'Bad design' of B2B websites hits sales

Commercial websites aimed at business users are losing out through bad design, despite their potential to generate far more money than consumer sites, research has shown.

Commercial websites aimed at business users are losing out through bad design, despite their potential to generate far more money than consumer sites, research has shown.

Business-to-business websites offer visitors a much worse experience than consumer sites, the study by Nielsen Norman Group found. Users of B2B sites were able to accomplish what they set out to do only 58% of the time, compared with 66% for consumer e-commerce sites.

The research, conducted through field studies, focus groups and user testing by business professionals visiting nearly 200 B2B sites, found that bad website design harmed people’s perception of a company.

Lack of product pricing information was a major problem – “the most user-hostile element” of most B2B websites. The common B2B website tactic of requiring people to fill out registration forms could also be “a lead killer”, the study noted.

The research highlighted bad design elements that led to poor user experience, including incomplete product descriptions, overwhelming and convoluted content, a difficult navigational structure and pushy marketing tactics.

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