B2B commerce is undergoing incredible change due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a sector that very much relies on in-person interactions to seal the deal, business models are now shifting to prioritize digital engagement.
Indeed, one key finding from a study by McKinsey was that B2B companies now see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.
This swift move to digital requires additional shifts in strategy — no doubt. And that was the topic of conversation during a recent panel discussion where industry experts pointed to the significant transformation happening in B2B commerce and outlined strategies for success. The panel, which was sponsored by Adobe, left attendees with the following four key takeaways.
1. MAKE THE BUYING EXPERIENCE EASIER
Buyers are looking for safe ways to buy — this much is obvious. B2B companies should be evaluating their eCommerce sites to ensure they are creating superior experiences for their buyers. They want convenient, quick-click ways to gather information, such as accurate inventory status.
Shannon Hane, senior product marketing manager at Adobe and one of the panelists, shared an example.
“I have a chemical manufacturer who is using real-time inventory reporting on their site to make their customers feel very confident that they have the product in stock,” she said.
Fulfillment now requires new delivery options. Consider adding delivery automation, such as curbside pickup, buy online/pickup in store (BOPIS), touchless, and contact free services.
“We have one customer who put in place geofencing so that they are automatically notified when that customer is coming into the parking lot so that they can be ready to go, and it is a smooth, fast service,” she said. “So there are folks that are really innovating around the touchless piece.”
If you haven’t already, assess your site experience and add contact-free order fulfillment.
2. COMMERCE IS MORE THAN JUST THE PURCHASE
Make product information pages and site search work for you. Now is the time to be examining and revamping your product experience pages. Some buyers may not be able to order through a website because they are restricted — for example, certain healthcare buyers — but they are certainly using your site to research products and you want to impress them.
And don’t overlook site search.
“I wish more B2B companies would put site search at the focal point of everything that they are doing in 2020 because it is such a massive area,” explained panelist Justin Racine, senior commerce consultant at Perficient. “Site search is huge because if you ask yourself how many users am I losing on my website or in my commerce platform because my site search is crappy, can you answer that question? If you can’t, then that’s something you should take a look at.”
Many B2B companies are putting an emphasis on optimizing search. Another panelist, Mike Powers, director of eCommerce and digital marketing at Alaska Rubber Group, provided a great example.
“Within six months of going live … looking at the site search data, that actually allowed us to determine that our taxonomy needed to change,” he said.
So even something as simple as changes to taxonomy can build a better experience.
3. PRIORITIZATION ELIMINATES PARALYSIS
You may know that you need to do a better job but are unsure how to prioritize and move forward. Well, this panel offered plenty of advice, much of it around organization and technology. First, you need to get your leadership aligned with your vision and build digital commerce expertise in your organization. For example, you may need to find an external partner to help build the eCommerce plan and also hire an evangelist who rallies the internal teams.
Second, it’s time to assess your technology. But this evaluation should be done continuously, not just one time. A recommended best practice is to conduct customer input sessions: What do your customers think are important features that should be part of your platform? Get your sales team involved and part of this process, too. If you can get just a couple of salespeople embracing the platform changes, this will bring the entire sales team along and be a huge win for the internal team and your customers.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO BEST PRACTICES AND EMERGING TRENDS
The experts had numerous tips to share, some tried-and-true and many emerging. Pay attention to best practices and emerging trends to help you create differentiation for your business. Here are a few notable ones:
• Product previews: Product configurators and selection tools can help buyers get to purchase decisions quickly and confidently. Be sure to use customer ratings and reviews. B2B buyers want to know what their peer groups have to say. Videos and even augmented reality can be proxies for in-person product demos.
• New business models: COVID-19 has upset traditional business models. You may be facing a whole new set of customers and new users. Be open to creating new models to capture this demand, which can include pivoting from B2B to direct-to-consumer (D2C) and adding marketplaces like Amazon.
• Service: Now is the time to double-down on service. Online chat will be critical. Also, ensure you have touchpoints in place to help remind customers to order replacement products or parts. Email marketing can be a big help here.
These are just a few of the insights from the panel discussion on what the fastest-growing B2B companies are doing to innovate. Panelists also shared a few of their personal best practices — use customers as beta testers and learn how they want to use your platform; experience your site as if you are your customers and remove any friction; and build a strong internal team to scale successfully. Above all, you need a superior digital shopping experience to drive growth and build long-lasting customer relationships.
The fact is there’s a reason some B2B companies have been able to stay resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and why some have not. There are real, concrete differences between the two groups. Discover the digital commerce secrets that are accelerating growth and setting B2B organizations up for success in a post-COVID world.]]>
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The ADA has been instrumental in improving quality of life and making public places more accessible to millions of Americans with physical disabilities. But these benefits often don’t extend to the digital world.
Though most eCommerce companies emphasize the importance of a great customer experience, many online stores are nearly unusable by those who have disabilities that prevent them from typing, clicking a mouse, or even seeing images and website content.
