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Why B2B Ecommerce Customer Experience Should Be the Same as a B2C Customer Experience

clock-iconApril 28, 2024

Business to consumer (B2C) companies have mastered the art of crafting seamless customer journeys, from user-friendly online stores to personalized marketing strategies. These positive experiences drive customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and ultimately, repeat business.

However, the B2B landscape often tells a different story. Historically, B2B customer experiences have lagged behind, characterized by complex sales processes, long sales cycles, and a lack of self-service options. This misalignment between the B2B and B2C customer journey map creates a critical gap in customer expectations.

B2B buyers expect B2C-like ease, personalization, and engagement. Failing to bridge this CX gap leads to lost sales, damaged reputation, and falling behind competitors.

This article explores how B2B customer experiences can mirror B2C best practices. We'll analyze key differences, B2B CX pain points, and how WebriQ's StackShift with AI bridges the gap to create stellar B2B experiences that drive loyalty and success.

The B2B Customer Journey Has Evolved


B2B customer expectations are evolving. Today's buyers crave the ease and personalization of B2C online shopping, demanding a similar experience for their business purchases.

Studies show that 89% of B2B buyers research online before making a purchase, highlighting the critical role of a user-friendly B2B ecommerce website. Additionally, 73% of B2B buyers expect a self-service option when researching and purchasing products. This highlights the growing demand for readily available information, intuitive interfaces, and self-service portals within the B2B landscape.

Furthermore, the B2B buying journey has become increasingly collaborative. Unlike the past where a single decision-maker held the reins, today's B2B purchases often involve multiple stakeholders with varying needs and technical expertise. This necessitates a more collaborative buying experience.

B2B companies need to cater to this shift by providing comprehensive content marketing, detailed specifications, and easy access to customer success resources throughout the entire buyer journey.

This evolution in B2B buying behavior presents a challenge, but also an opportunity. Companies that can adapt their marketing strategies and customer experience (CX) strategies to reflect the needs of today's tech-savvy, multi-stakeholder buying teams will gain a significant competitive edge.

By creating a seamless purchasing journey across various channels, from informative content marketing at the awareness stage to user-friendly mobile apps for on-the-go purchasing decisions, B2B companies can build stronger customer relationships and foster long-term partnerships.

Why B2B Customer Satisfaction Matters More Than Ever


B2B customer experience (CX) encompasses all interactions shaping brand perception, from initial awareness to post-purchase support. It rests on six key pillars:

  • Speed: B2B buyers value efficiency. They expect quick responses to inquiries, streamlined ordering processes, and readily available information.
  • Ease: User-friendly interfaces, intuitive navigation, and self-service options all contribute to a hassle-free buying experience.
  • Consistency: Customers expect consistent messaging and information across all channels, whether it's the website, phone support, or a customer portal.
  • Relevance: Personalization is key. By leveraging customer data, B2B companies can offer relevant product recommendations and targeted marketing content.
  • Transparency: Building trust is crucial. Transparent pricing, clear communication throughout the sales process, and real-time order updates foster positive customer relationships.
  • Personal Touch: While B2B transactions typically involve complex products and multiple decision-makers, a human element is still vital. Account managers who understand the client's business and can offer personalized solutions go a long way in building long-term partnerships.

Stellar B2B CX pays off. Gartner reports 86% of B2B buyers pay more for a better experience, leading to higher satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. Positive reviews and a strong NPS become marketing tools, attracting new customers and building brand reputation.

Conversely, a poor B2B CX can be devastating. In today's competitive landscape, businesses can't afford to overlook its importance.

The B2B CX Disconnect: Why It Happens


Despite the growing importance of CX, many B2B companies still struggle to deliver a seamless and positive customer experience. Common pain points include:

  • Complex Ordering Processes: B2B purchases often involve intricate product configurations and cumbersome order forms. This creates friction and frustration for B2B customers who crave a streamlined experience.
  • Slow Response Times: Delayed responses to inquiries, order confirmations, or technical issues can significantly hinder customer satisfaction in the B2B world. Timely communication is crucial.
  • Lack of Personalization: B2B interactions can feel impersonal, with generic marketing messages and a one-size-fits-all approach. Without leveraging customer data to personalize product recommendations or tailor marketing content, B2B companies miss opportunities to build stronger relationships.

