If you make B2B customers, with a clear intent to purchase, browse through several hundred results to find the product they want, chances are they will quit within a few seconds. Then, getting them back to your B2B eCommerce platform will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
For the digitally savvy, well-informed, modern customer, quality, functionality, or cost are no longer enough to drive loyalty. The customer today wants to take action, to move ahead in the journey to finding just the right product, and to not have to waste time or effort getting there. In that context, B2B brands today have to look at several other aspects to create a connect and fuel loyalty. Search and browse are two such aspects that have become extremely critical for existing B2B eCommerce platforms.
B2B eCommerce sites and the challenge of navigating through them
Let’s face it. B2B brands are in a situation where they have to showcase an extensive portfolio of products and product variants across different channels to meet the needs of modern customers. For B2C brands, this motivation is not as intense, since the number of product options is relatively fewer. When thousands of possible alternatives are showcased on an eCommerce platform, it becomes difficult for customers to find products quickly and easily. Such poor site navigation not only impacts the shopping experience, but it also results in lost sales and reduced profits.
Irrespective of the product, customers would like to browse and explore at their own convenience – before they make a purchase. They want to convince themselves that they have made exactly the right choice. To help create that confidence, they need access to the right product information, presented in just the right manner at just the right stage of the buyer journey. But this creates a massive navigation challenge.
If a B2B eCommerce is difficult to navigate – which is likely, given the breadth of products being sold – the business is most likely to lose customers.
Unless of course you allow them to search easily for the products they want to need.
Search and browse are key to acquire (and retain) customers
When buyers arrive at your eCommerce site, many come with the intent to buy. But that isn’t the case every time. Not everyone who visits your site has a specific product in mind – many are also shoppers who are looking for a product that can provide a solution to a business problem. Whether your customers know what they want, want to browse through your product catalog, or compare products, integrating search within your B2B eCommerce site becomes critical. With a robust search functionality:
- Buyers get the freedom of typing in a few keywords and getting a list of products that match those keywords – without having to surf through multiple product pages.
- Buyers can narrow down their search and save time and effort in finding the product they intend to purchase.
- B2B brands can suggest products based on buyers’ surfing history or keyword match – further shortening their quest.
- B2B companies can integrate filters, so buyers can sort their search criteria to find results quickly.
Building product content to match customers’ search specifications
Since the B2B buying process is time-consuming, search and browse lay the foundation for a smooth progression of your customers’ purchasing journey. Customers will look to save time by searching for the product they are looking for on your B2B eCommerce site. So, it is important the product content you build matches exact specifications – so the right products appear on the search results page. Of course, it’s also important to consider that those exact specifications may be presented by different buyers in different ways.
Also, products on your B2B site are subject to constant upgradations. New products and variants are always being introduced, functionalities being added, and older products being replaced or retired. That’s why it is even more important that each product is complemented with content is that constantly updated. Unless the associated product content is current, buyers will not be able to hit upon the right product in their search – especially if it has replaced an older product. Such ambiguity can hamper the buyer journey and make it unnecessarily uneven.
Here’s how you can optimize your product content for search:
- Do your keyword research to keep track of commonly used keywords and constantly integrate them into your product content to display the right products in search queries.
- Design rich content that is specifically tailored for the mobile by leveraging the best mobility practices and tools.
- Leverage analytics to analyze usage data to improve search and product discovery and enable personalized experiences.
- Enable strategic keyword optimization by ensuring updated and relevant keywords are included in your meta tags and product content.
- Enhance master data management capabilities to make your product catalogs more easily searchable.
- Constantly update product content and ensure relevance through correct product tagging.
- For products with substantial technical information across specs and drawings, integrate a comprehensive search and filter option to simplify the search process.
- Enable Advanced Search capabilities, so buyers can filter products using several different parameters and specifications
- Ensure that the product information answers all the questions that buyers have
- Use well-designed data models and robust data governance practices to improve search accuracy.
A B2B eCommerce platform is ineffective if buyers cannot find the products that are right for them. Build your product content in such a way that it includes commonly used keywords. Empower your customers to make quick and easy purchasing decisions by providing the right information at the right time at the right touchpoint of the buying journey. And on that road, search and browse are key enablers.