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What the Consumerization of B2B Means for User Experience

Jesus Salcedo< Jesus Salcedo May 20, 2022

Seamless. Modern. Omnichannel. Customer-centric. These are words that only begin to characterize the best B2C customer experiences. B2B enterprise software, on the other hand, has historically been described as dull, tedious, and error prone.

Cumbersome workflows, pages inundated with too much information, confusing error messages, and lackluster user experiences are simply no longer acceptable in B2B. Enterprise software has come a long way – and we have heightened customer expectations to thank for that.

B2B customers and employees now expect the same experiences in their professional lives that they receive in their personal lives. The Amazon’s of the world have long been driving up customer expectations for intuitive user experiences; add a global pandemic and rapid digital acceleration to that equation, and B2B organizations are under more pressure than ever to deliver frictionless experiences.

Experts refer to this phenomenon as the consumerization of B2B – and its impacting everything from the B2B buying and selling journey to application development.

3 UX Trends that Emerged from the Consumerization of B2B

1. Designing for Progressive Disclosure

Today’s B2B software users need to be empowered to self-serve in a simple, intuitive manner. Software features and capabilities must be built to meet a range of unique user needs and behaviors.

However, presenting every feature or tool available to your users becomes much too burdensome. That’s where progressive disclosure comes in. Progressive disclosure is a UI pattern that helps you provide your users with the right features and capabilities for their moment of relevancy. This approach empowers your users to focus on the task at hand and discover additional features and functionality when the need arises.

2. Humanizing Language

One of the key lessons we can glean from the consumerization of B2B is that B2B is really just P2P – people to people. Whether you’re designing and selling B2C products, or B2B products, you’re always creating for people. That’s why humanizing language is so important. Enterprise software is notorious for sounding too robotic. Language from a machine just won’t cut it for your users. UI and UX must emulate human psychology.

3. Gamification

Gamification is not a new trend in user experience. In fact, the term itself was coined back in 2002 by a British computer programmer and later popularized in 2011 when it earned a spot on Gartner’s “Hype Cycle” list.  Gamification is all about designing your systems, processes, and principles to engage, motivate, and inspire your users. Gamification is a steadfast way to strengthen your connection with your audience.

UX Tips for Addressing the Consumerization of B2B

So, how can your organization approach user experience to address the consumerization of B2B? Here are some tips to keep top of mind as you design experiences.

Keep it simple, stupid

You’ve likely heard this phrase over and over – and for good reason. KISS, a design principle first used by the US Navy, illustrates that most systems work best if they are kept simple. This should be your number one goal when designing the experience.

Take a user-centered design approach

It is critical that your everyday clickers are the center of your solution. Don’t assume anything about your end users. Remember, the buyers of your software are not equal to the end users. User research is key to designing user-centric experiences.

Usability testing and discovery research are sure to help. Ideally you should be collecting feedback and customer insights at every step of the process. You must work to identify your users’ pains and design your solutions accordingly, in a way that makes sense to your users.

Rely on the principles of the double diamond

Remember, user experience is not a project, rather it is a long-term, iterative process informed by your customers and users and owned by your designers, researchers, and engineers.

The double diamond was first introduced by the British Design Council in 2005. Its two diamonds represent research and design – or the problem space and the solution space. The most important thing to remember is that your solutions should be designed specifically for your users’ problems.

Double Diamond Ux Model Illustrating The Consumerization of B2B User Experience
Think beyond the software

As you’re designing your user experiences, consider service design. The customer journey doesn’t begin and end with your software. Everything your customers experience outside the UI makes a difference. Whether they reach out to support, open a chat on your corporate website, or access training in your customer portal, you must consider your customer’s total experience. Then, be sure to arrange your people, infrastructure, and processes accordingly. User experience is a key facet of customer experience – but it is not the only one. Customer journey mapping is a great exercise to help step into your customers’ shoes and think more holistically.

Vendavo’s Approach to User Experience

At Vendavo, we’re always listening to what our users have to say about our products and services. They’re the ones who most often help us identify gaps and opportunities to help us improve and meet their ever-evolving needs.

When you invest in a Vendavo pricing or selling solution, we invest in YOU. We are committed to being your partner every step of the way. We design our solutions specific to our users’ needs. We’ve pioneered multiple incubator projects with strategic customers to solve very unique problems. Plus, we’ve built a customer research program designed to help us hear our everyday clickers’ perspectives and prioritize product enhancements. In other words, we’re here to serve.