Not all business-to-business (B2B) websites are created equal. In this article, we’ll focus on and explore best practices in B2B website design and development, as well as share some impactful design examples. In addition, we’ll take you through the key strategic components that can help you build a B2B website that meets your practical everyday needs, engages customers, and delivers tangible business results.
What is a B2B Website?
Simply put, a B2B website promotes or sells products, services, and solutions from one business to other businesses. In this respect, it is distinct from a website selling products to the general consumer market, or websites operating solely in the public sector selling only to government organisations.
B2B web design often includes an ecommerce platform to facilitate purchasing transactions between businesses and customers. This might be from one business to another, or it might include manufacturers, retailers or distributors. Marketplace aggregators (like industry vertical B2B portals or procurement exchanges) selling products, services, or information to other businesses are also relevant here as portals which form part of a modern ecommerce platform.
The overall market size is significant - by 2027, global B2B ecommerce on B2B websites is forecast to reach $20.9 trillion, representing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 17.5% during the forecast period (2020-2027), according to Grand View Research.
How is a B2B Website Different From a B2C Website?
While both kinds of websites are in the business of selling products and services, B2B website design should be structured and laid out quite differently. Design trends and ecommerce innovations may be mirrored in both settings, however, the needs of the B2B buyer can be quite different.
In the B2B space, sales cycles are longer as compared with B2C. This means B2B websites will often place more focus on educating their audiences rather than hammering home urgency to buy. More informative elements should include compelling and rational copy positioning, in-depth case studies and B2B customer testimonials, and deeper product specifications. Additionally, rather than simply compelling a prospect to fill their shopping cart and buy, a B2B website should place greater importance on encouraging the site visitor to request a demo or book a virtual meeting to learn more about the product or service on offer.
Finally, B2C websites will almost always list and feature product pricing front and centre. B2B enterprises, on the other hand, more often foster a range of customer relationships which result in tiered, customised, or negotiable per deal pricing. Therefore, you are less likely to see detailed pricing on B2B websites and the content will generally be more focused on the value of the overall solution, with emphasis placed on making contact to discuss individual deals on a case by case basis.
B2B and B2C Website Design Examples
Following are some examples and differences in design between B2B and B2C websites built on Liferay DXP that provides the foundation for enterprise websites.
B2B Website Example: MacDon
MacDon, a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, implemented Liferay DXP to upgrade its dealer portal to be more mobile- and user-friendly, and to build a new website and self-service portal for its subsidiary, Westward Parts, to boost sales. Working more closely with 1,000+ dealers, the company has since increased online transactions by 50% while saving IT resources as well as providing greater functionality and a better user experience for its ecosystem of dealers.
B2C Website Example: SkyTV
Here’s an example of a redesigned B2C website from SkyTV, a New Zealand digital broadcaster and telecom provider. Note that here in a B2C setting, the business opted for a more emotive, clean, and consumer-friendly design with a modern look and feel. Results have included a 140% increase in customer self-service relieving pressure on the business. Customer cart acquisition has also increased to 7%, while auto scaling features allow for a faster time to market with development updates and content releases able to happen 1-2 times per day, instead of once every three weeks.
E-Gov Website Example: City Of Burbank
For something a little different, in this example a public sector organisation, City of Burbank, created a new public-facing citizen website to reflect a modern digital identity, better educate visitors and constituents, and reduce customer phone calls with a self-service solution. The organisation has since experienced a decrease in incoming calls, increased citizen reach, and elicited great feedback from users.
B2B Website Design Best Practices
Like any effective piece of digital communication, a B2B website should always be designed in a customer- or audience-centric manner, built around the needs of visitors from the home page onwards. Here are some top B2B web design best practices to keep in mind:
- Research - Use Google Analytics on your existing site to assess traffic data and understand which pages are performing best, so you can eliminate or improve underperforming pages. Use Search Console to resolve technical errors. Engage in competitor research to help you differentiate your business within the field.
- Strategy - Create a clear value proposition for your business or solution built around the needs of your customer, and place it front and centre on your website. Adopt a keyword strategy that identifies the correct keywords for your category / industry and include them across your site content, URLs, and page names.
- Planning - Build a sitemap that aligns with your keyword strategy and your buyer’s journey with the content they are looking for. Keep your navigation options simple and intuitive so the user does not get overwhelmed with options. Adopt an agile mindset and launch your new B2B website with a minimum viable product (MVP) you can add to over time with new iterations.
- Design - Complete your site wireframe and copy / content before you begin designing so there is a solid template to guide your B2B website design. Focus web design efforts on the home page, as it’s often the first and most important page on your site for potential customers and new visitors. The home page is where your value proposition should be made clear, along with a compelling hero image and a place to feature exciting products if relevant. Ensure your design is also optimised for mobile devices.
- Optimisation - Provide multiple conversion points and calls to action (CTAs) across your B2B site and home page, rather than simply relying on a general contact us page. This should be specific, whether that’s “request pricing”, “book a demo”, and so on. Keep your site relevant on search engines using organic search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. Again, prioritise your home page for SEO and keyword density, but ensure you create unique meta titles and meta descriptions for each page. Headline and body copy should also be optimised to target keywords.
Delivering a B2B Website with Liferay DXP
The expectations of B2B buyers have been significantly influenced by their B2C experiences across all industries. Therefore, it’s imperative B2B companies reflect these trends in their B2B web design to drive a competitive advantage.
Many B2B website projects need to cater for managing the customer experience over multiple channels. To scale these experiences effectively, a headless architecture and content management system (CMS) are integral. Read this e-book on the topic to learn more!
Liferay DXP is well suited for helping to create visually appealing, compelling, engaging, and profitable B2B websites because the solution helps to connect your existing systems and processes, in addition to prioritising and boosting your customers’ personalised buying experience.
Request a demo today and discover how Liferay DXP can work with your current technology and organisational structure to meet your unique goals.