What the Ideal Omnichannel eCommerce & B2B Buying Experience Looks Like

By
Johnny Marx
December 4, 2015

When it comes to the topic of eCommerce today, it’s hard not to mention the word “omnichannel.” Omnichannel is an approach to sales that aims to provide a seamless customer experience across multiple touch points, whether they are making purchases in person or online from a desktop or mobile device. But what does an ideal omnichannel eCommerce experience look like? The answer to this question can be found when considering the subtle difference between the term “omnichannel” and another term often used interchangeably––multichannel. While “multichannel” commerce refers simply to having more than one channel through which a customer can make a purchase, omnichannel refers to a state of seamlessness among all touch points. For instance, an omnichannel customer should be able to use a desktop computer to check inventory on a company’s website and then purchase the item later from a smartphone or tablet. The reason why omnichannel customers are more valuable (i.e. why they spend more) isn’t necessarily because they impulsively decide to make a purchase whenever they find themselves on an eCommerce site or in the store. It is because the omnichannel experience can easily adapt to each customer’s buying preferences and needs at any point in time. This is proving true in B2C, and as B2B eCommerce and B2B mobile commerce both take off, it will also separate the winners from the losers in B2B sales as well. Let’s take a look at some of the high expectations of today’s omnichannel customers in both B2C and B2B.

Omnichannel eCommerce & The Ideal Buying Experience

1. An intuitive mobile experience:

Having a mobile-first experience that makes it easy to navigate and use your mobile eCommerce site is critical. Mobile is becoming an ever more important channel. According to MarketLive, mobile eCommerce traffic increased by 269% in the first quarter of 2015. However, cart abandonment rates are high, and they’re often due to a poor user experience or convoluted checkout processes. One of the keys to providing a seamless omnichannel experience is making sure that you can offer a buying experience optimized for mobile.

2. Easy access to order history:

Making a customers’ order history available wherever he or she plans to make a purchase is also an important component of the omnichannel experience. In a B2B scenario, a certain customer’s order history should be able to be easily accessed by their field sales rep, or by the customer online––both on desktop and mobile. This allows for not only increased visibility on the part of the customer no matter what channel they’re dealing with, but also the ability to provide consistent customer service across all channels.

3. Cross-sell/upsell based on preferences and past orders:

According to Accenture, 73% of online B2B organizations expect their eCommerce platforms to be able to support product cross-sell and upsell opportunities. eCommerce giants like Amazon make use of this kind of functionality by curating and suggesting products related to products that customers have purchased previously. If, for instance, a customer buys a certain product in-store (in the case of B2C) or in person with a sales rep (in the case of B2B), new product suggestions should be able to be made to them online in accordance with that in-person sale.

Concluding Thoughts

According to Accenture, “sellers are increasingly driven to invest in omnichannel to meet customer expectations….74% of North American and European respondents chose ‘meeting customer expectations’ as their top driver for investment in omni-channel initiatives.” Indeed, brands in both B2B and B2C are racing to keep up with their customers’ desire for a seamless, transparent, personalized buying experience in-person and online to stay competitive. Questions about omnichannel eCommerce, B2B eCommerce, or what you can do to keep up? Let us know in the comments below.