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User experience in B2B commerce – improve your customers' procurement process

User experience in B2B commerce – improve your customers' procurement process

To the German article

An ideal user experience is not just one of the central topics in B2C commerce. In B2B stores too, the purchasing processes must be optimally adapted to the needs of the customers. In B2B commerce, there are also completely different requirements for the user experience, as customers are usually companies with multiple contacts. In this article we will tell you what is important.

1. The procurement process should be as uncomplicated as possible for the buyer

In B2B commerce, the most important thing is that procurement can be carried out as easily as possible. The buying process should go ahead without any hurdles. To ensure that orders can be placed quickly, there should be an efficient search and filter option. The product detail page should also be clearly laid out. You should present the most important features as well as essential product data in a clearly visible way in the B2B store to enable a quick decision. Equally, it must be possible for customers to go through the ordering process efficiently and to fill their shopping cart without any problems. Presentation of further product recommendations, as is more common in the end customer sector, should be limited to necessary accessories or similar products.

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For B2B customers, it is particularly important to save as much time as possible when it comes to repeat orders. It is therefore essential that previous orders can be easily re-ordered or Excel lists uploaded. When reordering, the products are often no longer listed in their entirety with all the information and visuals. It is sufficient to present them in a concise list with all the item numbers as well as the most important product features. Using this listing, customers can quickly specify the quantities and add or remove products.

2. Provide easy management of responsibilities for the client's buying center

With corporate clients, there is not just one person responsible for the purchase. Rather, there are different stakeholders who have different roles and tasks in the buying process. For example: one person could be responsible for filling the shopping cart with products, a manager could authorize this order, and invoice management would then take over accounting. Therefore, the B2B customer should be able to independently define and store release processes, hierarchies and structures for the company in their customer account. It also makes sense that the company account can be subdivided into different company divisions as well as departments.

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Fixed budgets for staff or departments also help to make the procurement process easy for the client. Limits in procurement (for example "single orders up to a maximum of 300 euros") can support the customer in transferring their own limits to your online store.

3. Display the appropriate products for each customer with specific ranges

Customer-specific ranges are always important when a large product portfolio for customer groups is to be narrowed down to a partial range. They are also used when special products or product features are offered exclusively to certain customers. Thanks to the individualized partial range, both the navigation menu and the search function only show the relevant results. This helps customers find the right product more quickly.

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If B2B customers are only to be shown a partial range in the store, you can restrict the view of the products using customer groups or other specific criteria. This makes sense, for example, when dividing up an extensive full range for different sectors. Similarly, narrowing down the range can be useful if certain products are only allowed to be available in selected countries.

In addition, exclusive products for a customer can be individually assigned to their company account. In the B2B sector, this is used, for example, for special customer adaptations, items in the corporate design or for customer-specific item number ranges.

4. Display the specific prices for the customers in the store at any time

It is rare that there is a single price for everyone in the B2B online store. For many B2B merchants, the price in the ERP system is the measure of all things. So therefore the clear requirement in the online store is to show each customer their particular price. When it comes to putting this into practice, there are various options.

One of the most common variants is the assignment of special price lists to certain customer groups. The customer groups can be easily created and maintained by you in the online store. If required, customer groups can also be imported directly from your ERP system to avoid extra work.

Special discounts for customers are often defined for items and item groups. These can then often also relate to different price lists. The rules for such scenarios can also be mapped in your online store, allowing you to offer the customer the appropriate discount directly.

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In individual cases, it is only possible for the ERP system to determine the "real" price valid for a customer at the current time. This situation arises, for example, when a price calculation has to be made on the basis of fluctuating raw material prices. A solution for this is a real-time interface to the ERP system. With this you can promptly show the customer their currently valid price in your store.

As a B2B merchant, however, you may also have the use case that you want to display customer-specific prices for each item in your online store. An ERP system is capable of providing a great deal of pricing logic, right up to a customer-specific price per item. This type of pricing is a challenge for a B2B online store due to the enormous quantity of prices. A simple calculation example: your online store has 10,000 items and there are 10,000 customers. With 10 price scales per item, this results in 1,000,000,000 individual prices for the online store. For a solid and reliable price calculation, both the data reconciliation with the ERP system and the caching of the prices should be well thought out at this point. This allows the price to be displayed frictionlessly and correctly in your online store. 

About EXCONCEPT:

EXCONCEPT supports you in the creation of innovative and future-proof ecommerce solutions in the B2C and B2B environment. With a wide range of services from consulting and implementation to technical support, they accompany you optimally through the entire life cycle of your digital project. You can find more information about EXCONCEPT here.

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