The B2B eCommerce market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 20% from 2023 to 2030 — as a matter of fact, B2B eCommerce sales in the US are expected to grow from $2 trillion in 2023 to $3 trillion by 2027, with this vertical accounting for 24% of total US B2B sales by 2027 — so developing a strategy for your B2B business could be the key for driving growth. With all that in mind, we'll explore eight strategies that can be instrumental in your online B2B sales engine — including buyer’s journey analysis, website optimization, targeted content creation, a mobile-first approach, and more. While these tips may not all apply exclusively to B2B eCommerce businesses — some will likely be applicable to B2C ventures as well — there is value in considering them. Let’s take a deeper dive.
The B2B buyer’s journey details the steps a prospect goes through — from the first point of contact with your brand, to learning more about your products and services, to (ideally) making a purchase or deciding to partner with you.
A buyer’s journey is an easy way to visualize all the stops a potential client makes on the way to working with you. It also doubles as a tool for your sales or outreach teams to use when trying to sell to customers. There can be as many steps on the journey as your business deems necessary, but it’s important that the journey successfully takes them from awareness to consideration to purchase.
At various points along the customer journey, your goal should be to find ways to use your online platform to attract, engage and convert prospects.
When it comes to B2B transactions, the buyer's journey is often more focused and detailed than in the B2C world. Mapping out this journey helps identify key touchpoints and interactions that will guide potential clients through the decision-making process. By taking the time to map out and familiarize the stages for yourself and your team — from problem recognition to evaluation and purchase — you can focus your strategies to meet any unique needs or challenges that customers might face at each step. Using tools like HotJar to track visitor movement through your site — including navigation, scrolls, clicks and exits — can help you gather insights about how your prospects navigate and engage with your website.
Your business has likely already identified a buyer’s journey, but it can be useful to do so within the context of digital commerce efforts. Consider ways that your chosen eCommerce solution can serve the touchpoints you’ve identified for your buyer’s journey — how will your online store help attract, engage, and convert prospects? Finding the correlation between your chosen journey and digital commerce efforts will help inform the steps you need to take in order to achieve growth.
For example, when you think of attracting new customers, you can try using targeted advertising (such as pay-per-click ads) and creating case studies. With engagement, consider creating personalized, interactive content such as quote calculators. When it comes to conversion, you can utilize features such as calls-to-action, streamlined forms, live support, and trust signals like industry certifications and partner logos on your site.
Once you fully understand the customer journey for your business and how to track it, you can use that information to optimize your website. A well-designed B2B eCommerce website can be a cornerstone of your online efforts, so making it accessible, user-friendly, informative, and intuitive is crucial. Taking the time to audit and optimize your website and user experience (UX) to meet the needs of your prospects can go a long way in providing value for your visitors and building their trust in you. It takes less than a second for visitors to your site to decide to stay or leave — so making sure your website provides an optimized and smooth experience immediately is crucial.
Simply put, an intuitive website interface enhances the user experience by minimizing friction. On a B2B website, some primary sources of friction include:
In order to mitigate these frictional elements, B2B businesses must focus on a few key areas of their website:
These are some of the areas we have found to be most relevant to improving user experience to drive greater engagement and increase conversions.
Personalization can be a massive game-changer when it comes to B2B transactions. Companies using data-driven insights delivering personalized experiences for specific customer groups and individual customers can help drive greater brand allegiance, higher conversion rates, and lower cost of customer acquisition. Aspects such as custom price lists, customer portals, personalized product recommendations, and tailored content will enhance engagement and create stronger customer relationships with the prospects visiting your site.
Customers prefer to work with companies who understand their needs and deliver an in-person or online experience that caters to these needs. Books have been written on this topic for traditional sales people — but without direct, face-to-face connection, how do you build this personalization on your website?
Scalable personalization is made possible by collecting and analyzing engagement data. Targeted engagement data such as page visits, time on page, menu navigation, site search, shopping cart abandonment, product selection, purchase, and post-purchase experiences can all provide insights that help your team design more personalized experiences that drive greater engagement and conversion. By analyzing their past interactions, preferences, and behaviors, you can create custom experiences that resonate with your customers and help them feel like their needs are understood. Personalized product recommendations, content, and pricing all enhance the overall buyer’s journey. According to Gartner, a majority of B2B buyers demand a consistent multichannel and multi-device personalization experience after providing personal data.
Features like dynamic pricing — which are based on factors like order volume or historical purchases — and easy reordering capabilities can incentivize larger and repeat transactions. Dynamic pricing can also help you maximize profits, increase sales for less-popular products or services, and boost conversion rates.
