The distinction between retail (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce experiences is diminishing, including the elements that contribute to a perfect B2B checkout.
B2B buyers expect high-quality user experiences when they make their business purchases to match those they receive when shopping retail online. This trend has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. Many organizations have had to launch or improve their ecommerce offers and many B2B companies have started to sell directly to their consumers or end users.
The typical checkout
Whether your customers are shoppers or business buyers, most ecommerce checkout processes follow the same steps. A customer visits a product page, moves to the shopping cart where they can review their choices before completing information on shipping, billing and payment. Finally, they confirm the order and receive an acknowledgement.
While all these steps are necessary for your business to complete an order, there are a lot of opportunities to improve the experience for your customers. You can increase your sales by minimizing delays, reducing multiple click-throughs and removing barriers. Average shopping cart abandonment is approaching 70%, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Elements of a perfect B2B checkout
Product page Some customers know exactly what they want and have no intention to browse or buy extra items. They want a convenient, fast way to select, order and pay for their product and it’s important that you don’t get in their way. Amazon makes this simple with its ‘Add to cart’ option on every product page; it’s a simple but effective way to improve your customer’s experience and increase conversion rates.
Easy buying for non-registered users Asking customers to register on your website will provide valuable information and make it easier for them to make future purchases. However, many people don’t want to hand over so much information when they make their first purchase. Making sure they can have a sleek and effective checkout without having to register can help streamline the purchasing process and reduce the likelihood of abandonment. Offering options like buying with PayPal can speed things up. Alternatively, you can offer easy registration options like signing in with a Google button to simplify signing up when making an online purchase.
Capture email addresses Rather than requiring a wide range of registration information at checkout you can focus on one important piece of customer information: their email address. You will need it to confirm their order, but you can also provide an easy tick box for permission to send them relevant emails. Email marketing continues to be a very cost-effective way to engage with customers and to increase their lifetime value.
Customer service Provide real-time customer support via a round-the-clock help desk supported by a chatbot to make sure your customers feel valued. Providing advice and troubleshooting for purchases can save sales that might have been abandoned and increase satisfaction.
Cross-selling and upselling suggestions Recommending a better version of your customer’s chosen product could increase your order value significantly. Up-selling shows your customers that there are more choices available. Cross-selling can also add to your customer’s experience by showing them other relevant products that they might want to add to their shopping cart. Done with discretion, this can add to the overall purchasing experience without being intrusive.
Transparent pricing By far the most common reason for abandoned purchases during checkout is extra costs, for shipping and fees, for example. Making sure your customers can see all the costs, ideally on a single checkout page, will make it easy for them to complete the process and will give them confidence to buy again.
Easy discount codes Promotional discount codes are a good way to track your campaigns, but they need to be easy to understand and apply. Complicated rules and restrictions will frustrate your buyers. The coupon option must be easy to see but should not distract your customer when they are on the checkout page.
Multiple options to view When your customers are buying multiple items it should be easy for them to review their choices at any stage in their journey on your site from the product pages to checkout. Even when they’re at the checkout, a simple option to go back to the product page is important so that they can double-check all the details of their purchase.
Choices for shipping and payment Providing plenty of shipping options can be an important differentiator for your buyers allowing them to prioritize speed versus cost or environmental impact, for example.
Share your trust signals We are all more aware of online frauds, scams and data breaches, so trust is an important factor in B2B ecommerce. Letting buyers know that your site is legitimate and providing evidence is becoming essential. This can include the security of your payment gateway, availability of your customer support team and your customer reviews.
Auto-fill to speed up checkout Almost half of B2B companies say that purchasing speed is a priority. Automation can help busy buyers to complete their purchase and improve their experience. An autofill address option is a time-saver along with the option to use the delivery address as the billing address with an easy drop-down choice for shipping and billing. Your registered users can preset their preferred choices.
Checkout progress With a single page checkout, progress is easy to see. If you have multiple pages, provide an indicator bar to show your customers their progress as they move from step one to four, for example.
Responsive checkouts More business buyers are now using mobile devices to make their purchases. It’s estimated that more than half of ecommerce sales will take place using mobile devices in 2021. Making sure your site is fast and your checkout works well for all mobile devices will be essential.
For advice on how to create the perfect B2B ecommerce checkout talk to one of our experts.