The B2B buyer has changed: they’re typically younger and granted buying permissions in more junior positions than before. Mobile-savvy, they’re consumers first – it’s time to rethink your B2B commerce, and your mobile offering needs to be a top priority.
Over the last few years, mobile commerce has grown 200% faster than that of eCommerce in general. According to a study by Comcast, way back in 2014, they found mobile usage represented 60% of the total time spent online. Econsultancy’s report from last year, Understanding the Customer Journey, took a close look at the role mobile plays throughout the customer journey – finding, unsurprisingly, that people react with products on their mobile, even if they then buy later when on their desktops. Mobile is increasingly playing a critical role in the B2B customer journey according to Google and BCG, and 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones.
If it’s not already, the mobile experience needs to be a priority for your eCommerce business or you’re going to miss out
Just like in our B2C experiences, B2B mobile journeys today simply have be personalised. For example, if your business can offer a full, native device app or Progressive Web App (PWA), you get the opportunity to connect with your B2B customers in a much more personalised way, and loyalty is promoted as a result. Use purchase history, location, searches, and social media interests to improve the customer experience, and show the relevant content to drive sales.
Using techniques of segmentation is well-founded to entice more engagement through precisely targeted messaging. But, be smart.
Online shoppers are fast to leave and forget you for good. One mistake and it’s game over. So, you need to make sure that you get personalisation absolutely spot on – no making the classic [Insert Name] kind of error, or leaping to ambiguous assumptions based on data.
Personalisation is likely to backfire on you, if:
- It’s inauthentic. Sending a mass email as a personal note that requires a personal response insults the recipient’s intelligence. The [Insert Name] here is one example, but there’s many more. Check, check, check for authenticity.
- It’s not engaging. To engage, you need to intrigue, inform, or delight the customer. Tone of voice is essential – don’t patronise, show respect, be interesting.
- It fails to think about the customer’s needs. Think always of what they need, what are their pain-points. Personalisation isn’t about manipulation, it’s about helping them navigate to what they need.
2. Think social, think local
Today, mobile is strongly linked with social media. Social media marketing might initially appear to be more vital for the B2C business, but according to this research into B2B Social media marketing by Omobono, not only can B2B marketers benefit from social media, but it could be their most effective marketing channel of all.
We are accessing social media and business sites alike from our mobile devices, when at work, and at home too. Be sure to make use of the increasing power of geo-targeting on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. For example, you can offer a check-in deal on Facebook to potential customers when they are walking by or nearby your store.
As for your positioning on social, it’s about demonstrating you ‘get’ your customers, and their needs. It’s about targeting people who are clearly interested in solving the problem that’s being talked about. Focus on how you can position your business and products as understanding the issues faced by your customers, that you understand, and you can help them via your products and the exceptional service you offer too.
3. Become essential
Some bad news: Customers are feckless, and mobile app retention figures after 90 days can be as low as 20%. Most mobile apps, and especially B2B apps, are abandoned pretty soon after they’re downloaded. With most people downloading and disengaging, it’s simply insufficient for merchants to just measure the number of downloads. Instead, there needs to be a significant amount of attention paid to sustained user engagement and ensuring that they’re providing continuous value to their customers and sales channels.
The best way to explain this one is via an example from one of our clients: Selco. Selco’s Project Tool App brilliantly encapsulates how they’re eCommerce has become an essential part of their merchant’s toolkit. By knowing their customers intrinsically – their needs and pain-points – Selco knew that by enabling them to manage all resources for a project in one place, be able to order them within the app and have all items ordered separated by project, their time (and therefore money) would be saved.
4. Search expectations and your millennial buyer
Try to rid yourself of the image of the traditional B2B buyer. Always design and write your site with an individual in mind. These individuals may be the result of some strategic work around buyer personas, the process of which is much recommended. Pioneers of the advertising industry all said you should write for someone you know – and it’s true for design too – think of that person, think of their needs. Your B2B buyer isn’t an organisation; they’re just like your friend, your neighbour or family member.
Think millennial too. In fact, according to a recent Google report, nearly 50% of B2B buyers are millennials. Unlike previous generations, they expect the purchasing ease they are accustomed to on consumer sites. These buyers aren’t willing to tolerate cumbersome purchasing processes, but seek for intuitive sites who really “get” them.
Search is a vital part of this human side of the mobile experience, an area that prior to responsive design was an absolute bugbear of the mobile journey, but one which this increasingly tech-experienced younger buyer will expect to be smooth and sophisticated.
- Position the search bar in a prominent location (e.g. in the header of the page) and on every page of your site. This will maintain consistency and make it easy for shoppers to access your product catalogue
- Change the colour – all functions are fighting for space on the small smartphone screen, but search needs to be clearly visible nonetheless. Having the function in a different colour to your site’s main scheme is one way to make it stand out
- Choose good defaults – based on your analytics on what customers search for, use defaults that’ll save your customers time, and give them new ideas too
5. Streamline your experience
Using tools such as hotjar you can gather a detailed insight into how your customers are experiencing your site. With your agency or external partners/stakeholder, it’s a worthwhile exercise to review these sessions together, discussing the intricacies of what’s noticed. Note whether your customers struggle to:
- Find the right product with a simple search
- Find the right price, which takes into account their service level agreements or negotiated discounts
- Find the right accessories or replacement parts for items they already own
- Place an order without having to contact your customer service
Think back to the fact that most search and research occurs on mobile, yet many still prefer to buy on desktop. And this can be at least attributed to poor user experiences on mobile, as compared to desktop experiences. How many times have you tried to navigate a non-responsive site on your mobile, thought you’d check it out on desktop later… then more often than not, forget to? It’s an all too common phenomena, and one that could make a big difference to your customer’s chances of success in a competitive market.
Working with an expert agency, reviewing your checkout journey is a key place to focus. Checkout itself is vital, make sure you:
- Let customers checkout as a guest – don’t make it essential for them to sign up for an account, you can ask them to do this later, after their purchase, and offer them an incentive to do so.
- Remove any potential obstacle between you and a new customer – the smoother a sales funnel is, the higher your conversion rate will be
- Consider Touch ID for logins and checkouts – stores such as ASOS now allow this for all registered users on iPhones.
When built and designed with a team that keep User Experience at the forefront, a streamlined experience will be the priority: reducing all obstacles to checkout is one of the biggest determiners for conversions. If you’re pushed for time, there are options: You could consider hiring a user testing agency, one which offers the service to report back to you their findings objectively: whilst this might seem like an outlay of budget that you weren’t planning on, the ROI is likely to be high as what they find could show a great impact on conversion rate.
There’s much more you can do to make sure your mobile experience outsmarts that of your competitors. Get in touch today, and we can discuss your business needs when it comes to B2B mobile experience.