Today’s demanding B2B buyers are looking for e-commerce interactions that mirror their experiences as B2C consumers, which means shopping experiences that feel intuitive, customized and effortless. However, personalizing for B2B e-commerce requires a very different approach than B2C personalization.
What is Personalization?
In the broadest sense, personalization is what we call the ability to provide unique user experiences to meet a customer’s specific needs or add value in a given context. For e-commerce, that can mean tailoring a customer’s experience according to their unique order history (for example, through an automatic upsell engine or recommending products feed) or by streamlining an aspect of their user experience on the site (i.e. faster, easier purchases).
B2C vs. B2B Personalization
B2C personalization generally leverages buying history and data from past or similar customer transactions to generate targeted add-ons for a purchase or to increase purchase size. But because B2B e-commerce transactions are longer, more complicated, and involve multiple stakeholders, B2B personalization relies on finding new efficiencies that add value for customers.
Tips for B2B Personalization include:
- Segmenting the audience
Effective B2B e-commerce personalization includes audience segmentation, which means delivering different experiences according to different buyer types, but doing so without creating totally different applications or websites. Unique customer log-ins can help facilitate this, displaying different content, product lists, and pricing for specific accounts or customers.
- Streamlining the order process
Personalization at checkout means the ability to configure the cart and ordering process according to buyer type, creating a smooth flow and easy-to-use experience for customers. For example, customizing checkout might allow you to specify payment or delivery methods for some buyers and not others, or set different approvals for various stakeholders. The primary idea is that you are tailoring the ordering process according to customer type in order to make the buyer experience as painless as possible.
- Managing & transforming static catalogs
Digital B2B catalogs can be long and difficult to navigate. While knowledgeable sales staff can help guide users, increasingly B2B buyers prefer self-service during the research phase. To help your B2B customers find what they need, offer tools that help customize and streamline catalog browsing and list management. Integrating your e-commerce with important sales data (ERPs and back-end systems) can also help in this effort, providing useful transparency into inventory counts and logistics that help customers make their purchasing decisions. Searchable catalogs (by name, SKU, or even barcode) are also useful. In addition to catalog management, B2B sellers can use Aleran’s catalog catalyst to transform their static digital catalogs and extend them into dynamic self-hosted sales portals for their sales teams and customers, increasing sales order efficiency and personalizing a crucial phase of the buying cycle for customers.
Overall, B2B personalization should demonstrate to your different customer types that you understand their needs and want to make their job easier. Doing so will help drive positive engagement, reduce your cost of sales, and drive efficiencies for the entire B2B e-commerce journey.
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