

Key takeout - there’s much more to a B2B eCommerce site than just the add-to-cart function. UX relies on numerous flows that aren’t required in B2C.

5. There’s simply more at stake

In B2B the customer lifecycle is typically much longer and more valuable than your average B2C customer. As a result, customer expectations and industry competition are generally a lot higher. That means investing in excellent UX can give you an edge and reap higher rewards.

B2B UX is all about having a clear understanding of your target customers’ decision making processes and supplying them with the relevant information along the way. Remember: you’re dealing with people and not a faceless business. All customers – whether they’re representing themselves or an organisation – want high-quality UX, great customer support and exceptional value delivered in a format that meets their needs.

Is your website geared up for B2B customers? Contact the Solutionists team today for advice on creating an exceptional B2B user experience.





date published:

5 May 2021