For B2B customers, there's long been a gulf between their personal ecommerce experiences and the ways they make purchases at work.
In their daily lives, these buyers are ordering products online, easily paying with cards or digital wallets, and often using their mobile devices to take care of the entire process. Making secure payments for B2B purchases, on the other hand, hasn't been as seamless or easy. So it’s understandable that B2B buyers are looking for more of a B2C-type experience from their B2B vendors.
Research shows companies understanding this gulf and making an effort to improve their B2B transactions can help them outperform their competitors. As new research from Gartner reveals, the key to successful B2B ecommerce is helping customers “do what they came to do" -- and that includes meeting their evolving expectations.1
Here are four ways that your company can bring a little more of that B2C touch to your B2B buying experience:
Mobile access to websites and user-friendly checkouts are becoming increasingly important to B2B buyers. A recent report from Boston Consulting Group notes that "mobile's influence is reshaping the purchase pathway."2 Considering that 60% of B2B buyers report that mobile played a role in their recent purchase, and about half of B2B queries are made via smartphones, BCG expects that figure will grow to 70% in the next two years.3
B2B companies that don't want to miss out on this opportunity need to create quality mobile experiences for their customers from start to finish. The right payments partner will help ensure your website is user-friendly and that your transactions are optimized for mobile. Braintree, for instance, makes both easy with a mobile-ready Drop-in UI, which helps take the friction out of the B2B purchase process. B2B enterprises accepting and processing payments through Braintree can also create a Custom UI that's flexible, secure, and unique to their business and buyer needs.
Streamlining the B2B purchase process means offering buyers the right mix of payment methods. But it's important to keep in mind that the preferences of B2B consumers can vary from those of traditional B2C consumers. For instance, ACH is the preferred payment method among B2B buyers.4 That's why Braintree offers US-based B2B companies ACH Direct Debit, along with cards, PayPal, wallets, and more, in a single integration. That includes Amex Express Checkout, which B2B buyers are also increasingly using because it conveniently autofills payment information for card holders.
This era of abundant information can be a double-edged sword -- buyers easily research and find what they need, yet they can often feel overwhelmed by choices and data. Add to that the fact that B2B transactions often involve various paper forms, several people, and frequent contact, including emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings. "The onus is on sales leaders to make the purchase process easier -- so reps can address customers' needs and customers can progress to a purchase decision effectively and efficiently," Gartner reports.5
B2B enterprises can streamline their transactions by removing some of this added baggage from the customer journey. For instance, an ecommerce payment solution such as Braintree eliminates the need for procuring and processing paper checks. Braintree also provides B2B buyers with self-service features that help simplify and streamline transactions while helping ensure secure payments. For example, with the Braintree Vault, buyers can input their own payment information and then their data can be vaulted so that they only need to enter it once.
In most B2C transactions, buyers have visibility into all aspects of the purchase and even the post-purchase process. They can see the items that they've browsed, get emails when transactions go through, and even track their products through delivery. Typically, B2B purchases involve more nuance than ordering a pair of shoes online, but still, finding ways to increase the transparency of your purchase process helps earn the trust of your clients -- and improves overall customer satisfaction.6
For example, Braintree’s payments solution lets your buyers know the status of their payments, what they owe, and when those transactions will be processed. You can also enable notifications that alert customers to their transaction statuses and keep them apprised of any payment disputes. And transparency doesn't only benefit the customers -- on the business side, Braintree makes it easy to see purchase fees and trends through Transaction-Level Fee Reports. These reports offer visibility into payment methods used by your customers and break down the fees associated with each transaction to help you better identify savings and opportunities.
Whether you’re ready or not, B2B buyers are bringing their B2C expectations to your business. With the right payments partner, you can give them the purchasing experience they’re looking for, including mobile-friendly transactions, preferred B2B payment methods, and a simplified, transparent purchase process.