B2B e-commerce was a hot topic at this year's IRCE conference. Many of the discussions really underscore the growing importance of humanizing the B2B digital experience and making it more similar to what consumers expect from a B2B site.
It makes sense really—the same people who make purchase from you on behalf of their company are also making purchases online for themselves. If your website isn’t offering the same level of customer experience, chances are that you’re going to start losing business to someone that does.
Some of the key B2C functions that should be applied in the B2B world can be powered by a feature rich site search solution
and improve the customer experience. If you have a B2B site, you should consider implementing a solution that includes the following features.
7 Must-Have B2B Site Search Features
- Robust Search Capabilities: If you have a large product offering, a site search solution that allows visitors to search on more than just the SKU is essential. Just like on a consumer retail site, visitors to a B2B site need to be able to search by keywords and see relevant search results pages based on the search term.
- Site-wide Dynamic Faceted Navigation: Allow customers to fine-tune search results and locate items based on things like brand, price, function, and availability.
- Personalized Content: Use dynamic landing pages to improve the customer experience by customizing content based on the keyword or origin of visit. (eg email or AdWords campaign)
- Mobile Integration: Make the shopping experience seamless across devices. Mobile use is on the rise and almost everyone these days has a smartphone.
- Robust Site Search Reporting: Understand how visitors use search and gain insight into what they are looking for so you can continuously improve the customer experience.
- Predictive Recommendations: Leverage relevant details about customer purchase history to recommend products and brands that a shopper has an affinity for. Use real-time and past data points to breathe life into your content by exposing what is relevant for visitors based on their behavior and purchase history.
Smart Auto-complete: Implement auto-complete with images and category or brand suggestions to streamline the search experience, thus giving shoppers one-click access to the products they want to view and buy.
URL Redirects: Redirects can be used to land visitors on an individual product page rather than a search results page with a single result. Customized landing pages and redirects are an effective method of merchandising search results that have too many SKUs for a shopper to easily navigate.
A meaningful site search, browse, and buy experience will increase conversions and build loyalty. It may seem awkward at first because B2B and B2C have been treated differently for so long, but your visitors will quickly adapt because you’re now providing them with the type of experience they are used to having on other websites.