Additionally, offering targeted product recommendations and content to specific buyer segments showcases your commitment to meeting their unique needs, no matter what they are.
Different customer segments — and even individual prospects at different stages of the buyer’s journey — have varying needs. By curating your product and service catalogs and pricing tiers for specific industries, business sizes, and stages, you will demonstrate a deeper understanding of your clients' needs.
Effective content marketing will establish your authority in the B2B space and provide value to your customers. There are multiple kinds of informative and valuable content you can create, including industry insights, product guides, how-to resources, FAQs, and thought leadership pieces. These types of content can position your brand as a trusted partner and industry leader — in other words, you’ll be a brand that people want to do business with.
Successful content marketing will not only educate potential clients, but also help drive organic traffic to your website and build brand loyalty over time.
When it comes to content marketing, it’s most important to craft content that educates and provides value to your target audience. Content pieces such as whitepapers, case studies, blog articles, and video tutorials should not only showcase your expertise, but also provide concrete solutions to the pain points your customers are likely to experience. Avoid filling your website with meaningless content — this will only drive potential customers away instead of bringing them in, building trust and leading them further along their buyer’s journey.
Customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are the backbone of any B2B sales operation. These systems allow for seamless sales activities, customer management, order processing, real-time inventory updates, order tracking, and more. Having these services integrated with your eCommerce platform ensures accurate data flow across platforms, leading to streamlined operations and improved customer service.
Integration with CRM systems allows you to manage customer interactions effectively. These interactions include tracking communication, managing accounts, and ensuring personalized service — and managing them all in one place to help smooth out the buyer’s journey.
ERP systems provide real-time insights into inventory levels and pricing, which helps streamline order processing and fulfillment. This allows buyers to track their orders and receive accurate delivery estimates, providing customers with another convenience factor and helping establish trust between you and them.
Implementing an automated pricing and quoting system simplifies negotiations and accelerates the sales cycle — and providing transparent and accurate pricing information instills confidence in buyers. As the point of interface with your customers, your eCommerce platform will be the best place to offer an online quoting tool. As discussed above, this tool could be integrated to other back-end systems to enable for more efficient processing, including possible opportunities for automation.
Consider implementing an automated system that generates accurate quotes based on pre-set pricing rules. This can eliminate manual errors, expedite negotiations, and provide transparency to buyers while allowing your team to focus on strengthening relationships and moving customers along the buyer’s journey.
Mobile devices drive so much of our day-to-day life, and B2B transactions are no different. In fact, 74% of users are more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites — so making your eCommerce storefront optimized for mobile is a must. Using responsive design will ensure that your website functions seamlessly on various devices, providing buyers with a consistent and enjoyable experience no matter what device they’re on. If you want to take things a step further, developing dedicated mobile apps for on-the-go purchasing lets customers place orders even more conveniently.
Ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices. Google now uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for its search results, which only further solidifies the importance of creating a site that is just as easy to use on the go as it is on a computer. Your website and its contents should remain accessible and visually appealing across all screen sizes.
Developing a dedicated mobile app offers buyers a convenient way to browse, research, and place orders while on the move. Apps can also open the door to new commerce features, like barcode scanning for quick reordering. It may take considerable resources to create and maintain, but an app is a worthwhile endeavor for brands that see lots of mobile business.
Account-based marketing (ABM) focuses on targeting high-value accounts (rather than individuals) with targeted strategies. ABM strategies align sales and marketing efforts to engage key decision-makers within target companies — helping you identify the right person to nurture along the buyer’s journey. This strategy enhances the quality of your leads, improves conversion rates, and fosters long-lasting business relationships.
Take the time to identify key accounts with the potential for bringing in significant business. Then, tailor your marketing efforts to address their unique pain points and objectives to establish a stronger connection with them and help win their business. ABM can be very useful with larger target companies where it might not be easy to identify a point of contact.
All eight of these strategies share a common theme: a customer-centric approach. The success of your B2B eCommerce efforts hinges on understanding your buyers, anticipating their needs, and delivering exceptional value at every touchpoint. By taking these strategies and tailoring them to your business, you can create a unique eCommerce strategy for your brand that helps you achieve sustainable growth in a competitive market.
Creating a B2B eCommerce strategy for your business might feel overwhelming at first, but taking the time to build one properly will help you create new growth opportunities. By embracing the buyer's journey, optimizing your website, personalizing experiences, and leveraging data-driven insights, you can position your business for success when it comes to B2B eCommerce development — just remember, the path to growth begins with putting your customers at the heart of every decision you make.