If you’ve ever had a poor experience using a website, you know just how annoying it can be. Whether it’s a complicated order form you have to fill out or a confusing navigation system that left you without a clue of where to find what you’re looking for, these types of situations are often more than enough to drive away visitors from a website.
In fact, 88% of users are much less likely to return to an online store after a poor user experience, so the vast majority of prospective customers are lost with little chance of ever getting back.
That’s especially relevant in the B2B industry, where the customers are typically more sophisticated and want fast, reliable, and convenient solutions to their problems.
But even though most business owners understand just how vital it really is and at least have a grasp of the differences of user interface vs. user experience, many aren’t sure how to improve it or where to start.
So, to help answer some of the most pressing questions you might have, let’s look at how you can improve the UX of your B2B website and what are some of the best practices you could follow.
Main Problems With B2B UX
The unique nature of how many B2B businesses function means that the user experience is impacted in significant ways as well. Many B2B client onboarding processes involve multiple decision-makers, and often, the people who end up using the website or the software solution are different from those who decided to buy it.
What’s more, if a lot of old clients already use the current website design, and thus they may be resistant to change because they are used to the existing layout, even if it’s not very convenient.
That’s why, when faced with such a complicated process like overhauling the entire user experience, many companies become hesitant. Not only because of the resources and time it would require, but also because they fear that the changes won’t even make their customer base happy.
And yet, even though many factors can logically explain why B2B websites often have poor UX designs, that’s not an excuse for not striving to improve it.
Visitor conversions to leads can be as much as 400% higher on sits with excellent user experience, so no matter how complicated the process is, it can completely transform the future of the business and can even play a vital role in whether the company can excel in its market.
How to Improve the User Experience
B2B user expectations are evolving, especially during the past years, and the gap between B2C and B2B is rapidly shrinking. Today, B2B buyer journeys are becoming more and more similar to B2C processes, as the buyers expect to be informed of their options and sold on the best solution for their needs.
Therefore, the UX development processes need to draw from the best practices used in the B2C world as well.
But how does that look in practice? Well, to answer that, let’s look at some useful tips that you can start applying as soon as today.
If you’d look at some of the most impactful branding statistics of recent years, you’d quickly discover a pattern:
People want consistency from the brands that they interact with.
Whenever your site visitor becomes confused or unclear about what action you want them to take, you are well on your way to losing that prospective customer forever.
As a brand, you must have a core message and mission that is clearly visible in all of your communications, as well as the way your site is organized, and the way that people interact with it.
Think about what you want your website to represent and what actions you want your audience to take, and then design the entire interface based on the answers that you come up with.
Today, you have more possibilities than ever to design and customize your site. Still, at the same time, every distraction or unnecessary elements take away from the effectiveness of what you are trying to achieve.
Many companies focus on things like sourcing domain names that cost thousands of dollars, hoping that it will somehow help them better represent their brand online.
However, in reality, even the cheapest domain names can be just as impactful if you take the time figuring out what your company is about and how you can design your brand and the user experience around that concept.
Website errors are one of the biggest turnoffs for even the most eager website customers. Even though it’s not a very specific part of the user experience since you can’t just fix a problem that you don’t know exists, designing your user experience in a way that gets in front of potential problems can go a long way in keeping your B2B audiences happy.
Make sure that you thoroughly test your website and eliminate any redundant features. That way, you will have fewer areas to monitor and can streamline the user experience much more effectively.
At the same time, you must make sure that your users don’t make costly errors when filling out the information, too.
Even something as seemingly simple as displaying form field names inside the fill-out box can be a nuisance because once you start typing, the purpose of the box is no longer visible.
You should also develop a process for guiding users that encounter an error, which will happen from time to time, no matter how much you try to avoid it.
And when an error does occur, make sure that you have a clear and to-the-point error page that tells the user what happened, what they can do next, and how to reach out if they feel like that’s necessary.
Make It Easy to Purchase
In the end, the only things that you should care about are 1) ensuring that your users are happy and 2) getting them to make a purchase.
That’s why the primary focus of your UX design efforts should be figuring out the smoothest path from stumbling upon your site to successfully completing an order.
Now, the specifics of how you make that happen will depend on your audience, your sales funnel, your goals, and a plethora of other factors. Still, you should keep this ultimate goal in mind when making your decisions as it will ultimately determine your success.
The good news is that site functionality and ease-of-use correlate with improved conversions, which means that if your users are happy, you are usually going to be pleased with the results.
Even minor details such as adding a coupon code field to your order forms can amount to significant improvements, especially if you try to look for ways to make your site better every single day.