You have built a great product. It has all the features that, according to you, your customers need and desire. Yet, you end up with poor sales, meager profits, and a reputation of not being customer-centric. How did that happen?
One of the main reasons for this could be that you failed to deliver a winning product experience.
In the modern B2B world, customer experience is not just about the features you integrate into your products; it’s about how your customers interact with the product information, how they are able to make intelligent choices about your products, how you showcase your expertise in the form of great customer service, etc.
Today, B2B customers today seek more than just products; they seek a great product experience via meaningful, well-designed interfaces, and rich content. For eg., are you able to address customer queries as they navigate through your digital portfolio?
What is Product Experience?
The B2B buying experience is extremely complex, involving multiple levels of product interactions as well as a significantly longer customer journey. In the B2B context, product experience encompasses the entire journey a customer has with a product: from the time B2B customers seek out and find the product right for their needs to the time they evaluate its features, compare it with other products, seek help when faced with queries, make a purchasing decision, and finally use the product.
In contrast to customer experience which describes the impression customers have with a brand based on their interactions across multiple touchpoints, product experience deals with the perception customers have of a particular product – based on their engagement across the entire lifecycle. As the product develops and expands further, a fulfilling product experience ensures customers are happy with how the product evolves to meet their needs and helps them build a good impression of the brand.
Guiding customers through the process of search, onboarding, purchase, and on-going support is critical to the success of a great product experience; so is building a positive perception of your brand based on the engagement customers have with you.
Why Product Experience is important?
In an age where customers have thousands of products to choose from, empowering them to choose brand A over brand B goes beyond just building great product features. If B2B companies want their products to be successful with their audience, they need to ensure the customers’ experience with the product is directed, seamless, enjoyable, and satisfying. This can be done by offering a great product experience, which can in turn help companies in anticipating customer needs, resolving their queries, addressing their concerns, and personalizing features (and interactions). When a customer’s own experience with a product is good, it can lead to higher satisfaction, strengthened loyalty, better word-of-mouth marketing as well as stronger market reputation.
Today’s buyers are more informed than ever, using their own tools and resources to research and compare products and finally make a purchasing decision. What will help build a strong preference for a particular brand is their personal experience with the product itself. Therefore, if you want to accelerate your growth strategy and improve your customer experience, you need to start enriching your product experience. Right from understanding how your buyers look for product information, how they engage with your products, introducing new features (and patches), monitoring your products to detect issues, as well as seeking feedback to improve the overall customer experience and satisfaction.
Ways to enrich the product experience
In the B2B sector, the interactions customers, vendors, and partners have with companies is far more complex than in B2C. Companies need to analyze data of every interaction and every action that customers have and take with the brand. For a well-rounded product experience, companies need to embrace new-age analytics and machine learning. Here are some ways in which product experience can be enriched:
- Unearth customer insights: One of the first and most important ways to improve product experience is by using analytics to unearth customer insights. These include understanding customer needs and preferences, evaluating their buying behavior, mapping their journeys, building your product roadmaps as well as benchmarking your competitive position. Such data-driven insights can help form the foundation of your product merchandising and investments in content or other user experience components.
- Establish a trustworthy journey: A rich and curated product experience requires B2B companies to establish a trustworthy and efficient journey that goes beyond out-of-the-box catalog designs. They need to carefully plan and design the various elements of the user experience including product pages, product content, comparisons, recommendation engines, selection guides, search bar, add-to-cart, navigation, payment gateways, customer support, and more.
- Build on product content: Another critical element of a great product experience is offering relevant, consistent, and constantly updated product content. The right product content can not only provide all the details customers seek while browsing and searching, but it can also empower them to make quick and easy purchasing decisions. B2B companies need to leverage world-class product content expertise and apply scalable best practice treatments to create a winning content-centric product experience.
- Plan your digital merchandising: A great product experience also requires B2B companies to effectively plan their digital merchandising: from finalizing product assortment to product classification, supplier management to building marketing pages, identifying cross-sell and up-sell opportunities to planning on bundles and accessories and more. Companies also need to leverage technology to carry out pricing analytics to analyze the profitability of different price points, understand how pricing affects overall business, and optimize pricing strategy for long-term revenue.