It has taken longer for business to business (B2B) companies to adopt ecommerce, compared to the retail sector. However, the success of Amazon Business and the increasing number of Millennial B2B buyers are making B2B ecommerce an increasing priority.
New style B2B buyers
In 2015 Google said that almost half of B2B buyers were Millennials who expect to find everything they need online. That’s nearly twice as many as just three years earlier. The figure continues to rise with almost three quarters of 20- to 35-year-olds saying they are involved in product or service purchase decision-making at work.
As the age of B2B buyers falls and their online expectations rise, these digitally savvy buyers are playing an increasingly important role. They expect to work fast and to receive equally prompt responses. Businesses that can achieve this will win the race to attract this new style of buyer.
The buying process
Millennial B2B buyers want to control their buying process, evaluating potential suppliers and researching products and services before they contact a sales representative. This means that content needs to be highly relevant, easy to find, quick to digest and available across all types of digital device.
Accessing and using this information is adding to the length of the B2B buying process, along with the need to involve multiple influencers and decision makers. As more people become involved, the need to provide reliable information is becoming critical. B2B sites that deliver reliable and authoritative information are going to perform well.
Breaking the sound barrier
The disadvantage of the growing demand for information is that the marketplace is becoming overwhelmed by the ‘noise’ of businesses trying to attract the B2B buyer’s attention.
Breaking through this noisy environment will depend on excellent search engine optimisation and the highest quality content in attractive formats, including video and audio content. Other credentials are also becoming more important, such as environmental, social and community activities and policies.
Once the buyer has noticed a B2B ecommerce site and has spent some time exploring, businesses can use their online behaviour to find out more about their interests. Their experience can then be improved with even higher quality content and more meaningful journeys.
The traditional approach to B2B sales relied on the relationships sales representatives built with the customers. It’s still important for buyers to feel that their needs are understood and met, but with the growth of B2B ecommerce this doesn’t always have to be mediated face-to-face.
Up to a third of customers will end business relationships because of a lack of personalisation. With the availability of buying histories and machine learning, a highly personal experience can now be delivered with every visit to your site. More, importantly, sales representatives have access to this information to help them identify when they can add value by highlighting a new product or special promotion, for example.
Keeping existing customers happy by ensuring that their needs are not only understood but anticipated is important. Increasingly, marketing and sales teams are working together to segment and effectively target customer groups that have potential to increase their business and become even higher value accounts.
Targeted and highly relevant content can then be delivered at strategic points, supported by B2B ecommerce marketing technology. This approach helps to build long-term relationships and customer loyalty.
Businesses that understand their buyers’ preferences and target their approach. They will be able to engage with them in moment-based interactions, or micro-moments, when they need to learn, do or discover something. By monitoring and measuring results, adjusting and reiterating marketing activities these businesses will be able to attract new customers and increase the lifetime value of existing customers.
Get in touch to find out how Cloudfy can help your business exceed the expectations of Millennial buyers.