Straightforward UX tips to create better B2B e-commerce

  • Laura Helfer

You run a successful B2B business or you have a leading role in such a company. However, your selling processes are still mostly done manually, which costs you time and is, let’s say, not the right way to invest in the future.

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Hence, you decide to build an e-commerce shop for your business. But will this digital transformation please your clients? Will it relieve customer support and reduce costs?

In this blog post I’ll give you some straightforward UX tips that will help you transform digitally or improve your current e-commerce shop, in a user- and business-friendly way.

So, let’s start with the main UX challenge in this transformation

Cutting off customer support and still manage to sell a complex product and generate more leads.

Usually, B2B e-commerce products are more complex than B2C ones. Furthermore, B2B products are often sold in bulk orders with multiple packaging options. This means, users of B2B e-commerce are obliged to take several decisions when purchasing a product, which requires extensive research. Thus, how can you or your team help the user understand the features, variants and usage without talking to a human or seeing the product life? You can imagine how difficult it is to explain such products merely through an interface. Indeed you won’t be able to replace all traditional customer support, but you will be able to reduce it and demonstrate your products in a very user-friendly way, only by following the UX tips below.

How to make a B2B e-commerce product more understable

  • In B2B there is a tendency of not showing prices. That isn’t user friendly. However, if you still decide to do so, provide information that gives the customer more confidence: like availability of the product and a price range.
  • Try to simplify complex products with multiple variants, by turning the variants into products. If that’s not possible then use tabs or another design pattern to make the product detail page more structured and user friendly.
  • Compare different products to help the user decide.

How to simplify the B2B e-commerce transaction process

  • In B2B the user is often asked to request a quote. Since this is quite a boring task to do, create a positive feeling around it, for example, by displaying in the quotation form that the user will get a response within an hour.
  • Promote new products, on your homepage for example. B2B e-commerce customers like to stay informed about new and innovative products.
  • Make sure after-sales support is in place, where the user can create tickets once there is a technical request and follow their progress.
  • Design for a more rational than emotional decision making. B2B e-commerce customers aren’t impulsive buyers. Decision making is complicated and usually there are many people involved in the process.
  • Ensure to have different ways for users to get in touch: Live chat, contact-form, telefone, etc. However, show these options at the right moment of the purchasing process. Otherwise you are not cutting off support, but overwhelming the user.

How to ensure all B2B e-commerce actors are satisfied

  • Simplify the collaboration between the people involved in the purchasing process. For example, by having multiple people editing a quotation form and sharing the product specifications and configuration with others (PDF).
  • Keep in mind that you intend to build long-time relationships with your customers. So, think about features that simplify their coming-back to your site. For example, by saving their last product configuration and enabling the option to rebuy a product in the purchasing history.
  • “Put yourself in the users' shoes” – usually this is a team of technical and finance experts.

Main take-aways about UX in B2B e-commerce

The complexity and individuality of B2B business makes it almost impossible to stick to conventional B2C e-commerce design patterns. B2B e-commerce shops frequently require more design and technical customization. Yet, known patterns should be used whenever possible, so that users aren’t forced to learn every pattern from scratch.

Before starting to reinvent design patterns, get to know the problems, needs and goals of who you are designing for: whether this is your customer or the support service. This means you should invest in user research prior to defining requirements.

At Liip we strive for digital progress – our aim is to find the best solution for our clients. We have several teams specialized in e-commerce that are used to build state-of-the-art, customized and user-centric e-commerce shops. The e-commerce solution that we choose depends on your needs. For example, one of our teams is doing a project using Shopware.

Besides development other services can be provided separately. We have experts from User Experience to SEO & Analytics who can help you overcome your individual challenges. Contact us if you are interested in our services. Liip supports you in finding the right solution for your business.

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