Business-to-business (B2B) organizations are embracing digital commerce at lightning speed, with 83% already selling online and 65% planning to increase their investment in digital commerce within two years. To improve online sales on your digital storefront, you need to do more than just launch a digital commerce website.
To help increase your conversion rate, give B2B customers a consumer-grade shopping experience that makes buying for work feel more like shopping for shoes or toys. Offer the same easy-to-use interface and excellent sales, service, and support and an increase in conversions is sure to follow.
If you’re just getting started with B2B commerce – or if you want to enhance your current site – here’s a few tips to help you improve conversion and build an intuitive, customer-centric digital storefront that meets your sales and growth targets.
What is a B2B conversion rate?
Conversion rate is the percentage of your site visitors who take a desired action. Digital storefront owners typically want to measure the number of site visitors who become paying customers. To calculate conversion rate, divide the number of people who complete a purchase by the total number of unique visits. You can track changes in the effectiveness of your digital storefront over time by comparing conversion rates over defined date ranges.
You can also use conversion rate to analyze other types of visitor behaviors. For example, you can track the percentage of people who download a product guide or complete a self-service task. Changes in this percentage over time can reveal important trends and pain points in the customer journey. These inputs inform how you can evolve your digital storefront user experience.
B2B conversion rates aren’t quite comparable to B2C conversion rates. This is even true if your business does both B2B and B2C. B2B customers have different needs, such as preferred pricing based on purchase volume or pre-negotiated contracts.
Keep in mind that B2B conversion rates aren’t quite comparable to B2C conversion rates. This is even true if your business does both B2B and B2C. B2B customers have different needs, such as preferred pricing based on purchase volume or pre-negotiated contracts. Also B2B buyers often spend more time considering purchases before they buy, as they need to get budget approved internally before purchase. To manage expectations, adopt a data-driven approach using insights from Salesforce Reports and Google Analytics. These will help you understand customer behavior across any interaction, whether they place an order or not.
Three steps to master B2B conversion
If you’re just starting on your digital commerce journey, these steps will help you learn more about your customers, meet their needs, and optimize the post-purchase experience so that you can drive higher conversion:
Step 1: Know your (online) customer
Seventy-nine percent of B2B leaders say their customers prefer to make repeat purchases on a digital storefront. When you’re building your site, think about your visitors. Are they loyal customers? Or anonymous? The answer will help you tailor your online experience to their preferences. Consider these types of visitors:
- Anonymous visitors. If you allow guests to browse your storefront then you probably have site visitors you don’t know anything about. This may help potential customers learn about your business, but it also limits personalization and content options.
- Registered users. Asking a new site visitor to self-register lets you gather valuable data, such as contact information and the type of business they operate. You can also analyze site traffic to learn more about their preferences, behaviors, and pain points – and their intent to purchase.
- Authenticated users. An authenticated user is an existing customer with a verified profile. You’ll be able to segment authenticated users and assign entitlements based on purchase history. Delivering a personalized online experience is easiest with an authenticated user.
After you’ve identified your site visitors, you can tailor content that maps to their place on the customer journey.
Step 2: Personalize each customer’s online journey
The more you know about your site visitors, the more you can tailor your website content to their preferences and behaviors. Personalized content, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), allows you to communicate targeted messaging around product availability, promotions, features, and frequently asked questions.
The right user experience helps you grow your conversion rate and offer self-service opportunities that boost customer satisfaction. With Salesforce B2B Commerce, you gain flexible tools that help you execute creative and personalized digital storefront selling strategies in these ways:
- Personalized, updated product information. Easily maintain accurate price lists for customers that incorporate negotiated discounts and contracts. When customers have correct pricing alongside updated product catalogs, safety instructions, technical documentation, and data sheets, they have everything they need to make an educated purchasing decision.
- Guided selling. A guided, personalized experience makes online shopping fast and intuitive for B2B customers. Recommend products based on customer needs and available inventory. Provide important information that helps customers feel confident in their buying decisions.
- Customer-specific pricing and promotions. Map account segments to recommended products, implement price tiers, and offer special promotions that drive upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Increase average order volume during slower periods with coupons and stay competitive during marketplace changes.
Step 3: Optimize experiences beyond buying
The first purchase is just the beginning of the customer relationship. Think about other ways your customers interact with your storefront. This may include confirming delivery times, verifying payments, reading content, checking sales contracts, and exploring new products and services. A great first-time customer experience increases the chances they’ll come back. That’s why optimizing your digital storefront for the post-purchase experience is key.
For example, Ecolab, a leader in water, hygiene, and infection prevention solutions and services, has grown order volumes on its digital commerce storefront by 15X in the first half of 2021 compared with 2020. One of the ways they’ve grown conversion is through post-purchase features on the site. Buyers can track shipments, check order history, and download PDFs – all on the same site they visit to reorder products.
Consider adding post-purchase capabilities that include:
- Self-service options. Make it easy for your customers to manage invoices, make payments, review order history, track deliveries, and update account information with self-service channels. Streamlined, user-friendly experiences are the goal.
- Knowledge articles. Keep your customers engaged with your brand by providing easy-to-find content related to the products and brands you sell, services you offer, your company, and your industry.
- Community experiences. Create an online community for customers to ask questions and share knowledge. Use Salesforce Content Management System to manage different versions of your content and control who creates what. Differentiate your site with curated, personalized content.
This post is part of our series about how to maximize growth opportunities in B2B commerce.