According to a recent study, mobile devices drive over 40% of B2B ecommerce sales for leading organizations. That’s a large number – but this is only the beginning. According to Forbes, B2B ecommerce will grow to $6.7 trillion by 2020, with most sales being mobile.
These findings may surprise many of our readers. After all, the B2B marketplace is traditionally desktop-oriented. What’s changing?
According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), evolving B2C habits are creating a paradigm in B2B ecommerce, too. According to BCG “today’s B2B buyers look for the same digital experience they encounter as consumers”.
What does it mean?
First, it means that more B2B buyers want a straightforward, simple, transparent purchase process. Second, it means that more people are making purchases online using mobile devices.
Given these facts, you need to deliver more value, faster, and more effectively than your competition by creating mobile-first B2B experiences. We’ll help by explaining why every modern B2B store needs a B2B ecommerce mobile app and give you best practices of developing a B2B ecommerce mobile app. You can also read the experience of De Lange Unique Wines, a wine expert in special wines, about their apps for B2B and B2C here.
Reason 1: B2B Ecommerce Mobile Apps Improve Efficiency
B2B buyers don’t necessarily want the absolute best price. Instead, they want their buying experience to be fast and easy.
Think of it this way. Your target audience is often in store, on the road, or at a busy office. They don’t shop for fun, like consumers do. Nor do they want to invest a lot of time placing (repeat) orders. Putting an intuitive B2B ecommerce mobile app in their hands pushes you to the forefront of their attention.
B2B mobile app features like in-store barcode scanners, saved purchase info, push notifications with in stock products, post-payments and other time-savers and attention-grabbers will make the life of B2B buyers easier.
Instead of having to bounce around between emails and your site, customers have all the info they need for repeat purchases in one B2B mobile app.
Reason 2: B2B Mobile Apps Lift Repeat Purchases and Loyalty
Retaining customers is critical to B2B success. Compared to B2C, where customer churn is part and parcel of doing business, B2B brands depend on regular purchases to survive and thrive.
To this end, you may be glad to know that people return 2x faster to a mobile app within 30 days, than they do to a mobile website. Plus they even spend 27% more per session.
That’s because with a mobile app, customers are reminded of your brand and app constantly. Everytime they check their phone (which is up to 200 times a day!), they will see your app logo on their home screen. Push notifications also drive retention and are an effective way to remind B2B buyers of your brand and new in-stock products.
Reason 3: Improve Cart Abandonment with your B2B Mobile App
A B2B business’s greatest opponent isn’t necessarily a competitor. It’s the conversion friction they get on their mobile website.
In over 37 studies, researchers found that 70% of shopping carts are abandoned prior to a purchase being completed. There are many reasons for this, but many of them center around poor experiences like long checkout forms or poorly designed stores.
A native app or PWA (progressive web app) can help you in this department. In our experience, optimizing checkouts can easily save a B2B brand 20% of the time customers spend in their carts filling out long, complex forms. This, in turn, leads to more conversions (a 300% improvement vs mobile websites).
Reason 4: The ROI of an App is Much Higher for a B2B Brand
For a B2C vendor, it’s harder to win back the return on investment.
B2B buyers, on the other hand, make purchases more often and for more volume than their B2C counterparts. This means that a B2B ecommerce mobile app tends to pay for itself quickly, with very little chance of it being net-negative.
This is especially true if you leave your app to a brand like JMango360. Our set-up costs are minimal, the monthly fee is small, and you get a dedicated app marketing team to help you succeed; with conditions like these, it’s almost impossible to fail.
Two important trends
B2B mobile commerce is at the center of two important trends. The first is a desire for simple, transparent purchase processes. The second is a drive to use mobile devices as they become increasingly popular.
These two trends are very important to the modern B2B buyer. Since B2B mobile ecommerce apps can help deliver on both fronts – ease of use and quality mobile experience – they’re a key value-add for modern B2B businesses. Since modern B2B buyers prioritize value over costs, getting a B2B mobile app can do a tremendous amount for your business.
Now, what can you do with all this information? When done right, an app like this can improve the buying process and improve initial and recurrent sales. However, the rules of the game are different in the B2B space when compared to B2C.
B2B customers need different features, design elements, and content to get the most optimal mobile experience. To this end, you need to understand the best practices of developing a B2B ecommerce mobile app. Below, we list some of these to guide and inform your development and marketing processes.
