by Ty Hardison

Strategies for B2B ecommerce checkout

Streamlining your checkout process can help drive conversions on your ecommerce site.

As you design your ecommerce site, you have decisions to make at every turn. Should you include customer reviews? If so, should they appear on the same page as the product description? What kinds of product images should you include? The list could go on forever. As you make your way to the end of your design, to the bottom of your sales funnel, the decisions start to hold more weight, as they could make or break a sale. Finally, the stakes reach their peak when you hit the checkout stage. With more than two-thirds of ecommerce shopping carts abandoned without a purchase being made, fine tuning your checkout process can be a major difference maker in salvaging your site's conversion rate.

To drive conversion on your B2B ecommerce site your checkout process must anticipate the wishes of your potential customers, responding to their needs before any friction arises. To help maximize your conversion rate, here are a few ways you can optimize the checkout process on your B2B ecommerce site:

Self-service

One of the most simple, but effective, mantras you can have when designing your ecommerce platform is to make things as simple as you can for the customers. While having an involved sales process can help buyers with complicated specifications find the right solution for their business, it can also add unnecessary hassle for customers ready to make a purchase right away. In the B2C market, to speed up the buying process, vendors offer their customers the option to check out as a guest before taking the time to set up a full account. While this has proven to be successful at the B2C level, it is not always realistic for B2B vendors.

Unlike with B2C products, B2B pricing can vary greatly depending on the requirements of a customer. In addition to being unable to provide accurate pricing models, guest checkout systems effectively make pricing options public.

Instead of guest checkout, a better B2B ecommerce practice appears to be the use of a self-service strategy. Self-service is all about giving your customers tools outside of the purchase funnel that make their job easier. These can include a detailed "My Account" page or portal in which they can review their order history, status of current and scheduled orders, invoices, reorder options and contract terms. Another aspect of some self-service sites is PunchOut, or RoundTrip ordering, a method that  provides buyers a seamless connection between your ecommerce system and their ERP system. By offering PunchOut compatibility, B2B wholesalers give their customers a more intuitive and easier buying process, likely boosting conversions. 

Repeat ordering

Sometimes, however, customers with unique buyer profiles require being guided through a more involved sales process. After you have worked with them to establish a contract and work out the order that best serves their needs, you will both benefit if they are able to log back in and replenish the order with minimal effort on the part of either party. To do this, the highest converting ecommerce platforms allow for repeat ordering.

While it might seem as simple as allowing a user to log in and place the same order again, a streamlined repeat ordering process eliminates the hassle of having to enter payment and shipping details again. While this is easier for the customer, it can pose a significant challenge to vendors, as they need a way to store this payment data securely. Whether your clients require recurring billing or repeat payment functionality, a B2B payments processor like Vantage can collect and store their payment data using hosted or client side encryption options combined with tokenization. These secure methods can help reduce your PCI scope, making it faster, easier and less expensive to meet quarterly and annual PCI compliance requirements.

For more information on how to best design your B2B ecommerce checkout process, contact Vantage today.

by Ty Hardison

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