Digital-first is the minimum expectation for today’s manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers.
If you haven’t embraced this concept and invested in the right technologies to make it a reality, you’re now perpetually playing catch up – and leaving revenue on the table.
- 77% of buyers are willing to independently purchase new items online in excess of $50,000
- 35% of buyers are comfortable purchasing in excess of half a million dollars, and
- 72% of buyers’ marketing budgets are now going to purely digital channels.
Of course, B2B digital experiences are different – and more complex – than consumer experiences. Product customizations, order minimums, pricing, returns, logistics, and sales cycles are all more complicated.
Getting it right is paramount - buyer journeys are centered on completing essential job tasks. Your mission is to make the buying experience easy, secure, and satisfying.
- Making it easy to buy WINS.
- Removing barriers WINS.
- Using AI to guide the buying decision WINS.
Yet, 77% of B2B buyers said their latest purchase was very difficult or complex.
At Whereoware, we’ve specialized in getting the B2B buying experience right for 20+ years.
Let’s explore: what buyers expect, what technology you need to deliver, and how to choose a website platform and solution partner to make the buying process simple and satisfying for your customers in our comprehensive B2B Digital Experiences Guide.
Our B2B Digital Experience Guide Covers -
Why it's Critical to Make it Easy to Buy
What is Required to Improve the B2B Buying Experience
How to Choose the Right Website Platform
How to Choose the Right Partner
Why it's Critical to Make it Easy to Buy
E-commerce replaces traditional restrictions with endless opportunities – your customers gain flexibility to buy and you drive revenue around the clock. Set yourself up to deliver on new customer expectations and always-on sales cycles.
At a minimum, you need a strong B2B e-commerce website, built with powerful self-service features, making it easy for your customers to find products, complete purchases, and answer questions on their own.
You need self-serve customer Portals to create sticky customer relationships and streamline order-taking and invoicing. Give your customers and sales reps tools to manage their business better to become their go-to vendor.
Finally, you must choose a platform and agency partner to manage, optimize, test, and scale for future goals.
To Build a Lasting B2B Foundation, You Need -
- A Strong, UX-optimized E-commerce Website
- Secure and User-Friendly Portals
- The Right Website Platform and Solution Partner
What is Required: A Strong B2B E-Commerce Website
B2B e-commerce websites must be cemented in precision findability – customers are rarely browsing for fun, but seeking to fulfil inventory or complete job responsibilities.
A secure, fast, and UX-optimized website enables buyers to quickly complete critical tasks, without frustration. Far from comprehensive...
An Elevated B2B website Experience -
- Combines a streamlined navigation, thoughtful design, and clear calls-to-action to guide users to explore the site, take action, and achieve desired outcomes.
- Conveys your story, POV, and value proposition at-a-glance, bringing customers behind-the-scenes to engage with your brand.
- Offers multiple ways to browse, with intuitive product categories, clear product filters, robust search, and recommendation engines to help users discover information and products.
- Makes it simple for customers to solicit help or get-in-touch, like easy-to-find FAQ, contact forms, customer service information, or chatbots.
- Is continuously and easily optimized to improve user experience (UX) and search engine rankings.
- Enables data capture, analytics, and experimentation / testing capabilities.
- Is fast, secure, and trustworthy, cementing credibility with proof points (like certifications, security seals, or client testimonials) and using visual cues (like loading icons) to reduce friction.
Want more? Get a comprehensive list of Website Must-Have’s and UX Optimizations to improve CX and Google Search Rankings.
Popular Self-Serve Myths
Myth - Self-Service is Competition for my Reps
The B2B sales landscape is multi-layered, with tradeshow markets, e-commerce, customer service, and sales reps all playing a part to acquire and retain customers.
A common misconception says setting up a powerful e-commerce channel is direct competition for the sales team, and therefore the self-service capabilities should be diluted, to drive customers from visiting a “brochure-style” website into the arms of the sales rep for the final sale.
This myth creates unnecessary silos that are detrimental to all sales channels. Ultimately, the decision of where to buy is up to your customers, and they increasingly want options - McKinsey found that customers used up to 10 channels across their buying decision, and 72% of B2B companies that sell via seven or more channels grew their market share in 2021.
Instead of fighting a losing battle, adopt the mindset that together, we’re driving sales from any channel. Done right, e-commerce offers new customer insights and advantages to inform and empower sales reps to have more profitable sales meetings.
Fact - Self-Service Empowers Your Sales Reps
To align all your channels, e-commerce must be set up to give sales and customer service reps greater capability to purchase on their clients’ behalf and data on how their customers are browsing and buying from the website.
The website becomes a source of knowledge and through AI and automation, can facilitate more productive outcomes for reps and CSRs, including helping them prioritize sales calls for customers most ready to buy. Intuitive and feature-rich portals are key.
Sales Rep Portal Dashboards Can Include -
- Number of active customers
- High-level customer overview
- New leads
- “Hot” or priority list (lead score / last activity date)
- Customers’ at risk to churn (have not purchased)
- Customers with abandoned carts
- Product performance by region, brand, or category
- Product availability
- Promotions or sales content
- Previous orders with instant re-order
- Product recommendations
Why Choosing the Right DXP and Partner Matters
The DXP market is expected to grow to a whopping $13.9 billion by 2024.
B2B sales cycles may be longer and more complicated than B2C, but there’s a tremendous amount of customer loyalty.
Choosing the right tool offers flexibility and the capability to deliver easy, personal, Amazon-like experiences to drive customer loyalty and repeat orders.
Digital experience platforms combine the tools you need to elevate customers’ experience - enabling companies to build, manage and optimize seamless journeys across all channels and interactions.
