How to help B2B customers discover products

How to help B2B customers discover products

Product discovery is crucial to providing B2B buyers with a productive customer experience. Michael Vax, founder of the consulting firm CommerceIsDigital, offers several tips for improving B2B search and navigation on websites.

The user interfaces for B2B e-commerce often leave today’s buyers facing pain points that hinder the purchasing process rather than adopting effective CX processes. Many B2B companies sell complex products and need to invest in educational content. But also in better tools for product discovery, making it easier to select correctly and to avoid costly mistakes. Here are the essential steps to provide you with a great customer experience during the product discovery phase in B2B e-commerce.


Providing comprehensive product content to educate your customers

With many available options and complex products sold online, customers need help to decide which product is right for them. Enriching product listings with comprehensive content is crucial to educate customers about product features, benefits, and use cases. By providing detailed product descriptions, specifications, guides, and multimedia content, businesses empower customers to make informed purchase decisions.

Invest in whitepapers, analyst reports, case studies, product presentations, and datasheets to provide additional support with product selection. If a company sells internationally, it is important to consider the localization of product content. Remember that localization goes beyond mere translation. Because it needs to account for different measurement units, date formats, currencies, and terminology used in different regions. In most companies, the product information managed in internal systems like ERP is insufficient for online selling. They need to be enriched with additional attributes and images to support customers in selecting the most suitable product for their needs.

Search is the most frequently used feature in any online store. Therefore, implementing a search-as-you-type feature and using autocomplete to show suggested search queries can greatly enhance the customer experience. E-commerce search engines should be able to recognize product names, categories, and product attributes in multiple languages. This includes familiarity with synonyms, ignore cases, and understanding syntax. To ensure customers aren’t overwhelmed by a long list of results, search results should display categories containing the search terms, suggested products, and product-related content like blog posts or landing pages. For e-commerce shops with extensive catalogs, filters, are essential tools to help visitors narrow search results on category pages.

Facet filtering for product satisfaction

A particularly useful feature of facets is their ability to show how many products satisfy filter conditions, enabling customers to quickly and easily find what they want. To benefit from facet filtering, product information should first be enriched with additional attributes. Coherent and intuitive site navigation is crucial to guide customers through the purchasing journey. By logically organizing product categories and subcategories, businesses ensure customers can locate relevant products with minimal effort. Consider implementing multiple ways to navigate your site: by how products are used, by solutions they are part of, or by the level of customer expertise.

While the best search and navigation practices described above enhance user experience in B2C and B2B online stores. There are also some additional B2B-specific usability requirements. B2B buyers are professionals and, in most cases, have detailed knowledge of the products they want to purchase. To achieve greater efficiency in product selection, they would like to do searches using SKU numbers instead of product names, as well as use product identifiers defined in their procurement system. In other words, they want to search by their internal product ID rather than the IDs used by the merchant.

Although it may be too expensive to implement for every client, merchants should consider improving the CX of their most important customers. Strategic merchandising of related products and bundles also plays a vital role in B2B CX. For example, B2B merchants should create merchandising links between discontinued products and their alternatives.

Enabling a digital service-oriented experience

Complex B2B purchases require a high-touch approach and an experienced sales team. While well-prepared product content is essential to answering most customer questions, some buyers may still require the expertise of a business representative to make a final purchasing recommendation. Fortunately, many e-commerce providers have implemented tools that allow sales representatives to access the e-commerce storefront on behalf of customers. With this feature, sales agents can log in to the store and assist customers in making their purchase decisions. Integrating live assistance features into the online store enables customers to receive personalized support and guidance in real time. By offering live chat, co-browsing, and video conferencing capabilities, businesses bridge the gap between digital interactions and human engagement, fostering a better customer experience.

Transparent availability

Most B2B purchases are time-critical. Real-time visibility into product availability greatly enhances the customer experience. This enables customers to make informed purchase decisions and prevents potential stockouts or delays. By integrating inventory management systems, businesses ensure customers can access up-to-date information and eliminate ongoing communication. Enabling mobile experience Optimizing the e-commerce experience for mobile devices is essential for catering to the evolving preferences of modern professionals. By implementing responsive design principles and user-friendly interfaces, businesses ensure that customers can seamlessly access and interact with the platform across devices.

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