How to Attract Millennial Buyers to Your B2B eCommerce Store
The face of the B2B buyer is changing, and that change means new opportunities for B2B companies who sell online.
Millennials (the demographic born between 1981 and 1996) currently represent the largest generation in today’s workforce, and nearly a third of them claim that they are the sole decision-maker for their company’s purchases.
According to Google, millennials comprised nearly half of all B2B buyers in 2014, and a study by Merit found that 73 percent of millennials are involved in purchasing products or services for their company.
Whereas previous generations wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to a sales rep, tech-savvy millennials prefer digital channels instead. Having grown up with technology interspersed into virtually every aspect of their lives, buying online is second nature to them, and as such, they are redefining the traditional understanding of B2B sales.
Younger buyers are no strangers to eCommerce — online shopping has always been a standard part of their personal shopping experience as consumers. As such, they have expectations concerning their B2B buying experience. They want speed, accessibility, and information that is readily available, detailed and engaging.
Are you selling coffee beans to that hip local coffee shop downtown? Or what about that trendy online retailer who only buys from select distributors? If your B2B business sells online (or you are planning to), you can’t afford not to focus on this up-and-coming buying demographic.
What You Need to Know to Make Your B2B eCommerce Store Millennial-Friendly
If your B2B eCommerce portal is not easy to navigate, informative and engaging, many millennial buyers will walk away in favour of a faster and easier solution.
Here are six of the key features and functionality younger B2B buyers are looking for in your storefront:
1. Responsive, mobile-friendly site with easy navigation
Millennials use mobile for almost everything — whether a smartphone or a tablet — and they will be less likely to trust your online B2B store if it is difficult to navigate and find what they are looking for; if it looks outdated; or if it has features that aren’t working. Ensure your eCommerce site is (a) clean and attractive; (b) responsive and mobile-friendly on any device; and (c) easy to navigate. Otherwise, you may find it challenging to keep your new younger B2B buyers on your eCommerce site, let alone have them complete a purchase. And remember to check the links in your online B2B storefront as well to ensure they are working so they don’t end up at a 404 error page!
2. Personalised buying experience
Personalisation is the process of suggesting content that is tailored to the buyer’s preferences, thus making a product more relevant to the user. A personalised experience is important to millennials when purchasing online because it allows for a quicker buying experience. With the B2B Wave eCommerce platform, you can personalise the customer buying experience by featuring specific product recommendations on your storefront’s customer homepage, or by suggesting products in their shopping cart.
3. Detailed product information and images
Millennials are research-intensive, often spending a great deal of time searching out information before buying. For this reason, it’s vital to offer a full, transparent product catalog in your B2B store featuring clean, precise product descriptions as well as multiple product images (especially images that show the product in use). This will give your younger buyers everything they need to make a purchasing decision in an easy-to-digest format and without them having to look elsewhere.
4. Fast and easy checkout process
Millennials are accustomed to lightning quick technology much more so than previous generations. And because they spend a great deal of time researching before buying online, once they do add products to their shopping cart, they expect the checkout process to be as fast and seamless as possible in your B2B eCommerce store. Abandoned shopping carts can be a death sentence for many online stores — don’t let yours be one of them. With the B2B Wave eCommerce platform, your online checkout process is straightforward and quick, yet highly customisable and simple in design, thereby reducing the potential for checkout frustration.
5. Flexible payment options
Younger online buyers favour flexible payment and purchasing options when purchasing online. With the B2B Wave eCommerce platform, you can offer multiple payment options, including accepting online or offline payments. You can also accept payments with PayPal, Stripe, Square or Authorize.net, and invoicing is easy as well with our native QuickBooks Online, Xero, Fortnox and other integrations. Offering these types of flexible payment options with your online B2B eCommerce store further reduces the risk of losing these important millennial buyers due to checkout difficulties.
6. Quick order messaging
Unlike generations before them, your millennial buyers demand faster customer service when buying from your online B2B store, especially with regard to post-order transparency. They expect to receive communication updates from you about their order throughout the entire process, such as confirmation that their order has been received, that it has been shipped, and when they can expect to receive it. They also want to be able to quickly and easily send messages about their order if they have questions. The B2B Wave eCommerce platform makes exchanging order-related messages with your younger buyers or updating them on their order status or shipping costs quick, easy and stress-free.
Big generation. Bigger buying power.
Millennials are driving big changes in the B2B world: they are one of the largest generations in today’s workforce and they hold immense buying power. But that’s no reason to look at them as a bad thing. To market and sell to younger B2B buyers successfully, you just need to understand a little about their purchasing process and preferences, and how to cater to them effectively with the smart features and functionality in your online storefront they value most.
The good news is that upping your B2B eCommerce experience to ensure your online portal attracts these younger buyers will introduce you to a whole new market as well as keep your business relevant and competitive.