There are significant differences between the purchase journeys of B2C and B2B customers. Self-service is an option that has been around in B2C retail circles for quite some time but up until recently, it was not even conceivable for B2B firms to offer such an experience to their clients. Internet and ecommerce technologies have enabled this change in the last decade or so. Now, thanks to advanced B2B ecommerce platforms, business clients can enjoy the same level of convenience as their B2C retail counterparts. The majority of B2B clients prefer making purchases online and their online shopping experience has started to revolve around the self-service model. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has further contributed to this trend, making self-service portal a priority for B2B firms in 2021-22.
Provide an Abundance of Information
There should be a centralised knowledge base where the client can access answers to any question they may have regarding the products themselves or the entire purchase journey. This should include how-to guides on using products, extensive product catalogues with specifications, video guides, articles, and more.
A detailed FAQ should cover all aspects of the ordering and payment process available online. Having pages that include helpful tips and hints at strategic locations would further simplify the shopping experience. Customer satisfaction levels can plummet if the relevant information is not available at their fingertips so when it comes to self-service portals, providing access to key information is crucial.
Provide Users With Administrative Functionality
Too much hand-holding can ruin the B2B online customer experience. Clients should be empowered to manage different aspects such as product customisation, editing/modifying orders, and payments without having to consult the support team. A competent self-service system should be designed to deliver a reasonable level of administrative functionality to registered customers.
Focus on Speed and Simplicity
Speed is a major reason why clients prefer self-service. In fact, it indicates that it’s an important consideration when B2B businesses are planning to offer self-service functionality. Cumbersome and time-consuming processes can alienate online customers in a matter of seconds. With that in mind, customer-facing systems and processes should be simplified and optimised for a faster, more convenient online experience.
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Leverage Insights From the Sales Team
In a B2B firm, the sales teams often have deep insights into the various pain points faced by the customers and this information can be harnessed to create a seamless online experience. Then, anticipating the various issues which clients could face ensures you’re able to be proactive and have solutions readied in advance to counter them. Augment the knowledge base with relevant content designed to answer all queries and troubleshooting requests.
B2B ecommerce portal analytics can point to areas of opportunity, producing data to help inform your business strategy. The insights can help to uncover trends around. Particularly, which product categories are trending or experiencing higher than usual levels of interest.
Above are 4 ways B2B self service portal can optimize wholesale customer experiences. Each business, depending on the current situation will have different choices to make. If you have any concerns and inquiries, contact us and we will help you to figure them out.