Best Practice: Optimizing for Repeat Purchases
As you already know, modern buyers don’t prioritize price. The product itself isn’t key, either. According to a Google study, 86% of B2B buyers see little difference between competing ones.
What buyers do look for is to get as much value as they can. They’re not shopping for fun, so they look for things like quality support and communication; an easy buying process; features that help manage recurring sales over time.
In this department, a B2B ecommerce mobile app can help a great deal by making the buying process easier and supporting repeat purchases. Here are some specific features that reduce buying process friction.
- Easy re-ordering. This feature makes it easy for customers to repeat a past purchase instantly, saving buyers time.
- A bar code scanner. Some brands’ buyers work in-store most of the time. Giving them an easy way to add stockroom or store products to their online cart is another way to get more returning customers.
- Saved purchase templates. Many businesses (e.g. franchises, offices) need the same equipment regularly. Creating templates helps support that.
- Push messages. We’ll talk about these in more detail, but helpful ones (like “running out of coffee”?) are a welcome addition.
Quick order list: Another great feature for B2B ecommerce apps is the quick order list. After adding and ordering products from their wishlists, the ordered products stay within the wishlist, making it easy to order the same products again and again.
Best Practice: Optimize the Checkout Process
A tremendous amount of business is lost to abandoned shopping carts. In fact, a B2B business’s greatest online challenge isn’t competition. It’s the conversion friction they get on their mobile website.
Fortunately, creating better checkout experiences isn’t difficult provided you have a quality app.
- 1-click checkouts. With this feature, prior purchase information is saved and re-used to accelerate orders. This streamlines the buying process, eliminating hurdles and making it easier (and more desirable) to order from your brand.
- Saved shopping carts. There’s nothing worse than putting something in a cart and having it disappear, as most of us can attest. This is especially true in B2B, where a buyer can take days or weeks to choose the many items they need. Saved shopping carts prevent this.
- Payment gateways. The more payment methods you accept, the easier it is for customers to complete their purchase. This is especially relevant in B2B, where post-payment options are important to many customers.
Remember: B2B ecommerce involves large transactions, high order quantities, and advanced customization. The more you can do to make buyers’ lives easier, the more business you’re going to get.
Best Practice: Create Better User Experiences
- Native apps and PWAs. Modern users prefer native apps and PWAs. Having one or both of these assets is the first step to outstanding customer experiences.
- Your app needs to load quickly. The buying flow also needs to be fast, intuitive, and easy to understand. Both the app and the shopping process itself should require as little time and effort as possible.
- Website and app data needs to be synced; text and images both need to appeal to customers; the app itself needs quality design elements to appeal to users. To learn more about the importance of content in mobile user experiences, visit this page.
- The easier and more fun your app is to use, the more business you’ll end up getting. Remember that user experiences and value, not price, differentiate you from the competition.
Best Practice: Send Relevant Push Messages
Push messages are one of the best ways to market anything, period. They are opened 70% more often than e-mails; they give apps a 171% engagement boost, meaning with push messages users return to the app 171% quicker than without. Perhaps most importantly, they can bring user retention all the way up to 65%.
Put differently, push messages are an essential B2B ecommerce tool. However, it’s still important to understand how you can use push messages optimally.
- First, it’s important to choose a mobile app platform where you and your team have the freedom to send out push messages yourself. Instead of depending on an expensive agency when creating a custom made app.
- These can improve conversions and get users’ attention more easily than just text.
- The weekdays on which you send messages out can and will affect your conversions, so plan accordingly.
- Some words are more effective than others at getting opens and conversions. Learn and use them.
To learn more about push messages, you may want to check out our article on push notifications in ecommerce.
Mobile experiences are more important than ever in B2B. Not only is most traffic now mobile; the people signing off on purchasing decisions are now young mostly-millenials who expect high-level mobile experiences.
JMango360 specializes in creating best-in-class B2B ecommerce mobile apps. They’ve developed and marketed PWA’s and native apps for over 1,000 brands. One of their customers is De Lange Unique Wines, which operates in the B2B and the B2C market and launched two app for each market.
De Lange Unique Wines imports a wide selection of special wines. They serve the ‘cream of the crop’ when it comes to the restaurant industry. The passionate team of De Lange Unique Wines selects exclusive wineries that respect nature and environment. Read their experience with their ecommerce mobille app here.
If you’d like to learn about creating your own app and want support on Mobile App Marketing to drive in-app sales, plan a free strategy call to discuss your needs and goals with JMango360.