Mobile Commerce Apps in B2B: Why Native is Best

By
Mandy Movahhed
April 3, 2018

As more manufacturers and wholesale distributors make eCommerce a priority, convenient online shopping experiences are also being offered in the B2B realm. B2B eCommerce is becoming ubiquitous across every industry––from gift & homewares, to sporting goods, to food and beverage. Some businesses, however, are taking things a step further. A rapidly growing segment of eCommerce that reflects the “anytime, anywhere” habits of today’s buyers, the mobile commerce app is allowing customers to order online from their smartphones and tablets.   Mobile commerce apps are the next frontier for companies who’ve prioritized B2B eCommerce. As buyers grow accustomed to making B2B purchases online and increasingly make a habit of shopping on their mobile devices in their consumer lives, having a strong mobile commerce app––one that not only allows customers to place orders whenever they like, but also allows brands to build a direct line of communication to their buyers––is going to be a key differentiator. The mobile commerce app has irrevocably changed the way we search, browse, watch, read, travel, communicate, and buy. It has also proven true time and time again, that what catches on in B2C soon takes off in B2B as well. Mobile commerce apps are here to stay, and manufacturers and distributors are preparing for change.

A Native Mobile Commerce App vs. Mobile Web: An Important Distinctione

Whether or not customers will adopt your mobile commerce app is most significantly impacted by the user experience you’re able to provide. A mobile commerce experience must be designed specifically for use on smaller screens while delivering both function and performance. This is where the distinction between native mobile commerce applications and mobile web experiences comes into play. A “mobile web” experience generally starts with an existing website designed for a desktop computer, and then shrinking it down to fit on a mobile device screen. Anyone who’s had to fill out tiny form fields or navigate a resized version of a desktop website can probably relate to the downsides of this approach. In the mobile-optimized web buying experience, the buyer will also need to have Internet access, leaving the user experience subject to any interruptions in connectivity. Server load times can also drastically affect navigation speed and completion times when adding items to the cart or checking out. A native mobile commerce app, on the other hand, is designed with the mobile experience in mind, and it leads to a different approach on how to deal with content, removing visual clutter and displaying content in the most intuitive way possible for mobile users––even offline. The preference for native mobile applications is widespread, particularly as more and more retailers are implementing native mobile commerce apps for their B2C customers.

3 Reasons Why a Mobile Commerce App (And Not a Mobile Website) is Preferred in B2B

While mobile commerce apps are increasing in popularity for consumers and business buyers alike, there are a few reasons that native mobile commerce apps are particularly suited for B2B buyers.

1. Performance really matters. 

When a B2B buyer places an order from their supplier on a mobile device, it needs to work. It’s also important that the user experience is positive all around, with fast page loads and accurate order confirmations. If the buyer has interruptions in their connectivity, you cannot guarantee a positive experience or an accurately placed order. This can be the difference between getting the order or losing it to your competitor. 

2. Buyers are often without internet access. 

Mobile commerce is meant to be convenient, allowing the buyer to place orders anytime, anywhere, from any device. Whether it’s spotty Internet access in the store or that their iPad only has has wifi access, don’t give your buyers a reason not to buy from you.

3. The high-frequency ordering workflow.

Many B2B buyers prefer to take an order shelf-side as they take stock. A native mobile commerce app can utilize the mobile device’s camera as a barcode scanner, allowing your buyer to quickly place an order whenever the need arises. To provide an exceptional mobile commerce experience for your customers, investing in a native mobile commerce app in lieu of a mobile web experience is critical. For information on Handshake’s native mobile commerce app for B2B buyers, contact us today at info@handshake.com.