If you’re an Australian web designer creating sites for business-to-business (B2B) clients, are you doing all you can to satisfy this important sector? It can be a challenge as B2B web use can be markedly different from B2C (business to consumer). For example:
- Customer numbers tend to be fewer.
- Orders are larger and often in bulk.
- Many customers are repeat buyers.
- Business visitors tend to be pressed for time.
- Business buyers have high information requirements.
- B2B visitors are far savvier than the average B2C.
- Business customers buy with their heads not their hearts.
What does this mean for B2B web design?
Good B2B design means a layout that’s clear, navigation that’s intuitive, and graphics that convey value and not merely decorate.
In other words, aesthetic criteria take a back seat to the kind of presentation and usability that leads the prospect to take the appropriate action whether it’s making an order, requesting a brochure, or signing up for a newsletter.
Keep it simple. Business visitors are on a serious mission to gather information to make a buying decision; they don’t want to be distracted by pop ups and animated banners. Above all, don’t include videos that start playing automatically. A recent survey revealed that such distractions would cause over 90% of B2B visitors to leave.
Other than offering impeccable usability, you B2B site is the online face of the company and has to reflect its brand and values. It must be designed so as to be able to attract and engage new customers as well as continue a relationship with existing ones.
Establishing a powerful brand identity is also important because B2B sites often need to focus on building relationships rather than promoting products or services.
A recent survey revealed that pricing information was the information most desired by B2B buyers, followed by technical specifications, and shipping information. B2B customers also valued case studies, white papers and other types of informational content that help with their research.
Providing comprehensive information on B2B sites means prospects can find everything they need to make an informed decision in one place. That way, they don’t need to click away to check competitors.
- Make sure the site offers clear navigation and reflects the company’s brand and values.
- Cater to visitors at all stages of the buying cycle – pricing and shipping information for those ready to buy, and white papers and case studies for those in research mode, for example.
- A B2B website has to deliver the heavyweight content a buyer needs to make a decision. So spend a lot of time on the information architecture to ensure the site works to inform, persuade, engage and lead the visitor to just where he needs to go.
Having a quality B2B web site in action is like having a whole team of salesmen and support staff working round the clock so make sure you get it right.