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B2B websites based on an eCommerce structure, even those that aren’t selling anything online, have been shown to be more effective in increasing customer engagement and enquiries.
We’ve worked with many B2B clients to design websites that are not intended to sell their products or services online. However, we’ve taken an eCommerce approach to the design of many of these websites, and increased their engagement with their target audiences as a result.
Your B2B customers have expectations of how a website should work, based on their experiences of using B2C websites, buying everything from groceries to holidays online. Booking cinema tickets, doctors appointments and work seminars digitally, your customers are immersed in a world where technology is integral to daily life. Their experiences of content-rich websites that are easy to navigate have informed their expectations of what a ‘great’ website looks and feels like.
Creating a customer journey through your website that mirrors an eCommerce website helps to increase conversion. Potential customers can be effectively guided through your website to a final action, whether that’s to make an enquiry or find a retailer.
Users spend 70% of their time online looking for information, so the chances are, if they’re on your website, they’re looking for information.
When users arrive on your website, make information easy to find. eCommerce functions such as filters, menus and search boxes should all be prominent. Make use of analytics to see where customers visit most often, and provide quick-links to these pages from the homepage. A flexible CMS will help you to quickly respond to traffic patterns.
Depending on what stage of the buying process your customer is at, they will be looking for different types of information. Employees researching several options will want quick access to general information, whereas those making the final purchasing decision will want detailed information. Sales staff or end-users might be looking for trouble shooting information or to reorder items. Provide various levels of information, from quick-view boxes to downloadable brochures and manuals. The right design and navigation can allow all of these users to find the information they’re looking for easily and quickly.
Once they find what they’re looking for, users want to do something with that information quickly and easily – whether it’s download a product brochure or call a phone number to speak to someone about sourcing a replacement.
Make it clear what users are supposed to do next, and make sure it is a straightforward process. Popular eCommerce website features such as ‘Compare’ ‘Add to wishlist’ and ‘Share’ can be used to allow users to easily do something with the product or information they have found.
Your customers are on your website for work, not leisure, so if you make it easy for them to do their job, they’ll keep coming back.
Include features and advice to help people and add value to their experience. Give them tools to support their offline purchasing decisions. You might want to include tutorials and advice sections to help with this, or offer product recommendations based on items they’ve looked at. Forums, community pages and even loyalty schemes can all be incorporated to add value to the user experience.
Your customers want consistency across channels and platforms.
Ensure the website design is consistent with other marketing collateral, and can be adapted to include individual campaigns. Consider mobile responsive design; many of your customers will be using a mobile or tablet device to access your website, even when they are at work.