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What they have in mind when researching...

  • I need product information of all potential vendors
  • What we need right now is basic information of all potential products
  • I’d like to drill down the questions to make sure the product is a good fit for this project
  • It would also be great if they have other company’s case study 
  • If there is an answer for ROI, that’s even better

With that in mind, they choose 2, 3 candidates and will reach out to them. They wouldn’t contact you before they choose you.

The most reliable source is company website

According to the survey conducted by a Japanese consulting firm, the most reliable source for BtoB business is considered to be company website. Catalogs are also considered to be another major source of information, just like sales/engineering.
*Source : Tribeck Brand Strategies, Inc. (2017)

So what is the ideal user experience for decision makers?

Finding the exact information without getting lost is important

Let’s say you are purchasing manager who is visiting potential vendor’s website. In order to find the information you need, what might you do? Many of you might answer “Use the search bar”.

Just like you as a consumer, who uses the search on (or the app) on a daily basis, you would search for information in the business environment as well. If the search experience is not smooth enough, you might not consider that product, or find other competitive products. Because that website didn’t provide you with the right information you needed.

That’s why the website that has advanced search functionality is so important for potential buyers.

What is a great search experience?

In one case study we collaborated with a global manufacturing company in order to improve the search experience for users visiting their website. Manufacturing, is defined as this company having:

  • Thousands, ten thousands of product lineups
  • Hundreds, even thousands of specification in 1 product
  • A multilingual website for global operations

So what is a “great search experience” on a website of this size? Let’s look at our client Pro-face’s (Schneider electric) website. There are 5 elements that we care about for search.


1: Unify the search experience across the platform

Manufacturing company have a lot of information and data, like;

  • Product information
  • Specifications
  • Catalogs
  • Operation manuals
  • Driver, software information
  • CAD data
  • Certificate of compliance
  • Documents for export

We think the search experience should be the same in any case. Search should not make the user feel like “Why is the way to search for this different than others?” “I don’t even know how to search what I need.” So unifying the search experience across the platform is so important.

2: Making the product comparison on search result

If making a comparison is available on the website, a buyer would feel more comprehensive about your product lineups. Meeting the buyer’s needs by providing a variety of information make it possible to move the business discussion forward.

making a comparison

3: Filtered search with faceted feature leads your customer to the exact information

Filtered search with a faceted feature doesn’t show the “Zero search result”. This way the user will not get lost in your website.

faceted search
faceted search

4: Advanced full-text search will allow the user to access more detailed information

What if the user needs more detailed information? That’s when full-text search feature comes in. Don’t make the user read all the details because it takes much time to go through, but let them search even in the full text of pdf documents or other digital information.

full-text search

5: Related information of the product should be linked with each other

Product information is valuable when related information is linked with each other. To achieve this goal, let’s link relevant information together. In this case, that means product information should be linked with operation manual, software updates, driver, and FAQ. This way the website can provide the user with a more enhanced experience.

Hope you like the article, and can see the benefits of providing a more enhanced user experience on your websites, by improving the search functionality.

(Photo by João Silas on Unsplash)

Kentaro Inoueの写真

この記事を書いた人 : Kentaro Inoue

Author : Kentaro Inoue

ANNAI Inc Nagaoka branch Manager who is in charge of site building. My favorite module is Rules and Flags!