E-commerce

B2B Search best practices: 3 ways to increase the lifetime value of your buyers
facebooklinkedintwittermail

Today’s economic environment presents commerce companies with macro-level challenges ranging from recession fears to supply chain disruptions. In these challenging and rapidly changing times, staying ahead of the game is essential for manufacturers and distributors. Building customer loyalty and repeat business from high-value buyers is key to establishing a competitive advantage. But with 95% of executives reporting that their customers are changing faster than they can change their businesses, it’s more important than ever to invest in solutions that can predict customer behavior and help you stay ahead of the curve.

Accenture found that 92% of B2B purchases start with search. That means building a seamless online user experience is key to growing customer satisfaction and lifetime value – or else risk losing business to the competition. In this blog post, we’ll discuss three ways digital leaders can use data to optimize their site’s search engine functionality and create a delightful online buying experience. 

1. Use search queries to understand what buyers want

Industry research shows that 94% of B2B buyers research products online before making a purchase and 71% prefer not to interact with a salesperson, so it’s important to help your buyers find what they’re looking for quickly. To anticipate and better match your customers’ needs, you need to understand what they’re looking for. 

There are several ways to gather this data, such as through surveys, focus groups, search analytics, Google Analytics, and internal search logs. You can also analyze user behavior with conversion rate optimization tools to track how users interact with search results. For example, let’s say a large portion of your B2B customers are searching for a specific type of industrial equipment. By analyzing user behavior, you may discover that they are frequently clicking on search results for products with detailed specifications and technical drawings.

Knowing this, you can tailor your search results to prioritize results with this type of information, which gives buyers a better experience and can help increase AOV. This can be handled with machine learning technologies for commerce search. Dynamic re-ranking will promote relevant items from your product catalog based on customer buying behavior such as past purchases, clicks, and more. 

2. Boost important products in search results

With buyer expectations on the rise, personalization and convenience across the buying journey is becoming increasingly important to drive sales and sustain loyalty, McKinsey writes. One way to do this is to rank products that align with your business goals, such as promoting new items or items that are seasonal or in high inventory. For example, if you have a new line of safety equipment that you want to promote, merchandising these products in the search results will increase their visibility and make it more likely that they’ll be purchased.

You can also use an algorithm that prioritizes factors like margin, conversion rate, and inventory to help define which products are most important for your business. On the other hand, functionality for hiding or de-prioritizing products that are out of stock or have long shipping times can prevent frustration that could lead to an abandoned order. 

Additionally, in B2B sales, it’s important to consider promoting past purchases and tailor the search results to individual buyers to streamline their workflow and increase order value.

3. Design a performant search experience

Finally, your site search speed and performance is crucial to the success of your business. Akamai Technologies found a 100ms delay in page load time can result in a 7% loss in conversions for ecommerce sites. Imagine you’re a buyer trying to make a big purchase, the last thing you want is a slow and unresponsive search experience.

Akamai Technologies found a 100ms delay in page load time can result in a 7% loss in conversions for ecommerce sites.

Search is often underestimated. Custom-built options may seem like a good idea, but they often end up being slower, more prone to errors, and require constant maintenance that results in high OPEX costs. Furthermore, if your catalog has many products with complex specifications and attributes, a search solution that has real-time indexing capabilities is critical to accomplish speed at scale. When a single search experience can cost you decades of repeat orders, it’s important to consider implementing a flexible, high-speed API-first solution that fits into any composable tech stack. Additionally, features such as autocomplete and faceted search improve customer experience by driving faster results. 

By following these best practices, B2B distributors and manufacturers can create sustainable growth by solving unmet buyer needs, increasing their customer lifetime value. Advanced site search can make it easy to create a seamless buying experience that wins customer loyalty and repeat business. To learn more about becoming a digital leader in search, check out these resources or request a search audit from one of our experts.

About the authorElena Moravec

Elena Moravec

Director of Product Marketing & Strategy

Recommended Articles

Powered by Algolia AI Recommendations

12 Tips to Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rates
E-commerce

12 Tips to Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rates

Reshma Iyer

Reshma Iyer

Director of Product Marketing, Ecommerce
3 strategies for B2B ecommerce growth: key takeaways from B2B Online - Chicago
E-commerce

3 strategies for B2B ecommerce growth: key takeaways from B2B Online - Chicago

Elena Moravec

Elena Moravec

Director of Product Marketing & Strategy
How to optimize your ecommerce site search
E-commerce

How to optimize your ecommerce site search

Louise Vollaire

Louise Vollaire

Product Marketing Manager