Buyers are more informed than ever before. Once, they needed your advice on which products or services to purchase. Now, they usually land at your store (online or brick-and-mortar) after conducting their own research. They know what products or services you offer, how they work, how they compare to alternatives, where to find those alternatives and more.
Nowadays, buyers don’t only want to invest in a product or service, they want to invest in a brand. So, in addition to you persuading them that your product or service is better than the rest, you need to persuade them that your brand is too.
And you achieve that with your customer service and experience.
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Buyers want their experience with your brand to be as friction-free and user-friendly as possible.
For example, if a B2C buyer is buying a desk for their home office, they want to use augmented reality to see what the item might look like in their own room. When they go to check out, they want a range of delivery options – such as home delivery, click and collect and reserve in-store.
If they happen to go into your store, they want the same friction-free, user-friendly experience as they received online. Think helpful, attentive staff and efficient in-store purchasing process. And if they chose home delivery, they want this same standard of experience – such as being able to track their order and the option of their flat-packed desk being assembled for them by your delivery team.
For a B2B buyer, that means offering support throughout their purchasing journey. When they come to you, make sure to give them answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
For example, they might be an engineer looking for a pump. When they visit your website or make an inquiry, they don't want to be instantly presented with your range of pumps and accessories. They want you to ask them what they're looking for (think features, potential benefits, the problems they're wanting to solve etc) and your recommendations tailored to that.
And even after they've made a purchase, your customers still want the same level of attention they received before they purchased something from you. Think personalised check-ins from your support team to see how they're getting on and relevant service/product suggestions.
The modern buying process: B2C vs B2B
In the previous discussion, we briefly touched upon two types of buyers - B2C and B2B.
The main difference between B2C and B2B buying is the reason for the purchase. For B2C, the sale tends to be more based on impulse and needs less rationale (from the buyer) so the process is shorter. For B2B, the reason to buy a product or service is commercial so the sale tends to have a longer consideration time (especially as the buyer needs to seek approval from upper management), more in-depth research and require more assistance from the seller.
However, regardless of what the reasons might be for the purchase, B2C and B2B buyers typically follow the same buying process.
- They identify their problem(s)
- They search for information to help them with that problem(s)
- They evaluate solutions based on several factors, such as price, product features and delivery
- They decide to make a purchase and if you can provide good service, low prices, great product/service features and various payment options (among other factors), you’ll have a head start
- They decide whether they want to do business again with you in the future. In other words, have you helped them well enough to facilitate customer loyalty?
We’ve written a blog on how to be selected during the B2B buying process where you can read about this in more detail but the general points also apply for the B2C process. Ultimately, it’s about knowing your customers inside and out – one step being knowing their buying process.
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