Invest in e-commerce for a stronger B2B sales strategy

Denise Castillo
November 2, 2018

We’ve heard it time and again: the already-long list of B2B buyer demands is growing quickly and constantly. B2B e-commerce experiences are improving at a listless pace, and organizations are largely failing to keep up with what their customers want. But when it comes to your B2B sales strategy, what’s really at risk?

Revenue —and lots of it.

The B2B business-customer disconnect

Subpar B2B web stores simply aren’t cutting it anymore.

If you’re not constantly improving the online experience for your customers, you’re probably missing out on potential business, losing existing business, or both. And if you’re losing existing business due to a poor e-commerce experience, it will cost you 5x more to make up for it with new business acquisition.According to our recent research report, most B2B organizations feel that they are succeeding in achieving their sales-oriented e-commerce goals.

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And while your organization may very well be driving more sales, you’re likely driving only a small fraction of the sales you could be driving with a better e-commerce experience.

Recent data from PwC tells us:

  • Online consumers today would pay up to 16% more for better overall customer experience.
    • 52% would pay more specifically for greater speed and efficiency online.
    • 43% would pay more for greater convenience with e-commerce experiences.

Plus, even the smallest improvement in e-commerce customer experiences has been proven to improve customer retention, boost customer satisfaction, and increase both up-selling and cross-selling.

Nonetheless, many B2B organizations are content to leave ‘good enough’ alone. They remain relatively content with their existing e-commerce experiences (which means they’re letting this potential revenue slip through their fingers).

How to provide an excellent customer experience in the digital age, mini ctaIf this sounds familiar, here’s a reality check:

1. Your Online Customers Are Dissatisfied

According to Digital Commerce 360, 35% of online customers find their overall experience with B2B web stores to be poor, while only 11% consider them to be excellent. The remaining percentage of B2B e-commerce experiences fall within a grey area in the middle: not quite terrible, but nowhere near where they should be:

Here’s how customers rate B2B e-commerce sites in 2018

What’s worse? Nearly half of all B2B buyers make B2B purchases once a week or more. This means that if your web store experience is weak, 47% of your online customer base is forced to hassle with an inadequate online experience —at minimum—52 times every single year.Now ask yourself: how frequently are you disappointing your customers, and how do you expect they’ll put up with it?

Here’s the (disheartening) answer:

One in every three customers would abandon a web store or brand —even one that they love—after a single bad experience (PwC).

If it’s not already alarmingly clear: it’s time to step up your e-commerce game. The success of your B2B sales strategy depends on it.

2. Your business may be threatened by looming obstacles

Our latest B2B e-commerce research shows that the number of businesses using e-commerce to support their digital transformation has risen from 73% to 87% since 2017. Many businesses have plans to invest in upgrading their e-commerce offering, but 90% only plan to do so within the next five years.So, what happens until then?

Obstacles like increased competition and changing marketplaces have already begun to stunt B2B businesses’ e-commerce evolution (and we’re anticipating even more disruption beyond 2018).

B2B organizations do seem to be going in the right direction when it comes to investing in e-commerce to improve the B2B customer experience. But having the right idea won’t make an impact if you don’t act until it’s too late.

The time take a step forward in your B2B sales strategy is now.

Improving e-commerce (And your B2B sales strategy)

Are you losing online customers? Do you want to increase sales? Are you inefficiently reaching customers across channels?

Quality e-commerce is the perfect answer to your online sales woes.

But if you’re doing B2B e-commerce wrong, you’re more likely to take a hit to your bottom line than to boost it.

If you’d like to re-consider how you’re approaching e-commerce sales (and get it right moving forward), focus on:

  • Customer experience (UX and web performance)
  • E-commerce platform / infrastructure investment
  • Innovation (mastering E-Commerce 2.0, and embracing E-Commerce 3.0)

And do it soon.

For more insights on the state of B2B digital transformation and e-commerce in 2018, read our research report.

Digital transformation report

A report for strategists and decision-makers