This is a two-part article series. If you’ve missed PART 1, check it out here [Part 1].
The art of simplifying the B2B purchase process – To find out the best strategies that can help B2B merchants improve their purchase experience, we set out on a mission and interacted with Lance Owide, General Manager of B2B at BigCommerce.
In ‘PART 1’ of our two-part article series, Lance explained what makes the B2B purchase process complicated and how merchants can simplify it at various stages of a buying journey. If you are eager to know more strategies, read on.
How can B2B brands engage buyers during decision-making and nudge them to conversion?
The tactics with which B2B and B2C brands engage and encourage customers to make the purchase decision are quite similar. But the way it’s done differs.
In B2C, it’s about providing a quick search experience and incentivizing buyers to put that product into the cart and checkout, using discounts, promotions etc. In B2B, making your store’s visitors purchase can be achieved in the following ways:
Keeping them on your site for long periods
Based on past data like purchase and search history, B2B brands show dynamic content in their site search results. Highly responsive and dynamic suggestions can simplify their research process. Especially if customers are looking for the same item or come back to buy a product they were searching for already, dynamic content can make customers recognized by the brand.
Lance highlighted a B2B success story of one of the UK’s largest independent distributors of construction materials. Operating on BigCommerce’s B2B suite, the brand leveraged the ‘Dynamic Search’ feature. They witnessed a 50% increase in conversion rate and 10% increase in AOV, which increased the ROI manyfold.
Keeping buyers on your site as long as possible
Though it’s not as true as it is in B2C, it works to a certain extent for B2B audiences. The longer you keep them in your store, the more likely they are to convert. However, the engagement in B2B is different.
Engaging customers in B2B means helping them stay productive rather than wooing them with discounts (like in B2C) to leverage customers’ mood to buy. This can be achieved by providing DIY services (do-it-yourself) like price negotiation (quotes), invoicing, easy-to-find product details, back ordering, and engaging content like product demos, comparison guides, etc. If you are a B2B merchant, you have more tricks up your sleeve.
How should a business approach the negotiation phase, and how BigCommerce helps in facilitating back-and-forth communication and conversion?
Price negotiation (quotes management) is the top of the funnel that every B2B brand should try to address first. It’s the first interaction that pulls a buyer into your sphere. Ensure your B2B store makes building that quote as easy as possible. Once you start getting them into the price negotiation process, your sales team can successfully steer them toward the conversion lane.
Lance shared an example from his experience working with B2B brands that have perfected price negotiation. “Certain successful B2B brands operating on BigCommerce don’t have a checkout process but a quote management system. Their agenda is simple. Once a B2B store facilitates buyers to get into quoting prices for products, the sales team can handle the rest. By doing so, B2B stores can also reduce the responsibilities of building a digital checkout process.
If merchants don’t want to build the cart and checkout phase, we recommend they start with the quoting. In other words, keep them as much online as you can through quotes, and by the time the details of a quote get to your sales team, they have enough information to close the sale.
You’ll be able to empower your sales team with the following:
- Price the customer is looking at
- Customization options for the product they want to purchase
- Technical specification and demo videos to lure customers
- Add additional notes that can help your sales team
He then moved on to BigCommerce’s built-in quotes feature.
BigCommerce – B2B Quotes
Using BigCommerce, merchants can add quotes directly to their product detail pages and as a separate quote creation and management flow. Buyers get the provision to add products to quote. They can add SKUs and notes and submit them. The sales team will respond to it via email or phone.
BigCommerce B2B – Create QUOTE
Merchants often focus more on solving the bottom of the funnel, like checkout, payments, shipping, etc., but overlook the top of the funnel. Quotes help them solve the top of the funnel first. It allows brands to widen their top-of-the-funnel prospects.
BigCommerce B2B – Preview QUOTE
Lance concluded with a notable success story within the book distribution industry, where a prominent brand utilizing the BigCommerce platform achieved an impressive average order value of $1,500 and even recorded a remarkable million-dollar quote within their advanced quote management system.
How can technology help B2B brands with post-purchase and ongoing transactional activities that result from all this?
It all starts with ERP systems that often have most of the crucial information like orders, inventory, pricing, and customer data. Having these data up to date across all the systems is pivotal to providing a smooth post-purchase experience for B2B customers.
Here’s a workflow example for easy understanding:
- Buyer places an order
- Orders get processed by the order management system (OMS)
- OMS informs the frontend that the order is picked, packed and shipped
- At the storefront, buyers understand where their order is
- Other buyers on a store get stock levels updated real-time
The more information you can give the buyer after the purchase, the happier they are going to be. On the flip side, before the purchase, you also need some information like stock levels, lead time (if it’s out of stock), fulfillment options available, and the rates each shipper offers (Ex ShipperHQ gives info on all options and the rates).
Lacking such information might leave a prospective buyer hesitant to place a quote/order. Buyers looking for price negotiations will submit quotes. Once it is approved by a store, the ERP should be updated, mentioning it as the new default price for the customer for all products purchased (if that’s how the agreement works). And the list goes on.
Enabling your eCommerce backend and multiple third-party systems work like a well-oiled engine lies in connecting them through APIs. BigCommerce, being an API-first eCommerce platform, helps you interconnect all your systems.
Source – BigCommerce
BigCommerce B2B suite – Offerings
When quipped about BigCommerce’s support for B2B merchants, Lance excitedly shared the core B2B features of the platform. BigCommerce provides a B2B-exclusive suite for manufacturers and distributors. BigCommerce supports tiered pricing for privileged customers and also custom catalogs.
The platform supports 600 variants per SKU under its ‘Enterprise’ plan, which allows you to add a lot of customization and configuration to your products. Adding to this the ability to include multiple users on behalf of an organization, manage roles and access permissions, quotes, invoicing, order and payment tracking, approval workflows, payment visibility controls, and so on, making BigCommerce almost a plug-and-play platform for B2B brands.
If you need any customizations to suit your specific business logic, you have a pool of official BigCommerce partners with certified developers like Ziffity to help.
As we drew this conversation to a close, Lance Owide aptly summed it up: “Embarking on an eCommerce journey may seem challenging, but with the right platform and technology partner by your side, it can be a seamless and rewarding experience
Choose a platform that addresses your current challenges and also enables you to grow at operational and customer-facing levels.
Once you take your eCommerce plunge, start working on the top-of-the-funnel experience first. That ensures your rest of the efforts get paid off and converted into ROI and also enable sales teams to perform more efficiently.