The B2B world is constantly changing. New technologies and industry demands are creating new paradigms. But there are signposts of things to come if you know where to look. And if you’re wondering what direction your B2B should take going forward, you only have to look in one place: B2C.
There are a handful of reasons why you should be looking for B2C functionality when considering a B2B platform, and the biggest one is simply this - it’s what your buyers are expecting. They’ve come to expect an effective search, great product imagery and a streamlined checkout experience. B2C has spent 20 years figuring out how best to sell to customers, and customers have adapted to this optimized experience. However, this leaves many buyers wondering, “why is my professional buying so difficult when personal shopping is so easy?”
The truth is: B2C didn’t optimize itself to simplify the buying process. Over time, the B2C industry discovered new ways to find customers and increase sales, which led to an optimized experience. Translated to B2B: B2C figured out how to grow different sales channels. For example, B2C discovered you can learn a customer’s habits and use that information to target them with meaningful cross-sell and up-sell promotions, dramatically increasing opportunities for more sales. B2C figured out how to track what items you are preparing to purchase, and can follow up on abandoned carts and unfinished orders. By now, we’ve all received those follow-up emails telling us we still need to check out or a list of suggested purchases based on what we ordered. Moving these same strategies over to your B2B is a proven method of growing your revenue.
In addition to a more familiar and functional experience, there is an added bonus: Consistent messaging for wholesale and retail channels that cuts down on the assets your marketing team will need to create. Since the stories are largely the same, they only need to be re-contextualized for each.
Consistent messaging also helps your retail partners effectively market your products. They will, by working with your campaigns well before they are in front of the public, be doubling as a focus group to some degree. Your team will be gathering valuable information before B2C even sees your products for the first time.
Finally, consistency between B2C and B2B will result in easier onboarding - both from ease of use and less resistance from users. After all, when a user is familiar with the navigation paradigms and look of your B2B platform, they are much more likely to use it. Your B2B platform is often your brand’s primary interaction with your retail partners, so it’s no surprise it has a huge impact on how they view your brand. Are they left with an impression of a company that is cutting-edge and thinking about the customer, or an impression of a company that is using outdated software and making things more difficult than they need to be?
B2B is being optimized at an accelerating rate. From meeting buyer expectations, to growing channels, to streamlining marketing campaigns, it is adapting the most effective methods for doing so from B2C.