B2B eCommerce overflows with opportunity. In 2020, global sales are predicted to top $6.6 trillion, blowing away the $3.2 trillion projected for B2C sales. At the same time, the demographics of B2B buyers are changing dramatically, and that will have a big impact on B2B eCommerce website design.
Today, 73% of those involved in B2B purchase decisions are Millennials, between the ages of 23 and 38. Buyers above 40 might prefer face-to-face relationship with sales reps, but Millennials are tech-savvy and more comfortable doing business online.
That’s why industry experts say that B2B websites need to deliver visitor experiences similar to those on B2C sites—intuitive, personalized, available 24x7, and featuring bold, colourful designs. The stakes are high, because 76% of B2B customers say it’s easier than ever for them to switch brands in their search to find the best website experience.
Here are 10 ways to make sure your B2B website design delivers a visitor experience that’s more attractive and engaging for today’s B2B buyers.
Make your website designs bolder and simpler
Stand out with custom photos, illustrations, and icons
Jazz up your site with animated content
Engage site visitors with interactive content
Let chatbots handle customer support and B2B lead generation
Supercharge your B2B email marketing with personalization
Invest in more video
Dive into social media
Consolidate B2B marketing on a single platform
Optimize your site for mobile
1. Make your website designs bolder and simpler
Many B2B websites are stuck with bland designs, and that won’t cut it with today’s buyers. That’s why many industry experts say 2020 will see a strong trend toward revamping B2B websites to deliver unique, engaging and rewarding user experiences.
Overall, B2B sites will move toward simpler designs with shorter blocks copy, lots of whitespace, and fewer but bolder colors. These design elements do a better job of attracting visitors and making website text, illustrations, and videos stand out.
2. Stand out with custom photos, illustrations, and icons
Stock photos and illustrations are tired, clichéd and don’t provide original and personalized website experiences. Instead, try custom images by agencies or website designer that are eye-catching and fast-loading. Or customize stock photos by changing their colors, lighting, and design to create something that reflects your client’s brand.
Don’t settle for stock icons either. Design custom icons tailored to fit your client’s brand and deliver a more appealing experience.
3. Jazz up your site with animated content
Animation keeps visitors engaged and delivers information quicker and more effectively than text. One study shows web animation can boost site visitors’ understanding of your product or service by 74%.
Industry experts predict we’ll see B2B websites using more animated content then ever, ranging from animated GIFs to newer offerings like transparent videos.
Animation can improve user experiences by occupying users’ attention while a page loads, guiding them through transitions to different parts of the page or site, and showing that their clicks, purchases, or other actions are in process.
4. Engage site visitors with interactive content
Today’s B2B buyers are looking for new online experiences, and for many, that means greater interactivity. In fact, 91% say they’re seeking more visual and interactive content.
Studies show that interactive content attracts more attention and sells more products. Most marketers know it. 81% say interactive content is much more engaging than static content, and 81% say it helps with brand differentiation.
There’s a wide variety of interactive content options, including live chat, polls, quizzes, surveys, videos, and email content with links leading to relevant site pages.
5. Let chatbots handle customer support and B2B lead generation
Chatbot are AI software that engages visitors as if they were speaking with a real person. They can automatically handle key tasks from customer service to B2B lead generation, working 24x7 while cutting operational costs and time.
By 2021, businesses will invest $400 million in chatbots. Today they can be programmed to direct site visitors to the support and solutions they need, to help qualify leads, and to automate the delivery of B2B marketing materials and discounts.
6. Supercharge B2B email marketing with personalization
Email is the top-rated B2B marketing tactic—84% of businesses use it, and click-through rates are 47% higher for B2B email campaigns over B2C.
Studies show personalization can boost those impressive stats. Personalized email has a 26% higher likelihood of being opened than generic emails, and marketers say it increases revenue by 760%.
You can start by using your customers’ names in email. Next, take personalization further by serving different content to different segments as part of the same campaign.
7. Invest in more video
2020 will see B2B websites follow B2C’s lead by making more extensive use of video. Studies show that website users respond to video all along the purchase path—from exploring the product in more detail to completing a purchase.
B2B marketers praise video’s effectiveness for increasing traffic to their website, and 81% said it helped them with B2B lead generation.
What types of videos work best? Industry experts say the most popular topics are product features, how-tos, professional reviews, webinars, and case studies.
8. Dive into social media
B2B marketers once thought social media marketing was for B2C companies, but no more. A recent study found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-suite executives use social media to support their buying decisions.
The key step is focusing on the social platforms your customers prefer:
LinkedIn is for interacting with leads and customers
Facebook is for enhancing customer service and running PPC ads
Twitter is for brand awareness campaigns and influencer marketing
Instagram is for sales via “shoppable posts”
9. Consolidate B2B marketing on a single platform
Most businesses collect so much customer data that they’re investing in multiple data management tools to try to analyze and draw insights to improve marketing performance. Yet only 46% of B2B marketers have a unified view of their customer data.
On top of that, most use separate software programs to handle content creation, SEO, lead nurturing, email and social media marketing. That makes it difficult to manage, let alone use them effectively to help find the customer data they need.
Poor data quality makes delivering a good customer experience even more difficult. In 2020, industry experts expect more tool integration to enable better decision-making and streamlined marketing efforts.
10. Optimize your site for mobile
More than half of all global traffic is on mobile. That means it’s critical to ensure that your sites are designed to present a fast, smooth and enjoyable online experience. Key factors include image and video responsiveness; size of text, clickable drop-down menus and loading speed.