In the past 2+ years, we’ve learned that the expectations of B2B buyers have changed. Some of this has been driven by the change in the demographics of the buyers. As more tech savvy people fill these positions, their comfort level with buying online is greater than their predecessors. That comfort level is also influenced by their B2C buying habits. B2C shopping comes with a high level of personalization. It is only natural that these buyers would now expect the same with experience with B2B buying. If you are a Manufacturer or Distributor, how do you personalize your customers' experience?
One way to connect to B2B customers is to leverage your data. The data that is important to your customers is typically maintained in your ERP/CRM systems. Companies mistakenly think that this data is for their benefit only. Having a fully integrated eCommerce solution that acts as a “window to your ERP’ can unlock that data for your customers' benefit.
As customers login to your site, they should be able to see their specific items, pricing, shipping terms, checkout options, etc. Surround them with the things they care about. Remember in the B2B buying world, marketing data and messaging are less important to existing customers. They know what items they need to buy; don’t spend time and energy convincing them this is a great product. Spend your time and energy presenting the items they need and giving them an easy path to the Buy Button. Focus on cross sell/upsell potential. Certain items can be presented as “better together.” No matter how many price lists you maintain, a customer should always be presented with their relevant price. Don't make them search for the correct one. All shipping methods with corresponding costs have to be available to choose from. Checkout should include multiple payment methods; i.e. terms & credit card. Options on notifications for pending events like, order status, invoicing, tracking information, should be available for customers to choose as well. B2B customers should also have a portal or section of the site that provides them the ability to manage and maintain their specific account details.
All the data to support these personalized processes are in your internal systems (ERP & CRM). Make sure you have an integrated eCommerce solution that can access this information and present it in a way that makes your B2B buyer feel like their experiences are specifically tailored to them. If you make it as easy as possible to do business with you, there’s a great chance they’ll continue to do business with you.