Everything that’s wrong with your B2B e-commerce checkout, and how to fix it

By Louis Carbonnier, co-founder and President of Hokodo where he leads the product strategy of the company’s B2B Buy Now, Pay Later solution.

  • 3 weeks ago Posted in

Earlier this year, Hokodo, in association with the B2B eCommerce Association, OroCommerce and Greenwood Consulting published their inaugural report on the e-commerce habits and expectations of B2B buyers. The report featured data collected from a survey of 500 buyers from businesses across the UK and EU, who shared their thoughts about how suppliers could improve their customer service, checkout experience and payment processes in order to boost loyalty. 

The findings? Only 2% of B2B buyers said that they face no issues at checkout at all. This suggests that buyers generally have very low expectations of what their suppliers are able to deliver. In turn, low customer expectations can lead to a reduced sense of loyalty, meaning that many merchants risk losing customers to a more reliable supplier. 

The chances are that your B2B e-commerce checkout falls into the 98% that customers are having difficulty with. So, we’ll go step-by-step through the most significant issues raised by survey respondents, why they’re driving customers away and what you can do to improve your store’s experience. 

The biggest issues facing B2B buyers

Poor user experience

Respondents to Hokodo’s survey reported a variety of challenges at checkout. A staggering 55% of buyers said that they struggled with user experience (UX) issues at the checkout, which relate to the speed and complexity of the checkout process. B2B buyers expect a streamlined online experience equivalent to that which they get from e-commerce purchases in their personal lives, but are instead asked to fill out lengthy forms on slow websites that are prone to crashing. This frustration is resulting in your customers looking elsewhere. 

No access to payment terms 

The report also found that payment terms are a non-negotiable requirement for more than 8 out of 10 B2B buyers, as a staggering 83% of respondents said that they will abandon an e-commerce purchase if no payment terms are offered at checkout. This shows that merchants and marketplaces that are failing to offer payment terms are missing out on swathes of potential buyers. Similarly, 86% of buyers surveyed agree that access to payment terms is an important consideration when choosing a vendor or supplier. In fact, access to payment terms was placed in the top 3 most important things B2B buyers look for when choosing a supplier, alongside quality of product and delivery speed. 

Lack of information and real-time support 

A number of respondents also cited issues around transparency and support when shopping online. 44% said that B2B sellers need to be more up-front about shipping costs and other fees at checkout, having been met by a number of surprising additional charges at checkout. 40% said that they’ve experienced issues around a lack of real-time product availability. 43% also said that customer support needs improvement. Just like consumers, B2B buyers often have questions about the product, delivery or payment that they require support for. 

Improve your checkout in 3 steps

The result of these issues? Losing customers. B2B buyers aren’t afraid to abandon purchases in favour of the competition. In fact, 83% have abandoned a B2B purchase in the last year for a variety of reasons including poor UX (55%) and unsuitable settlement methods (31%). It’s essential to iron out your checkout issues in order to stop your customers from going elsewhere. 

Streamline your user experience

Revisit and review your e-commerce checkout. Is there anything you can do to make it faster, easier or more efficient? Have you tested the checkout process to identify buyer pain points and problems? Solutions could include allowing customers to store data for a faster checkout experience next time, removing unnecessary questions from forms or taking measures to speed up your website by optimising images or limiting your website’s HTTP requests. 

Consider embedded finance solutions

The report shows that B2B buyers are crying out for payment terms. If you haven’t already adopted an embedded finance solution to offer these to your clients, you’re missing a trick - and could be losing out on a number of potential customers. Integrating seamless trade credit options into your B2B e-commerce experience is easy, too, with a trusted partner. Find out what your customers want - this could vary from 30, 60 or 90 day payment terms, to instalments or trade accounts. Payment terms provide benefits to the seller, too, with embedded solutions available that allow you to get paid up-front and in full while your customer still benefits from access to trade credit. 

Keep your website up-to-date

The findings of the report have shown us that very few checkouts are exceeding the expectations of B2B buyers. So, it’s essential to recognise these pain points and implement changes into your platform. Include information around additional fees and shipping costs at multiple touchpoints across your platform, from product pages to your website’s footer. If you’re currently relying on manual real-time product updates, consider integrating an AI tool that takes the weight off your shoulders - your customers will thank you for it when they’re not left disappointed at checkout. Finally, improve your customer support. This could be through reducing the time that a shopper is left waiting for a response, monitoring the support email more regularly or introducing an automated system that is able to respond to basic requests on your behalf. 

Although lots of B2B shoppers have been disappointed with their checkout experience in recent years, there is hope. Listening to your customers' pain points is a great way to work out where you can improve, and valuable data like this provides a comprehensive roadmap toward bettering your platform, boosting customer loyalty and growing your business. 

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