If we really want to enable great customer experiences, we must focus on all customers, not just those who are able-bodied.
In this blog, I’ll examine the importance of accessibility and its benefits for your company. I’ll also discuss how a recent court case, Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, could set a landmark precedent that would change ADA compliance for online retailers forever.
UNDERSTANDING ADA TITLE III – WHY DOES IT MATTER?
The ADA was created to protect the civil rights of disabled individuals and prevent discrimination.
When it comes to the discussion of accessibility and eCommerce, we’re most interested in ADA Title III, which states: “No individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regards to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.”
Among other categories, “places of public accommodation” includes stores, educational institutions, restaurants, places of recreation, and much more.
ARE ECOMMERCE WEBSITES ‘PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION?’
When the ADA was signed into law in 1990, the dot-com bubble was still looming far off on the horizon, and most people didn’t even know what email was.
As you may have guessed, there were no legal provisions that specifically outlined the steps that websites, including eCommerce websites, must take to accommodate disabled people. But over the past few years, there has been an increase in court cases challenging this notion.
From 2017 to 2018 the number of cases filed in federal court under Title III of the ADA exploded – increasing 177%, from 814 such lawsuits in 2017 to 2,258 in 2018.
Let’s take a look at a few of these lawsuits:
• National Federation of the Blind vs. Target Corporation, 2006: Target was sued due to a website design that made it impossible for persons who had low vision or no vision to use the website.
Target argued the ADA applied only to physical spaces – and not to the Internet. The court ruled that commercial websites such as Target.com are required to be accessible under the ADA and awarded $3.7 million in attorney’s fees and costs to the National Federation of the Blind.
• National Association of the Deaf vs. Netflix, 2012: The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed suit against Netflix, citing its lack of closed captioning for streaming video as a violation of the ADA. Netflix argued it was not a “place of public accommodation.”
A federal district court in Massachusetts was the first in the state to rule that the ADA applies to website-only businesses. Netflix settled out of court for $750,000 and agreed to caption all of its videos by the end of 2014.
• Juan Carlos Gil vs. Winn-Dixie Stores, 2012: The defendant claimed he was unable to access certain functions of the website, like coupons and a store locator. Again, the defense for Winn-Dixie claimed the ADA was not violated because Gil was not “denied physical access” to Winn-Dixie stores.
A Florida federal judge thought otherwise and issued the first web accessibility trial verdict against Winn-Dixie, requiring the company to publish an accessibility statement and take steps to ensure its website complied with accessibility guidelines.
GUILLERMO ROBLES VS. DOMINO’S PIZZA, 2019: THE CASE THAT COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING
In 2016, Los Angeles citizen Guillermo Robles filed a lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza because he was unable to order pizza online. The Domino’s website was not compatible with screen readers or voice navigation, which are often used by low-vision and blind individuals to navigate the Internet.
In his suit, Robles specifically cited the ADA provision requiring “full and equal enjoyment of the goods and services…of any place of public accommodations.” Initially, the case was thrown out, but the 9th Circuit Court reversed its decision, and the case will now go to trial.
Domino’s tried to appeal the decision with the Supreme Court, arguing that the ADA did not apply to online websites and only applied to brick-and-mortar stores. This appeal was rejected.
Litigation is still ongoing for this case. But if the court rules in the favor of Robles, this could be a historic verdict – and confirm that all websites are “places of public accommodation” in the eyes of the ADA. Accessible websites would no longer be optional. They would be written into law.
WHAT MAKES A WEBSITE ACCESSIBLE? UNDERSTANDING KEY CONCEPTS
Wondering what specific steps can be taken to make a website more accessible? Let’s explain how certain website elements can be adjusted to make them usable for disabled individuals.
• Menus: To assist users who use screen readers, menus should be navigable by using Tab to go to the next element and Shift+Tab to go to the previous element. Menu buttons should be navigable using left and right arrows, and drop-down menus should be navigable using up-and-down arrows.
• Forms: When an error occurs in a form, users should be taken to the first invalid field, and a visual and text-based explanation must appear to inform the user of the error. In addition, a confirmation message that’s readable to a screen reader must be displayed when a form is submitted.
• Images: Images must have “alt” tags describing their content so that blind users can understand them. These “alt” tags can be left out of images that are purely decorative.
• Links: Links within text should be accessible using Tab key navigation. In addition, there must be a visual indicator if they will be opened in a new window, and this should be announced using hidden text or an HTML title for users of screen readers. Links should also be made more visible on a page and be a contrasting color so that those with low vision can easily recognize them.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. For more information, you can consult with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the leading set of guidelines related to designing accessible websites.
Site maps are essential for disabled individuals using screen readers. Using the easily-accessible Jeep site map, those using screen readers can quickly get an overview of the content on the website, and access the pages they need to use.
