The answer to this question determines not only the level of adoption of your digital channel but also its business performance.
As consumers, we are used to and expect openness when shopping online. We can enter any store and expect to see product information and prices and be able to go through checkout.
That is not always the case for B2B shoppers. Too many B2B shops are hiding behind a Great Chinese Wall as if the main goal is to keep customers out instead of luring them in.
Users are required to log in before even being able to see products, or they can see products but not prices, or they can see both products and prices but cannot buy :-(.
Yes, I know that there are (or at least, were) good reasons for asking customers to sign a contract and pass a credit check, before starting to do business with it.
But, do these reasons sound a bit outdated now?
Do we now have better tools at our disposal to welcome our new prospects and customers and fully open the door to your online shop that you have spent so much money and time developing? And, can we do it without increasing business risk?
I strongly believe that B2B merchants can and should greatly improve customer experience by welcoming new customers with the information they need to get to know the brand and its products and be able to buy during the first visit.
Merchants may need to put some limitations in place for first-time buyers. For example,
👉 limit the assortment of products available to new customers and do not allow them to buy customized or expensive products.
👉 They can limit available payment methods and don’t allow buying on credit.
The second option is to require your customers to self-register before buying and implement some checks to minimize fraud: require a business email address, automatically check the business registration number, and implement API integration with credit bureaus.
After a successful first order, you perform additional checks on the new customer to enable the full functionality.
Traditionally, most B2B businesses don’t display prices online, while some only show prices to logged-in customers. Companies rationalize the reasons for not disclosing prices online:
- we don’t want our competitors to know,
- prices vary by customer,
- prices fluctuate constantly,
- personalized products/services have special prices, etc.
These are legitimate reasons in almost all cases. However, not displaying prices goes against customers’ needs and thus creates a 👎negative shopping experience.
Revealing the price on your e-commerce website is a way to gain visitors’ trust. They consider companies that present this essential information to be authentic and direct.
Transactions are more likely to occur when people feel informed about your offers and trust your organization. Displaying prices can be an excellent practice to increase conversion rates.
There are multiple ways to find a middle ground.
👉 Even if you can’t view the exact prices, display price examples, a range, or a “from”. Many B2B products and services are complex. The price structure varies for each customer depending on countless situations. Still, this is no excuse not to post price information. Estimates can often appease prospects during the search phase.
👉 Display default prices and encourage customers to register to receive discounts.
👉 Only show prices for basic, commonly available products and ask customers to register or contact sales for complex and unique products.
Keep the door to your B2B online store as open as possible to gain customers’ trust and grow your business.