How to Increase Your B2B Conversion Rate in Ecommerce and Online Sales

How to Increase Your B2B Conversion Rate in Ecommerce and Online Sales

This is a special guest post from Michael Noble, CEO at Apruve.

As a wholesaler or distributor, you know there is potential for big business. But you also know that you need a robust B2B ecommerce website to keep up with fast-evolving customer expectations.

Call it the Amazon Effect. Customers now want fast. And they want direct. They expect a streamlined operation, tailored and customized, with no resistance between search and checkout.

At the same time, B2B marketing has different priorities and requirements compared to B2C ecommerce. You’re going to need the industry’s best practices to survive.

Is Shopify Plus equally suitable for B2B ecommerce?

The answer is, “Yes, but …”

Yes, Shopify Plus offers your B2B customers all the B2C conveniences they’ve come to expect. Yes, they also offer a wholesale ecommerce channel and have a large selection of apps that can be used to increase B2B conversion rate.

But … you need to have a good understanding of B2B conversion itself before you can put those advantages to work. Not all conversion rates are created equally, so learning to select the right features for your B2B buyers is a must.

Let’s dismiss the common misconceptions and begin with a quick look at B2B conversion rate optimization, then see how Shopify Plus’ ecosystem and features can address those priorities.

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One-on-one guidance for B2B ecommerce growth …

Shopify Plus hosts ecommerce’s largest ecosystem of Merchant Success Managers, ecommerce Gurus, and award-winning Agency Partners.

Those are just a few of the reasons — along with a dedicated Wholesale Channel for B2B sales — our merchants are growing 126% year over year.


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B2B Conversion Rate Optimization at a Glance

Optimizing for B2B is both similar and different from B2C optimization because the sales cycle is typically longer, more stakeholders are involved, deal structures are more complex, and transactions are of higher value.

As a result, more resources are required — particularly more human resources — and more emphasis is placed on customer retention. This means that lead quality, customer lifecycle, and customer lifetime value are important considerations.

Account-based marketing (ABM) is an increasingly critical B2B strategy, requiring the ability to segment leads and communicate to stakeholders differently based on roles and preferences, like showing different products or pricing on your website.

ABM is a cornerstone of B2B conversion rate optimization

Personalization can be used for product recommendations, upselling and cross-selling to drive sales and increase average order value.

Content marketing is a proven way to move prospects through the customer journey and build trust along the way. Paired with ABM, it gives you the opportunity to cultivate relationships with individual stakeholders by delivering personalized content.

In addition, visual content, such as high-quality product images and demo videos, are essential in communicating the quality and features of your products.

For payment and transactions, customers demand options aside from credit and debit cards for convenience, security and better cash flow management.

Last but not least, while the younger generation of B2B buyers wants the speed and convenience of a “self-service” ecommerce site, they also demand access to omnichannel customer support whenever they need it.

Shopify Plus Features to Optimize Your B2B Conversion Rate

With these key strategies for optimizing B2B ecommerce conversion in mind, let's look at 12 essential Shopify Plus features that will help take your online store to the next level:

1. Password Protected Storefronts

For ABM and personalization to work, customers need to login to access specific content and information such as account-specific pricing, a past purchases list and customized product recommendations.

Shopify Plus’ wholesale ecommerce channel has this feature built in, so you can enable dynamic, tiered and custom pricing to optimize order volume.

To increase their B2B conversion rate, Elephant Pants uses a password-protected storefront

2. Visual Content

Visual content is critical in driving ecommerce conversion.

Having quality images are essential; however, you also need to be mindful of their file size so they don't impact load time and affect conversion rate.

Resizing every single product photo manually is time-consuming and tedious. Luckily, Shopify Plus has a handy image resizer to help you generate resized images that are ready for upload to your ecommerce store.

In addition, you can use the Video Gallery app to add videos from YouTube or Vimeo to your product pages to enhance customer experience.

3. Purchase Orders

B2B buyers may not always want to check out with credit or debit cards. Instead, some prefer to use a purchase order.

You can manage incoming and pending orders by having your customer fill out Shopify Plus' purchase order template. The system will help track outstanding orders and accounts payable for your business.

4. Product Recommendations, Upselling and Cross-selling

Offering relevant product recommendations is a powerful way to boost conversion rate and increase order value.

Segmentify is a personalized product recommendation app that leverages the power of artificial intelligence to showcase the most relevant products based on a visitor's profile, preferences, and browsing behaviors.

Segmentify helps increase B2B conversion rate by using artificial intelligence to offer shoppers other products they might be interested in.

5. Referral Marketing

Turning your existing customers into advocates with referral marketing is a great way to generate high-quality leads. In fact, 69% of B2B companies with referral programs report that they're closing their deals faster.

GrowSumo is a referral marketing app that helps you manage affiliate, advocate and/or ambassador programs with customizable rewards, activity-based email communications, automated payout, and analytics.