This disconnect between B2B and B2C CX can be partly attributed to traditional B2B sales models. The focus on long-term relationships with key accounts may have overshadowed the importance of understanding individual customer journeys.

Complex product offerings and longer sales cycles in B2B compared to B2C also present challenges in implementing a B2C-like, self-service experience. Integrating existing systems with new technologies and adapting business practices to accommodate more customer-centric approaches requires careful planning and execution.

However, these challenges shouldn't be seen as insurmountable obstacles. By acknowledging the shortcomings in B2B CX and embracing innovative solutions, companies can bridge the gap and create a B2B customer experience that rivals the best B2C offerings.

Bridging the Gap: B2B CX with AI


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool poised to revolutionize B2B customer experience (CX). By leveraging AI capabilities, B2B companies can bridge the gap with B2C experiences and create a seamless, customer-centric journey.

Here's how AI can address the six pillars of a great B2B CX:

  • Speed: Imagine 24/7 customer support that never sleeps. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can answer basic inquiries, troubleshoot issues, and even schedule appointments, freeing up human agents for more complex tasks. Additionally, AI can automate repetitive tasks like order processing and data entry, significantly improving response times.
  • Ease: AI can personalize the B2B shopping experience. By analyzing customer data and purchase history, AI can recommend relevant products, simplify complex order forms, and even leverage features like voice search or image recognition to streamline product discovery.
  • Consistency: AI ensures consistent messaging and information across all touchpoints, whether it's the company website, email marketing campaigns, or customer portals. This creates a unified brand experience that builds trust and strengthens customer relationships.
  • Relevance: AI empowers B2B companies to anticipate customer needs and offer relevant solutions. By analyzing buying patterns and preferences, AI can personalize interactions with each customer, suggesting complementary products or offering targeted promotions.
  • Transparency: AI can improve transparency throughout the B2B buying process. Dynamic pricing tools powered by AI can provide clear and consistent pricing information, while real-time order status updates keep customers informed and engaged.
  • Personal Touch: While AI can't replace human interaction, it can personalize communication and enhance the customer experience. AI can analyze customer behavior to identify buying patterns and trigger personalized communication, such as birthday greetings or targeted promotions based on past purchases. This adds a human touch to the B2B experience, fostering stronger customer relationships.

Leveraging AI bridges the B2B/B2C CX gap, creating seamless buying journeys. Next, we'll explore how WebriQ's StackShift empowers businesses with AI to transform their B2B CX.

WebriQ's StackShift: The Foundation for Your Stellar B2B CX


At WebriQ, we understand the unique challenges of crafting a seamless B2B customer experience (CX). Unlike B2C platforms designed for individual shoppers, B2B ecommerce demands features that cater to intricate product configurations, customized pricing structures (like contract pricing), and the ability to manage customer groups and personalized portals. This is where WebriQ's StackShift comes in – a powerful B2B ecommerce platform designed to be the foundation for your exceptional customer journeys.

StackShift empowers you to bridge the gap between B2B and B2C customer experiences. Here's how:

User-Friendly Navigation and Self-Service Options:

Imagine a B2B platform that feels as intuitive and user-friendly as your favorite B2C online store. StackShift boasts a clean interface and intuitive navigation, allowing B2B buyers to easily find the products they need, access product information, and initiate purchases independently. This reduces reliance on account managers for basic tasks and fosters a sense of empowerment for your B2B customers.

Personalized Product Catalogs and Targeted Promotions:

StackShift goes beyond basic product listings. Its modular content management system empowers you to create custom-curated catalogs for different customer groups. This allows you to tailor product information, pricing, and promotions based on specific customer needs and buying behaviors. This level of personalization mirrors the curated experiences B2C shoppers have come to expect, fostering customer loyalty and driving sales within your B2B marketplace.

