Biz Tips: Why B2B Mobile Experiences Matter

Biz Tips: Why B2B Mobile Experiences Matter

Biz Tip:

Why B2B Mobile Experiences Matter

I’m sure you’ve heard about the disruptive forces of mobile in manufacturing and distribution companies, it’s a hot topic and for good reason. The importance of mobile in B2B eCommerce continues to grow and many companies continue to get it wrong. Unfortunately, many manufacturers and distributors think that developing a responsive site is enough.

Recently I wrote about The Top 7 Points of Failure in B2B Commerce. Only 5% of B2B eCommerce initiatives within manufacturing and distribution are actually meeting their goals and it’s largely because of a misunderstanding of B2B eCommerce. One of the failures I mentioned was that companies are stuck in a website mentality.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers and distributors view their website merely as a point of sale site for potential customers and aren’t realizing the transformational nature of eCommerce to their business as a whole. While websites can be a valuable tool for providing customers an easy way to make purchases, seeing them only as virtual cash registers can undercut the ROI of the commerce initiative itself. When it comes time to develop a mobile experience, the problems become exponentially worse. Even when organizations develop commerce experiences that incorporate more than a shopping cart, they often think that mobile responsivity is enough.

Customers are demanding robust mobile experiences, which puts the pressure on many mid-sized B2B companies. Luckily, developing a feature-rich mobile site has become a much more affordable endeavor than it was in the past. By embracing a fully capable mobile eCommerce experience, manufacturers and distributors can give customers the experience they desire, and capitalize on some fairly massive productivity gains as well.

The Customer Experience

If the customer is always right then the initial perception of your mobile eCommerce site should be your first priority. I like what Blake Morgan explained in her Forbes article: the perception your customers have of your brand is defined by their customer experience. To me, this means that a mobile site must be robust – and so much more than responsive.

Customers need to identify the brand, on the spot, and have a smooth transaction process – but the organization also has to discover value beyond the transaction to really drive strong ROI for their eCommerce system. Functionality customers expect from their B2C experiences (like list management and quick re-ordering) needs to live alongside efficiency boosters like real-time access to historical transaction information, contracts, and customized catalogs.

Productivity and Efficiency Benefits

The mobile experience has to be fully integrated with backend systems, so anyone in the field (link to field service tech blog) can have the information they need at their fingertips, without having to call the office, flip through print catalogs, or sign in and search within multiple portals.

Transaction history is only a small piece of the information that can be gained from a mobile site. Analytics and customer feedback can also be valuable tools for indicating how customers are using the mobile application. A robust B2B eCommerce native app should provide at a minimum detailed product information, purchasing options, shipping, and exchanges and returns information for manufacturers and distributors.

Out-of-the-Box Mobile Capability

Manufacturers and distributors can deliver a powerful mobile presence to customers without making a huge investment. Customizable native apps that contain the majority of core B2B eCommerce capabilities take the cost-prohibitive exclusivity of singular design out of the equation. User-friendly tools and sophisticated analytical data gathering on mobile sites create new opportunities to increase sales and enhance the customer experience by suggesting unique promotions, offering timely warranty and service options, and providing other add-on revenue possibilities.

B2B commerce includes a number of complex roles that operate in the field, from service technicians to CSR’s to salespeople. For that reason, the B2B mobile experience has to be user-friendly but also has to provide a robust capability that integrates seamlessly with backend systems.

A powerful mobile experience does contribute to the overall brand perception. Done well, it can do even more than that for manufacturers and distributors. In fact, it can transform how companies do business by accelerating productivity and efficiency throughout the B2B commerce buying journey.

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