It’s Time for the B2B Catalog to Reclaim its Respectable Place Online

Digital experience expectations are higher than ever and increasingly growing each year, yet according to Episerver’s 2019 Digital Experience report, almost a third (30%) of B2B marketers admit they deliver a poor digital experience.

We are seeing B2B buyers getting younger. Three-quarters of millennials are involved in — or even running — the decision-making process for B2B purchases for their organizations. This translates to a much larger percentage of online purchases, and to buyers who expect these transactions to be as convenient and reliable as the rest of their digitally-enhanced lives.

B2B brands have been slow to adopt user experience design as an important part in their marketing strategy, despite statistics that indicate its importance. A study from Forrester found that brands that prioritize customer experience outperform those who don’t on both stock price growth and total returns.

While B2B websites, in need of  sometimes extensive rebuilds, are often neglected, more and more B2B businesses are emphasizing their online catalogs as an opportunity to advance the customer experience and place products closer to the buyer’s hands. 

As we highlighted in 5 Reasons to Ditch your PDF Catalog… Sorta, your digital catalog is one of the easiest areas to uplevel the digital experience for your audience.

Yesterday’s digital catalogs were cumbersome, largely meant to replicate the tactile experience of flipping through a physical catalog. Features like page-flipping sound effects and zooming in/out were designed to transpose the physical catalog onto the computer monitor, but seem somewhat archaic in today’s digital-first world.  

Today’s digital catalog focuses less on physical replication and more on functional interaction. Page speed, content navigation, shareability, and connection to e-commerce. These are key considerations meant to maximize the experience and minimize steps to user task completion. For example, e-commerce integration is often an enormous friction point for users of yesterday’s B2B online catalogs. Today’s online catalog allows the user to add products found in a catalog directly to a shopping cart without moving off the catalog.

Part of Dirxion’s mission as digital catalog developers and experience designers requires us to bridge the gap between user needs and business goals and to move digital catalog technology forward. By doing so successfully, we help elevate the digital catalog medium into a contemporary marketing and sales channel, one worthy of new attention.

By paying attention to the customer’s interaction with digital catalogs, B2B marketers can elevate their companies’ customer experience to improve customer retention, referrals and eventually the bottom line. Because where there’s a brand providing a good catalog experience for clients, sales are sure to follow.