B2B Usability Testing and Why it is Different
Business to Business (B2B) websites need to possess all the features and benefits of Business to Consumer (B2C) sites but with slightly different consideration and emphasis built in for the business user. So clear architecture, interesting and engaging content, compelling and useful features, ease of use and navigation and good offers and communication of product details and benefits all need to be present and functioning at a high level. and that is where usability testing can assist you.
But B2B sites also need to support business use in other, important ways.
- B2B sites need to help users through long and sometimes complex buying processes where what is on offer often doesn’t exactly match the buyers’ needs and might need modification or customisation is some degree.
- Your B2B site might well have to convey complicated technical information in an simple and understandable way to potential buyers who are not always experts. And it has to sell to them at the same time!
- The site will also need to generate sales leads for your sales team to follow up and develop.
- And it has to be a support and resource for your existing customers to ask questions, solve problems and generally interact and provide feedback and advice.
This will probably tell you that there are some significant differences between B2B and B2C sites. Here are some of the issues which could affect your usability testing of a B2B site.
- The buyer and user will often be different people within an organisation: this is especially significant for a couple of major reasons – firstly it might not always be that easy to get through to the end user to test their experience of the site and secondly the end-users will often be highly specialised, technical people whose time is scarce and whom it might be difficult to persuade or incentivise to undergo time-consuming tests.
- Customisation of your product: businesses will often purchase off-the-peg products but then customise them for their own use so testing precise elements of your programme or system might not always be that straightforward.
- Users will often need training in your software in order to participate in any testing. This is simply due to the fact that most organisational systems will differ in some fundamental way from the one you are testing. It can be beneficial to build in some element of training into the testing process so that the user learns how to use the system and then tests how well it meets their needs or how easy and transparent usage is.
- The nature of many B2B sites and software makes some forms of testing extremely difficult – A/B testing for example is not going to go down well where the user has to duplicate and operate an entire working system in order to do the comparative test.
Having said all that, all is not lost for B2B testing!
If you are looking to test a B2B site or software contact us today on +44(0)800 0246 247, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with, and finding solutions to, these sorts of problems.