Dave over at B2Blog brought this report to my attention, he's got a great point that much of the report could translate to improvements in B2B website sales. I really enjoy his comments on B2B websites and appreciate his technical insights.
While the original article is from a retailing prospective, these factors apply to the B2B world. Consider these facts in your website design:
Consumers will forgo low prices and brand-preference if they have a poor on-line experience:
65% of the 1,100 US Internet users surveyed would not buy from a poorly designed site. These findings were consistent even when it was the site of a favorite brand. Brand is nothing if you treat a customer badly.
30% of that same group reported site design was more important than a great product. Everyone has competitors, if your product is considered "the same" as someone else, then this could be a huge factor.
Very low prices only persuaded 4% to shop on a poorly designed site. It seems even being positioned for low price didn't change many opinions. People buy for more than just price, it's the experience of the purchase as it contributes to their desired solution that makes the most difference.
In addition, 30% stopped buying from their favorite offline store if the on-line experience was poor. I've seen similar numbers for experiences with on-line technical support verse offline support, customers don't differentiate between the web experience and those with your live staff-- to them it's all a experience with your company.
"Higher income levels appear to be less tolerant of poor site design," sites the original article:
More than 70% of those earning US$ 75k per year would not shop a poorly designed site and may even stop purchasing offline based on the on-line experience. Again, customers don't differentiate between on-line and offline, it's all dealing with your company.
This compares with the same response for 60% of those earning less than US$ 50k on the same study. It seems the more affluent your customer (even into levels of management) the less time they have for a poor experience with your organization.
Statistics were included about age differences, that 75% of those between 25 and 34 said site usability is a very or extremely important factor for on-line/offline purchases, compared with 64% of those aged 45 to 54. This may or may not be applicable in the B2B world, I'd be interested in your findings.
This article continues to compare these findings with those of other reports looking at similar factors. The overall consistencies were staggering, you don't need a slick site as much as one easy for visitors to find exactly what they want.
One participant described their preference for sites designed "by people who want to get you the information that you need." Most respondents preferred a polished, professional look that creates a trustworthy feel (not overly slick.)