Mobile has become the new normal in 2016 and it will continue penetrating in 2017. Last year, 52 percent of e-commerce site traffic was attributed to mobile along with 15 percent of sales. And although reports vary, it’s estimated that more than half of this season’s online purchases will be made using a smartphone.
B2B mobile use is on an upward trend as well. B2B researchers are heavy mobile users, not just when they are out and about, but to compare prices, read about products, compare features, and contact retailers wherever they are.
Many B2C e-commerce best practices carry over to the B2B world, but with slight nuances that are important to a business buyer. Consider the following recommendations to help you pave the way towards happy holiday shoppers that become loyal customers.
FACILITATE THE PROCESS
- Eliminate Distractions During Navigation and Checkout
Use prominent and definitive calls to action and make the buying process as easy as possible. Whatever you’re doing on desktop has to be even easier on mobile. Keep in mind, the key influencers are images and video, price, calls-to-action, product descriptions, and reviews.
- Display Stock Statuses and Accurate Inventory Counts
Shoppers need to know if products are in stock. You don’t want to miss a sale because of inaccurate inventory and you certainly don’t want to oversell. No one appreciates receiving notices that an item already ordered is not available.
- Display Shipping Times
Beginning in early December, people are looking for a concrete answer to the all-important question, “Will my order arrive in time?” You can save shoppers’ time and capture more sales if you display arrival dates on the page where they select shipping, remembering to consider the order processing time.
- Streamline the Checkout
Don’t ask for any information you don’t absolutely need, including phone numbers (unless vital to the sale or payment processor), fax numbers, and optional fields. Additionally, make sure input fields are formatted correctly, especially for mobile users. Don’t override user preferences, including the ability to auto-fill.
MOTIVATE BUYERS WITH INCENTIVES
Whether your business is B2B or B2C, customers are looking for bargains. You can enjoy a boost in sales over the holidays by offering deals that attract future business through a targeted strategy. Your communications and engagements become most effective when you look at your customers as human beings.
- Provide Incentives
Offering some form of free shipping has, to a large extent, become part of doing business for online retailers. According to several sources, shipping costs remain the single greatest contributor to shopping cart abandonment. Although about half of shoppers are willing to pay for relatively faster shipping according to a 2016 comScore and UPS study, those same shoppers don’t want to pay for standard, ground shipping.
- Follow Up Three Times
Email notifications keep customers happy and your phone from ringing off the hook. They also help encourage shoppers to return. Each order should result in three notifications:
- Order confirmation: This should include the ship-to address, any gift message entered, the products ordered, and an estimated ship date.
- Order shipped confirmation: Include the ship-to address, any gift message entered, the carrier and method used, and a linked tracking number.
- Follow up email: Send seven-10 days after the expected date of arrival to remind the customer how to contact you and of applicable policies for the item(s) purchased.
- Nudge Mobile Browsers via Helpful Email Reminders
Research shows that people make key decisions about purchasing on their smartphones, but online commerce is a multi-platform transaction. The path from smartphone to tablet–and desktop–is still very common, and your email strategy should reflect this. Send an email featuring products the user spent time browsing on a mobile device, as it may be opened when they are on desktop and ready to purchase. Be sure customers can add to cart on mobile and complete their transaction later on a tablet or desktop.
- Harness the Power of Account-Based Marketing
Customers do not want to be treated like one in the crowd; personalization is the key to gaining (and retaining) loyal customers. A key function of ABM is to target decision-makers at key accounts with branded messaging before the selling conversation formally begins, increasing a prospect’s awareness of your business’ product(s). A well thought out ABM strategy can deliver big payoffs by significantly decreasing the B2B sales cycle and closing larger deals.
Businesses need to stop thinking of ‘mobile users’ and ‘desktop users’ as different people—they’re not. A ‘mobile user’ one minute is a ‘desktop user’ the next. A focus on outstanding mobile UX may help more mobile customers to convert without switching to desktop, but for higher ticket items the focus should be on providing a seamless experience across devices so users can browse on mobile and convert on desktop.