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Keith Karlick Shares How to Build Engaging B2B Experiences at Make it Big 2021

Krystin Gresham
Content Marketing Manager

December 16, 2021

With the rise of millennial buyers, more B2B businesses are looking to create B2C-like buying experiences

At BigCommerce’s 2021 Make it Big Conference, BigCommerce Director of Channel Marketing, Caroline Lim, sat down with Overdose Strategy Director, Keith Karlick, to discuss how to build a digital B2B strategy.

Keith Karlick’s Key Takeaways at Make it Big

In this Make it Big 2021 session, Keith revealed how businesses can build a best-in-class ecommerce experience that encompasses leading B2C design trends and complex B2B solutions — all in one. Keith also offers real-life examples of how brands like Allure Bridals are delivering eye-catching B2B experiences.

Here are a few key takeaways from Keith Karlick’s Make it Big session:

Caroline Lim: When looking at technology, what features are the most worthy for B2B websites from B2C?

Keith Karlick: “B2C is all about the speed to purchase. That’s often times a key measurement: How much time does it take to get a customer through the site and to check out? With B2B, you already have a captured audience. So, you know they’re going to be there often and regularly. So I think that really, it is about getting out of the way and giving the information that they need as quickly as possible. 

“So thinking about having robust search — maybe it’s by SKU or part number or other things a B2B shopper is going to need. ‘I need this thing and it has a SKU of X, and I want it added to my cart right now.’ We do a lot of quick ordering, where you might be able to do a quick search and add multiple items to cart in one button on one page. So instead of having to go to 10 different PDP pages, you’re able to go to one and then add it all there. 

“Combined order history — where, if you think about a brand that has offline ordering, maybe through a Salesforce or their customer service team, the online or the web experience needs to be able to show online and offline orders in that single screen for a proper account history, as well as being able to pivot information around invoices, POs, multiple orders, multiple shipments, and things like that. 

“Then there are some B2C things at play. Customers still shop on mobile, performance is king and driving understanding around your product through content, how-to information, specifications, and things like that continues to be important.”

STREAM KEITH KARLICK’S FULL SESSION TODAY FOR EVEN MORE INSIGHTS ON HOW B2B COMPANIES CAN BUILD B2C-LIKE EXPERIENCES.

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CL: What advice do you have for both B2B and B2C businesses when it comes down to designing an eye-catching store?

KK: “There’s really no excuse for ugly sites at this point. Front-end technologies are to a place where we can implement anything that design teams can dream up. So I think that that’s the important thing. 

“There are some best practices for ecommerce that have been established by how many thousands of merchants out there that are selling at very high scale. And those best practices, from a UX standpoint, are really around wayfinding and helping customers find their way through what sometimes can be a complicated selling process. 

“I think of it from two components. [One] is that the job of good user experience is to make it incredibly easy to perform the actions you need on the website. In ecommerce, that’s typically buying something. While also, in the world where shopping is becoming much more of a commodity, brands really need to stand out and create engagement, create attraction with their customers. 

“So that idea of having a really strong point of view or brand perception on your website is how you’re going to create that relationship with your customer.”

CL: Sixty percent of B2B tech buyers in 2021 are millennials. What do B2B brands need to know about the way millennial buyers shop online, and how they can adapt those strategies to meet the expectations of this persona?

KK: “Millennials start at 1980 in most cases, and so that puts a lot of those folks in their late 30s, early 40s. So they are now mid-career. And so when we think about a millennial B2B buyer, I don’t really think about a 22 year old person where this is their first job, first professional job, at all. These folks have been doing this for a very long time. So I think that their expectations around technology are the same that they have in their personal lives. 

“And that kind of goes back to the difference — there may not be as much of a difference between B2C and B2B, other than some key functionality, but the expectations around experiences are largely the same. Because if you’re born in 1980 or if you’re born in 1980 to ’85, you’ve come through the large technology adoption. But at that point, everybody has a cell phone, they’re all using Amazon, everybody’s purchasing ecommerce in their daily lives, and B2B would be no exception to that.”

“There may not be as much of a difference between B2C and B2B…but the expectations around experiences are largely the same.” — Keith Karlick

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