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The B2B digital economy is here! So, why is technology letting us down?

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According to a recent report by Wunderman Thompson Commerce, the online B2B shopping experience falls short.

In this article, we’ll review the key takeaways of the B2B Future Shopper Report 2021 and discuss what B2B companies can do to ensure they create a customer experience that stands out from the competition.

What did the report highlight?

Despite living in a so-called digital-first economy, 89% of the 600 B2B buyers surveyed said that they find it more complicated to buy online than offline.

Common issues included frustration with the lack of functionality (61%), slow site loading speeds (60%), and it being too difficult to find products on supplier sites (32%).

Why is this an issue? Because, in an age where the pandemic has effectively accelerated digital adoption, it leads to frustrated buyers. If they can’t seamlessly and easily complete what they need to, they won’t think twice about looking elsewhere and choosing a competitor.

What are the key takeaways for B2B businesses?

The report found that 90% of buyers expect a similar shopping experience on a B2B site as they get on a B2C site and that B2B online spend is expected to remain at the current level (49%) post-lockdown.

What this means for B2B businesses is that there’s a real opportunity for companies to set themselves apart in a busy marketplace by providing a better customer experience. Let’s take a look at how.

Put the customer first

From a content point of view, considering your target audience’s goals and problems helps ensure that your website contains the answers to their questions, which will result in a positive experience.

Another way to give the customers what they want is to offer personalisation. The report found that the top reason for shopping online for 46% of B2B buyers was that they were able to customise products.

Think omnichannel

The report also highlighted that B2B buyers are using a wider range of omnichannel sources across the stages of the purchase process. To capitalise on this, businesses should prioritise offering a truly omnichannel purchasing experience.

As Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said: “Buyers want a digitally capable supplier, who offers them the ability to dip in and out of the digital and physical channels at will.”

This includes mobile (78% of buyers want a better mobile experience from suppliers) and considering next-gen technology, such as augmented reality (AR), which 20% of buyers are open to using in the buying process.

Replicate the B2C experience

It’s clear from the results of the study that having a strong and functioning web presence that replicates the experience of a consumer site can make a huge difference.

From a usability and functionality point of view, this means creating a clear and seamless journey with fast-loading pages, simple navigation, and strategic call-to-actions so it’s easy for your customers to find the information they need and take action on your site.

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