Ensure the chosen DXP is easy for your team to manage and update, while offering flexibility and features to achieve your goals now and in the future.
See why we partner with Optimizely, Salesforce, and Drupal-Acquia.
Think Picking the Right Website is Just About Budget? Think again!
The Website Platform You Choose Influences -
- The impression you leave visitors – made in 3-5 seconds
- Your control over your online brand story
- Your ability to scale your website to reflect new services, POVs, or happenings
- How easily users find you, through better search engine optimization
- How much you learn from your customers, via improved insights, data integrations, and experimentation
- The ease to deliver a single brand experience across all of your channels (social, email, etc.)
- Your power to personalize, optimize, and improve their customer experience
Questions to Ask During Your DXP Evaluation.
Let's take a look at the questions you should be asking to help with choosing the right DXP:
Is the CMS user-friendly?
- Can you autonomously update copy and images through a WYSIWYG editor?
- Can you build landing pages and product merchandising pages on-the-fly?
- Can you install add-ons or third-party plug-ins, without needing to invest in customizations?
- Can you view experiences in both desktop and mobile views to optimize for every device?
Can you optimize + personalize users’ experience?
- Are self-serve portals supported to help customers browse, buy, and manage their business with ease?
- Can you personalize content to target persona or intent, and track activity to optimize future engagements?
- Can you add AI-driven content and product recommendations and personalized search to aid information and product discovery?
- Can you integrate with back-office systems to feed real-time product updates and inventory?
- Can you integrate user-generated content, chatbots, or other tools to engage your audience directly?
Does the DXP offer a solid + scalable foundation?
- Can you integrate the DXP with other tools you rely on (DAM, CRM, ERP, PIM, marketing platform, analytics, etc.)
- Can you update SEO fields, like meta descriptions, alt-text on imagery, and URLs to optimize for SEO?
- Is it fast-to-load, able to handle traffic spikes, and secure against DDoS attacks and other potential disasters?
- Can you comfortably use the platform for at least the next three-to-five years, without outgrowing it?
Choosing a Platform is One Thing – Now What?
A common misconception is that once a platform is selected, Voila! You have a website.
The truth is, technology is the enabler, but it takes significant technical, practical, and creative strategies to bring that vision to life.
Here’s a very incomplete list of what goes into building a profitable website and critical growth channel for your business.
- Review historical data, user interviews, and G2M planning to inform a baseline strategy. Use this data to define Website goals, requirements, use cases, stakeholders, + target audiences
- Create a project plan, specifying key milestones, dependencies, approvals, and blackout dates
- Design and build key pages; implement commerce functionality; build portals, integrate plugins
- Write website copy, choose images and media, optimize for SEO
- Integrate back-office systems, MarTech stack, analytics tracking codes, and critical tools
- Test and QA all pages of the site, identifying bugs, user frictions, and core web vitals, like site speed
- Launch website, redirecting previous site traffic to the new site and server
- Market, measure, and optimize the website regularly to bring in traffic, drive conversions, motivate repeat purchases/visits, build customer loyalty, and improve/maintain search rankings
Alternative? Hire an experienced Agency partner to take all this off your plate.
Tech is Half the Equation. You Need the Right Partner.
Unlike competitors, Whereoware doesn't simply build a site and hand it to the client to “figure it out”.
We design and build on-brand and elegant websites, optimized to deliver an exceptional user experience; fueled by marketing and integrated strategy to drive revenue and achieve desired outcomes. (We have your back and are invested in your continuous success.)
For example, we transformed client Creative Co-Op's digital experience by building three highly integrated multi-sites for their brands Creative Co-Op, Illume, and Bloomingville on the sophisticated Optimizely DXP. Marrying all three retailer audiences, customer activity data is shared to provide personalized product recommendations and search results, while customers can also add-to-cart and checkout from a single shopping cart - enhancing the customer experience for every shopper.
Prefer to Play the Field? We Get It!
Below are questions to ask a potential partner to find the right match for your business.
At Whereoware, we’re always happy to sit with prospective clients and their vendor to answer these questions – if your service provider or vendors isn’t, you should be cautious.
By setting expectations for the project and relationship early-on, we can be completely transparent, identify challenges, and offer solutions to ensure success.
Questions to Ask to Choose the Right Agency
- Do you have past performance in my selected DXP?
- Are you a partner of my selected DXP? How do all parties in the partnership get paid?
- What developer specializations do you have?
- How do you handle scope- or budget creep?
- What other vendors are in your partner ecosystem?
- Who will handle ongoing concerns, like data security?
- Do you provide ongoing digital services, like marketing, paid media, SEO, email, or other tactics to ensure success?
- How easily can I get in touch, if I need help or an issue arises?
In a Nutshell
Your B2B buyers have spoken – they demand modern, digital-first, self-serve e-commerce options and an excellent user experience.
- They’re putting their money where their mouth is - 94% of B2B buyers agree their company prefers to work with suppliers that continuously evolve their digital capabilities.
- Ignoring their demands risks losing their loyalty. 85% of B2B buyers said they’d turn to a competitor if their suppliers’ digital channel can’t keep up.
Staying competitive and profitable means delivering an elevated e-commerce experience that empowers buyers, sales reps, and internal teams to efficiently browse, buy, engage, update, and inquire – all on their own terms.
Combining a powerful DXP with the right agency partner makes this vision a reality; future-proofing your digital experience to scale with shifting business goals and buyers’ evolving expectations.
We Can Help You
Whether you’re unsure what to do next, interested in discussing these learnings with a peer, or ready to kickstart the next chapter of your digital transformation, we’re here to help, complete our form below to connect with us.
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