Seamless Integration with AI Solutions:

One of StackShift's greatest strengths is its open architecture with an API-first approach. This allows for seamless integration with various AI solutions, further enhancing your B2B CX capabilities. Imagine AI-powered chatbots providing 24/7 customer support, offering personalized product recommendations, or automating repetitive tasks like order status updates. By integrating AI with StackShift, you can create a B2B experience that rivals the efficiency and personalized touch of the best B2C platforms.

StackShift's API-first approach extends beyond AI. This flexibility allows you to integrate existing systems like your CRM or ERP, eliminating data silos and streamlining overall operations. This frees your team to focus on what truly matters – crafting a compelling customer journey that fosters long-term customer relationships and drives business growth.

In essence, WebriQ's StackShift provides the foundation you need to create a B2B customer experience that mirrors the best aspects of B2C online shopping. With user-friendly navigation, personalized product offerings, and the ability to seamlessly integrate with AI solutions, StackShift empowers you to bridge the CX gap and unlock the full potential of your B2B ecommerce strategy.

Bridging the B2B/B2C CX Gap: Real-World Examples

The gap between B2B and B2C customer experiences doesn't have to be a chasm. WebriQ's StackShift, with its robust features and seamless AI integration capabilities, empowers businesses to deliver B2C-like experiences within their B2B operations. Let's look at two real-world success stories:

Tailored B2B Ecommerce for Distributors: The Belwith Keeler Case Study


Belwith Keeler, a distributor, needed a B2B portal that could handle the complexities of their business. StackShift's MACH architecture (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) provided the perfect foundation. These are the main features of the B2B portal:

  • Private, invite-only portal
  • Managing over 6,700 SKUs and variations
  • Per-customer, per-product pricing and discounts
  • Features like "Shop by Collection"
  • Advanced search mirrored B2C experiences, streamlining the customer journey for Belwith Keeler's B2B buyers
  • StackShift's API-first approach allowed for seamless integration with Belwith Keeler's existing ERP system
  • Seamless Cloudinary media integration
  • Credit card/ACH payments, ensuring a smooth checkout process
  • Multiple shipping locations per customer shipping engine
  • ERP for invoicing, inventory and available credit line

Enhanced B2B Customer Experience for Wholesalers: The Jamplast Story

This 3D printer supply company, Jamplast, partnered with WebriQ to create a B2B portal for their wholesalers. StackShift's user-friendly interface provided a familiar B2C-like experience, complete with:

  • Private and by-invitation-only portal
  • Exceeding 100 SKUs with variations
  • Customer-specific and product-specific pricing and discountt schemes
  • Product catalog with organized categories and filtering options
  • A rich product page experience with visuals, descriptions, videos, reviews, and more.
  • RFQ Module
  • Customer account management & order fulfillment
  • Account order history
  • Seamless integration through API
  • Paytrace payment gateway
  • Shipping engine

These examples showcase how StackShift empowers B2B businesses to bridge the CX gap. By creating a platform that prioritizes user experience, personalization, and seamless integrations with AI solutions, StackShift paves the way for B2B customer experiences that rival the best in B2C.

Conclusion: Bridge the B2B CX Gap with StackShift


In today's competitive landscape, prioritizing business to business customer experience (CX) is no longer optional. B2B buyers expect a seamless customer journey, mirroring the personalized experiences they receive as individual consumers. This necessitates a shift from traditional B2B sales cycles to a customer-centric marketing strategy that leverages AI to personalize the buyer journey for your target audience.

WebriQ's StackShift platform empowers businesses to bridge the B2C experience gap in B2B commerce. With its user-friendly interface, robust features, and seamless AI integration capabilities, StackShift allows you to personalize product offerings, streamline the buying process, and gather valuable customer feedback to inform your customer engagement strategies.

Don't let outdated business practices hold you back. Explore how StackShift can transform your B2B ecommerce strategy and create a B2C-rivaling customer experience that fosters long-term customer loyalty and drives business growth.