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Is your online store ready to serve B2B buyers while they are away from their desks? It needs to be. Whether they’re replenishing stocks on the road or putting together estimates for clients, they want to be able to check product details and pricing – and then push the button on a purchase.
Mobile is definitely on the move. More than a third of U.S. e-commerce sales were made on a mobile device in 2017, according to eMarketer Inc. The research firm expects mobile sales to increase by a third in 2018 – reaching more than $200 billion – and estimates that by 2020 mobile sales will top 50%.
But the impact on total retail sales is even larger than that. Although only 2.2% of total U.S. retail sales took place on a smartphone in 2017, according to Forrester Research, the impact on total retail sales is estimated at 35% in 2018. And that number is expected to reach 42% by 2022, according to a story on the Forrester report by Digital Commerce 360.
Why is the smartphone impact so strong? Because both B2B and B2C shoppers are using their smartphones for research and price comparisons while they are away from their desktops and laptops. “Shoppers have integrated smartphones into their product research at every phase of the customer life cycle, from discovery to price checking in-store,” Forrester principal analyst Brendan Miller writes in the newly released “2018 Retail Best Practices: Mobile Web.”
The relatively low sales figures – in comparison to overall impact – can also reflect the impact of many online stores not being fully open for mobile sales. “The worst thing retailers can do is neglect their on-the-go shoppers because they may have low initial intent to purchase on the mobile web,” Miller writes.
What do B2B customers want from a mobile site? The same shopping experience as B2C shoppers – a responsive design that travels from desktop to laptop to tablet to phone with consistent features. But with B2B shoppers, there’s an even stronger focus on finding products details, pricing, and help fast. Here are some areas to keep in mind:
- Speed – When it comes to page load times, faster is way better. For tips on testing and optimizing pages, see 5 Effective Ways to Speed Up Your Mobile Site.
- Personalization – Multi-tier business accounts allow merchants to tailor pricing and promotions to high volume customers, as well as offer wider shipping options. B2B shoppers want their price, not the amount you charge B2C shoppers.
- Product Search & Display – Quick order forms, SKU lookups, product visualizers, configuration tools, facets, and more can help guide shoppers to what they are looking for.
- Integrated Shipping Options – B2B customers don’t want to have to look up their account numbers.
- Request a Quote – B2B shoppers may want to get started with the research on their mobile device but may be happy to hear back from you with details later. This service can save both of you time.
- Customer Service – Prominently display options if they have questions. Be sure customers can tap text links to call or copy and paste the number to share with a colleague. If you have Live Chat on your website, be sure and include it in your mobile site.
- Design for Big Fingers – Make sure all buttons, links, and call-to-actions have the appropriate size and margin to prevent errors. Increase the padding around menu items and increase the size of form input fields to cut down on frustration.
Want to find out exactly what your customers would like? Ask them. Run a survey – with a prize – and call some of your most important accounts. They’ll be appreciative that you plan to serve them better when they are shopping on the go.
Keep in mind the downsides of not having a mobile-friendly site:
- SEO – Algorithms favor mobile-friendly sites, so your organic search results will suffer if your site isn’t responsive.
- Move On Momentum – If your site is too slow or too hard to navigate, customers will go to a competitor for research. And, most likely, to eventually buy.
- Reputation – Customers want to trust their vendors to keep up to date with the current business trends. If your site looks dated, they’ll think your products are too. Not good.
At Miva, we understand the importance of responsive design and the premium ecommerce experience.
Call a Miva solutions architect now at 800.608.6482 for more information on our robust ecommerce platform.
About The Author
Elisa Williams is a journalist and communications strategist who combines storytelling with solid research and analysis. A contributing author to the Miva Blog, Elisa has written for a wide array of consumer, business and technology publications, including Newsweek, Real Simple, Computer Life and Inc. Her marketing and content development work includes supporting technology companies that specialize in ecommerce, financial services and big data.