WHAT ARE THE BUSINESS BENEFITS OF CREATING AN ADA-COMPLIANT WEBSITE?
• It’s the right thing to do: Everyone deserves a great online experience, so building an accessible website is the right thing to do. As the coronavirus pandemic has underscored, the Internet is an essential part of all of our lives, and that includes disabled individuals.
• Boost your sales: About 61 million adults in the U.S. live with a disability. That’s one in four people. With an accessible website, you can reach even more customers and enhance your overall sales.
• Avoid legal liability: Regardless of the outcome of any specific legal case, it seems likely that accessibility will become a requirement for eCommerce companies at some point in the future, and litigation over ADA compliance for websites is rising dramatically. The rate of web accessibility-related lawsuits and demand letters has risen by 300% since 2018 alone.
• Create a more usable website: Creating an easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate site benefits not only individuals with disabilities, but all users of the web as well. By adhering to the WCAG, you allow everyone — disabled or not — to quickly find the content they’re looking for. Some additional benefits of creating an ADA-complaint include:
• Less fatigue
• Increased speed
• Fewer errors
• A quicker learning curve
• Showcase innovative technology: Recently developed innovative technologies and design strategies have accelerated the techniques of accessibility, making it easier than ever before to create an ADA-compliant website. For example, using cascading style sheets (CSS) allows more flexible use of content and easier implementation of more dynamic models versus older, static HTML designs that often jumble content with formatting.
• Improve your search engine optimization: Following the WCAG not only helps you create an ADA-compliant website, many of the suggestions are also SEO best practices. For example, here are a few examples of WCAG guidelines as well as SEO best practices:
• Video transcripts
• Alt text for images
• Image captioning
• Meta tags
• Header tags (H1, H2, etc.)
• Sitemaps and breadcrumbs
• Link anchor text
By creating a compliant website, you can do the right thing, enhance your sales, and avoid legal costs – not to mention the bad PR that a lawsuit can cause for your company.
So start thinking about accessibility compliance on your eCommerce website now, and take the first steps toward a more accessible design.]]>
study by IBM reveals the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, while the average time to identify and contain a breach is 280 days. Malware and digital skimming are among the most common attack vectors for eCommerce sites. According to a recent malware scan run by Sansec:
• Credit card skimming malware was detected on 8,170 unique stores across all platforms.
• 82% of stores that had malware were running an unsupported version of product.
• 24% of all affected stores suffered multiple malware incidents. This suggests that one out of four merchants are unable to identify the root cause and, as such, unable to close unauthorized access.
• On average, skimming malware was present on compromised stores for 13.2 days.
At Adobe, we are committed to helping companies deliver secure shopping experiences to their customers. We are improving our threat detection tool to help our customers proactively identify potential threats to their web stores.
Magento Security Scan Tool
This Magento Security Scan tool is an important part of Adobe’s strategy to help Magento Commerce and Magento Open Source merchants enhance security for their storefronts. The Security Scan tool will help merchants identify:
• Potential malware and vulnerabilities on the web store
• Out-of-date security patches
• Potentially vulnerable extensions
• Digital skimming injections
• Security misconfigurations
• More streamlined guidance on Magento Commerce security best practices
If potential threats are identified, the Magento Security Scan tool can alert the admin through an automated email notification.
Partnership with Sansec
Adobe has partnered with Sansec, a leading security company specializing in helping to prevent digital skimming. Through this partnership, Adobe will be adding about 9,000 malware and vulnerability signatures to the Magento Security Scan tool. Each of these signatures has undergone a multistage testing and validation process before being added to the scan tool. Every week Sanguine Security’s research team analyses 200 to 300 known eCommerce attacks. This information produces a valuable stream of possible attack vectors and indicators of compromise (IOCs). This data is continuously fed as threat signatures into our enhanced Security Scan tool, leading to approximately 300 new signatures added monthly.
Setting up the Security Scan tool
The Security Scan tool is free to use for any version of Magento Commerce, Magento Open Source customers, and partners in the Adobe Solution Partner Program and Adobe Exchange Partner Program. Merchants and their teams, including authorized developers, can access the enhanced scan tool directly by logging into their Magento accounts and choosing Security Scan. It is very easy to register your site to the scan tool and monitor your site on a daily, weekly, or on-demand basis.
Benefits of the Security Scan tool enhancements
The enhanced scan tool will help customers:
• Get real-time insights into the security status of their Magento store and suggests best practices that may assist in fixing the issue.
• Run over 17,000 security tests to help identify potential malware on their webstore.
• Get access to historical security reports of their Magento sites to track and monitor their progress over time.
• Get access to the scan report that shows the successful and failed checks and recommended further action, if any.
Adobe encourages merchants to enable the Magento Security Scan tool on all production storefronts. Detailed documentation on setting up scan tool is available here.]]>