Blog 6 minutes

Navigating consent management in B2B e-commerce

Davide Giordano
September 29, 2023
Laptop screen with consent management on the monitor

Consent management is the method that empowers customers to decide which personal information they’re comfortable sharing with a B2B e-commerce platform.

This need for consent arises from the legal obligation for websites to securely store user data via cookies during browsing sessions. However, it’s important to differentiate between consent and broader data privacy. When customers know their data is secure, they are more likely to engage and convert.

While users grant consent, they also have an expectation for their data to be securely stored, emphasizing the constant need for data privacy. Moreover, legal frameworks and regulations like GDPR and CCPA have a significant impact on how consent operates in this landscape.

Key components of consent management

Data collection and storage

Firstly, we delve into data collection and storage, which primarily occurs during your interaction with a website. This data serves various purposes, including enhancing your experience on the website itself. It may be stored locally, such as tracking the products you’ve viewed, or transmitted to a server. Should you grant consent to third parties, your data is shared with them for analysis.

Types of data collected

The types of data collected encompass:

  • customer behavior
  • historical data
  • cart contents
  • user preferences

These data points serve as identifiers, facilitating tracking across different apps and behaviors, ultimately leading to more personalized and comprehensive product recommendations.

TIP: As a B2B web store customer wanting to ensure your data privacy, consider exploring the privacy and security settings of your preferred browser. Note that many browsers have implemented tracker-blocking features. Browsers like Firefox and Brave offer privacy settings that allow their users to control cookie usage, including blocking cross-site and past-site cookies.

Are you aligned with your buyer needs?

Learn more in the B2B Buyer Report 2024.

How to implement consent management into your B2B web store

When it comes to implementing consent management in B2B e-commerce, a strategic approach is essential.

  • Know your needs

Firstly, you should assess your web store’s specific needs, considering geographical factors and legal requirements. Understanding the varying demands of different markets is crucial; for instance, Latin America may have fewer requirements compared to Germany, which tends to be more protective of data privacy.

  • Identify suitable partners

Next, it’s vital to identify knowledgeable partners in user consent management who are well-versed in legal requirements. Additionally, evaluate your suppliers to ensure compliance with the markets in which you operate.

  • Ensure internal teams are well-informed

When integrating consent management tools and software, thorough training for your employees is indispensable to ensure adherence to best practices. Internal teams need to understand that mismanagement of customer data can lead to large consequences.

  • Follow through on user preferences

Utilizing user preferences for data storage is another key aspect. You must diligently track and follow up on what users consent to, integrating this information with your CRM to avoid potential fines and safeguard your brand’s reputation.

  • Consider global markets

Furthermore, navigating consent management across borders presents unique challenges. Consider the international implications, including adherence to global data privacy standards and the complexities of cross-border data transfers.

By carefully addressing these aspects, you can establish a robust and compliant consent management system in B2B e-commerce.

How to provide the optimum customer experience with B2B consent management

Navigating consent management comes with its share of challenges and potential mistakes that should be avoided.

To provide the user with the best experience on your B2B web store, you must:

  • Explain using clear wording in the cookie bar

One common mistake to steer clear of is using ambiguous wording in the cookie bar; clarity is key. It’s crucial to keep things simple and align with regulatory requirements, ensuring there are two distinct and easily understandable options for users.

  • Demonstrate no bias toward accepting cookies

Avoid emphasizing one option over the other, such as highlighting “accept.” This is a very common misleading practice used to persuade the user that “Accept” is the correct option. There is no right or wrong when deciding to accept or reject cookies. Only prioritizing making the user feel comfortable.

  • Explain what you will be doing with the collected data

It’s essential to transparently explain the purposes for which user data will be utilized. In our 2024 Buyer Report, research uncovered that unreliable information leads to broken trust.

Be precise and include details about how you will use data. The relationship you have with your customers is built on a foundation of trust. This trust is strengthened by handling their data properly. Your chosen e-commerce platform plays a significant role here.

  • Maintain the trust of your users

In B2B e-commerce, the risk is higher, and data becomes more sensitive as opposed to in B2C. The implications of mismanagement on a larger scale can be substantial, including increased risk, potential churn, and damage to the business. Therefore, adhering to best practices is crucial to maintaining trust and compliance in the B2B sector.

Tips for clear and effective communication:

When aiming for effective communication with B2B customers, here are a few valuable tips.

  • Utilize a tone that exudes assurance, instilling confidence in your messages.
  • Employ clear and straightforward language to ensure your communication is easily understood.
  • Pay meticulous attention to the choice of words, being extra cautious in their usage to prevent misinterpretation.
  • Consider your target markets and offer communication in different languages, ensuring that content in all languages undergoes thorough double-checking to maintain consistency and clarity across the board.

Our predictions for the future of B2B consent management

Looking ahead to future trends in B2B consent management, several significant developments are on the horizon.

  • A more unified process

Firstly, there’s a shift towards a more centralized approach, aiming for uniformity in the consent process. Users increasingly desire a standardized experience that fosters trust and consistency across platforms. Just as what is seen in Apple’s iOS, where developers are compelled to clarify data requests. This approach results in a unified and transparent user experience, reinforcing the perception of safety.

  • More user awareness

Secondly, users are expected to adopt more protective and strict browser settings, reflecting a growing awareness of data privacy. In response, companies will need to adapt and innovate in their data collection practices, becoming more explicit in their explanations of why and how they utilize user data.

As time goes on, clarity and compliance with guidelines become cornerstones in maintaining user trust and ensuring the responsible use of data.

Sana Commerce and consent management

At Sana Commerce, we recognized Sana Commerce Cloud wasn’t equipped to fulfill our customers’ needs for effective consent management. In response, we opted to collaborate with industry-leading experts, Usercentrics.

SCC provides the flexibility to choose between Usercentrics, Sana’s default cookie bar or any other 3rd party cookie bar. However, the integration with Usercentrics is believed to be the best solution as a result of our partner’s expertise in consent management.

Read more about our newest partnership here.

Final points

For B2B organizations, there’s a heightened risk factor involved. With the large impact of customer churn, the result of data mismanagement could be significant revenue loss and damage to your overall B2B business reputation.

In essence, the stakes are notably higher in B2B consent management, and the repercussions of mishandling customer data can have far-reaching and detrimental effects on the business.

A reason your customers are not using your web store to convert could be that they don’t feel that their data is safe. Find out more ways that you can put your customers first in our extensive 2024 B2B Buyer Report.

Learn how Sana Commerce Cloud tackles consent management.

Request a demo now.