Well actually it's a good week for B2B sites that I've worked on past and present. BtoB magazine has announced Grainger.com as one of their 10 Great Websites. Here's what they had to say:
"There is no typical Grainger.com customer. Some customers order from the site multiple times each day, while others buy one or two items periodically. This created a challenge for Grainger executives: How could they provide an easy experience for the infrequent buyer but also cater to heavy users with the right amount of product information for the more than 250,000 Grainger.com products?"
Of course to solve these complex issues, my team focused on customer-centric design supported by rigorous testing and iterative releases. Full disclosure, I participated in design iterations from 2000 to 2005, but the site hasn't changed dramatically in the past year (to my knowledge).
The full list:
Bank of America
And in other good B2B news, my team recently collaborated on a new homepage design for Ferguson—a large distributor of plumbing supplies and fixtures.
If you are an Interaction Design geek as I am, you should check out this homepage. It uses sliding panels that contract and expand to reveal and conceal content. And since the primary functionality on the site is a locater—we bubbled up that functionality in a dynamic fashion right off the home page. All the visuals on the page are dynamic as well—they refresh randomly upon load. The design is meant to entice interaction and engage the user with the ultimate goal of getting them into a branch or showroom. Go ahead and click around on anything you can get your hands on.
In my opinion the B2B space is ripe for innovation. Traditionally, consumer brands have blazed the path due to stiff competition and the ever-changing fickle nature of consumers. But the slower pace of B2B seems to be picking up a bit—and sites that offer the best experiences will help lead the charge.