6. Mobile App

Mobile commerce has picked up a lot of steam in the past couple years. It accounts for nearly 33% of all ecommerce and 16% of visits to B2B ecommerce sites.

More B2B buyers are growing comfortable with doing research and placing orders on their mobile devices.

While all Shopify Plus themes are mobile responsive, you can up your mobile game by turning your online store into an app to make it even easier for customers to shop and place their orders.

Plobal helps turn your Shopify Plus store into a mobile app quickly and easily to help you sell more on mobile.

7. Live Chat

B2B buyers now expect real-time support, and live chat has become the norm.

In addition to answering questions, live chat gives you the opportunity to build trust, educate your customers and enhance their experience.

Tawk.to is a live chat app for Shopify Plus that helps sellers connect with customers in real-time to improve customer support and increase conversion rate.

8. Reorder From Past Purchases

Most B2B buyers aren't looking for a browsing experience. Placing an order is just one thing on their long to-do list, and they want to get it done as painlessly as possible.

Customer Reorder is an app that allows customers to reorder from a list of past purchases quickly and easily. This will help you streamline customer experience, increase sales and improve customer retention.

9. SEO

All the hard work in optimizing your online store is for naught if your customers can't find you.

To generate high-quality leads, you need to get found by optimizing your ecommerce site for search engines. An SEO app, such as SEO Manager, can help improve your on-page SEO to attract the right prospects to your website.

Or, you can follow the advice of SEO consultant Jacob McMillen with what — in B2B ecommerce examples — is often no more than a “few key improvements.” In the case of B2B chocolate manufacturer Chocomize, that meant three steps:

“The first thing was getting meta tags for their high priority pages in order. … The second thing we did was improve and expand page content. We turned the top pages into in-depth presentations that channeled visitors to specific product categories. Finally, we added internal links to help channel the domain's authority to the top pages we wanted to rank.”

10. Payment Options

Less than 10% of all B2B transactions are made with credit cards.

Offering only credit and debit card as payment options could sabotage your conversion rate.

56% of B2B buyers want to see a variety of payment options at checkout. With Shopify Plus, you can accept payment methods such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay and even BitCoin to make it easy for your customers to buy from you.

In addition, there are apps you can install to offer even more choices to your customers:

  • Extended credit: The Apruve app allows you to offer customers a business account and extend payment terms with its automated B2B credit management capabilities.
  • Payment plans: Partial.ly Payment Plans make it easy to offer custom, flexible payment plans with multiple payment options to your customers.
  • Recurring orders: Setting up recurring orders with ReCharge is a convenient way to help customers ensure that they don't run out of stock while improving your cash flow.
  • Subscriptions: This app by PayWhirl allows buyers to create and manage custom subscriptions as well as pre-order items.

11. Content Marketing

74% of companies indicate that content marketing is increasing their lead quality and quantity.

Publishing relevant and valuable content is a tried-and-true strategy for B2B marketers to drive high-quality traffic, build trust and increase conversion by educating their customers.

It's important that your blog and ecommerce store shares the same domain so they can benefit from each other's “SEO juice.”

Thankfully, Shopify Plus has a blogging feature already built into the platform, so you can start publishing right away.

If you already have a blog, you can use BlogFeeder to import all your existing posts to your new online store with just a few clicks.

12. Retargeting

Most B2B buyers do extensive research online before placing an order.

That means most visitors who come to your site won't make a purchase during their first visit.

You can use retargeting ads to get in front of these high-quality leads and stay top of mind.

ROI Hunter Easy Retargeting helps you increase conversion rate with dynamic remarketing using Google Adwords, while RetargetApp helps you set up Facebook retargeting campaigns in no time.

Retargeting apps make custom Facebook ads to up your B2B conversion rate and bring customers back to your site.

Giving B2B Conversion Rates the B2C Love

Much as customers have grown to expect more from ecommerce, so, too, have businesses. What kind of shopping experience do your B2B buyers deserve?

Conversion is the name of the game, but at its heart are the key principles any modern consumer values: security, customization, an experience tailored just for them.

B2B ecommerce cannot survive unless it begins to offer the buying feel of B2C shopping. Fail to provide that, and be sure your customers will look elsewhere for a vendor that can.

Chat with Shopify Plus

One-on-one guidance for B2B ecommerce growth …

Shopify Plus hosts ecommerce’s largest ecosystem of Merchant Success Managers, ecommerce Gurus, and award-winning Agency Partners.

Those are just a few of the reasons — along with a dedicated Wholesale Channel for B2B sales — our merchants are growing 126% year over year.


Get started today

About the Author

Michael Noble is the CEO of Apruve, a company out to change the way businesses buy from one another online. Apruve lets Shopify merchants extend risk-free, revolving lines of credit to their business buyers. Apruve merchants get paid for orders in 24 hours, but their customers get 30 or more to pay open invoices. Learn more at Apruve.com.

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