A B2B blueprint for online personalization

We oftentimes forget that B2B e-commerce buyers are also B2C shoppers. They’ve grown accustomed to an intuitive, easy, and personal B2C website experience from shopping online for themselves and their families.

Known as the “Amazon Effect,” consumers have come to expect Amazon’s convenient features like personalized product recommendations or speedy checkout.

Many B2B websites fall short of the exceptional B2C experience normalized by Amazon. According to Gartner, by 2018, B2B companies offering a more personalized experience in their e-commerce solutions will outsell competitors by 30%.

The gap between B2B and B2C online expectations is closing. How can you deliver a more personalized B2B website experience? Get started with our B2B personalization tips.

 

Getting started with B2B website personalization

B2B personalization enhances visitors’ shopping experience and increases the likelihood they’ll return for repeat purchases.

Today, we’ll demonstrate real-life B2B personalization ideas from a few of our clients, who recently overhauled their websites on the Episerver platform to deliver a more personalized shopping experience to busy buyers.


1. Give companies what they want

The buyers that interact with you are all different – different product needs and interests, motivated by different incentives, and located in different locations. So, why are you giving them a one-size-fits all website experience?  

Your website is your brand’s digital storefront. By building your site to deliver a completely unique and relevant experience to every buyer, you make it easier for the right buyer to find the right product, and you’ll become the go-to for all their inventory needs.

To treat buyers uniquely, you need to pinpoint their product interests, the kinds of promotions that excite them, and the right time and channel to make contact. This sounds overwhelming, but it’s a simple exercise of grouping buyers into like-minded categories (called customer personas) and then targeting content and promotions to these personas.  

The insights gained from mapping out your personas and their typical customer journey can be used to influence business decisions across your organization. (Ready to get started? We’ve laid out everything you need to develop detailed user personas and map their customer journey here.)

Once you’ve fleshed out your customer personas, it’s time to develop targeted content on your website and across other marketing channels to capture attention, drive website traffic, and compel action. 


2. A consistent experience across all touchpoints

Closing the gap between buyers and brands requires a seamless experience across channels. If your website is personalized to focus on buyers’ needs, than your emails need to mirror this effort, and display similar messages or promotions on the products they want. To personalize one channel and not the other risks a broken, inconsistent user experience.

For example, B2B wholesaler Sullivans knows their retailers typically shop from one product line, not all of them. They focused both their website and email personalization to display targeted, relevant messaging and imagery around each product line. The holistic experience from the website to email respects Sullivans retailers’ time and engagement, instead of sending them every product and promotion.

 

This personalization doesn’t have to be e-commerce-based, either.  A B2B technology company, for example, can target personas based on service types or industries. They can show website content and send emails with personalized white papers, demos, and content assets to nurture the customers through longer buying cycles.


3. Efficient Ordering with Customer Portals

Trust us, customers will thank you for a Customer Portal. Customer Portals place all the tools customers need to efficiently complete their shopping in a handy dashboard that can be customized with personalized features and functionality. Customers can access their previous orders and invoices from one secure location, and Quick Reorder functionality makes it simple and easy for customers to bulk reorder items they’ve purchased in the past.

Our client Mud Pie’s Customer Portal helps their retailers quickly fulfill all their inventory needs by recommending Frequently Purchased Products, Top Selling Products, and Recommended Products. Retailers can look up items by the SKU number and even create and send customized product wishlists and presentations.

 

 

By personalizing the shopping experience for each retailer and offering the tools they need to shop quickly and efficiently, Mud Pie’s retailers receive a better brand experience and are more likely to return to the Customer Portal to complete all their shopping needs.

 

4. Encourage Retailers to Register

Personalization not only nurtures more intimate relationships with our customers, it can help brands achieve unique business goals.

Like most B2B wholesalers, Sullivans requires customers to become registered to see product prices, catalogs, and sale information. Sullivans uses personalization in their emails and on their website to encourage registrations.

Sullivans website changes content in the navigation and footer to remind site visitors to register to become customers. If the visitor is already a registered customer, the messaging instead focuses on helping them take action, like “Running low on inventory? Place a Quick Order.” Similarly, their email navigation displays a prominent “Register” link for non-registered contacts and a “Sale” link for registered retailers.

 

Elizabeth Cordeiro

Guest blogger: Elizabeth Cordeiro

Online Marketing Manager, Whereoware

Email: ecordeiro@whereoware.com