Why Web Sessions Matter in B2B E-Commerce

There is a big difference between sessions and raw new visitor traffic. Distributors have built their businesses on relationships, and sessions are a way of measuring potential budding relationships in the digital environment.
website sessions graphic with traffic metrics

More B2B sellers are adopting e-commerce by the day. Last year saw massive, unprecedented e-commerce spending, which accelerated the rate of adoption. But as the market matures, competition increases. Distributors that have B2B e-commerce solutions now can think about how they can get the most revenue out of their operations.

A key element for optimizing an online storefront in order to drive more revenue is to measure and maximize the number of web sessions. Sessions represent the number of active visits to a distributor’s e-commerce site and are part of critical formula for understanding the value of revenue optimization:

Sessions x Conversion Rate x AOV = Revenue

One session equals the group of interactions or actions a user has on the site during a single visit, which can include browsing site pages, downloading documents and making transactions. In Google Analytics, a new session begins after 30 minutes of user inactivity, or the next time he or she returns to your site.

Sessions include both new and repeat visits, so if a single user actively visits your site three times, then Google considers that three sessions. Unlike number of visits, number of sessions provides a more accurate gauge of who is interacting with your site. Google’s 30-minute timeout default helps eliminate distorted data by discounting anyone who is considered a passive visitor, such as a person who keeps a website open in one tab while they’re browsing in a different tab.

Sessions matter for B2B, too

Many distributors have adopted e-commerce with the mindset that their online portals will make things easier for their existing customers. As a result, we often hear many questions as to why they need any kind of optimization strategy. After all, they’re not setting out for B2C retail, and many say they aren’t interested in anonymous spot buys.

There is a big difference between sessions and raw new visitor traffic. Distributors have built their businesses on relationships, and sessions are a way of measuring potential budding relationships in the digital environment. And remember, existing customers contribute to the sum total of sessions the same as new customers, so measuring sessions is one step in the process of upselling or deepening relationships with current customers.

Sessions within top-of-funnel marketing

Driving online transactions starts with brand awareness and engagement. Distributors need to devote time toward getting on customers’ radar early in their buying journey. Total sessions comprise the top of the sales funnel, and the more sessions you have on your site, the larger the top of the funnel.

For example, consider a distributor with 5,000 sessions over the course of a month, a 3% conversion rate (the percentage of site visitors who completed a transaction) and a $100 average order value. Plug those numbers into the equation above, and you get $15,000 per month in revenue.

Basic math says that if you increase the number of sessions by 30%, from 5,000 to 6,500, while maintaining the same conversation rate and average order value, then revenue increases by the same percentage, to nearly $20,000 per month. That’s pretty appealing.

Three ways to increase sessions

Fortunately, there are three ways to grow the number of sessions, and distributors can implement all of these right now.

1. Develop a strong SEO strategy

The first step in widening the top of the funnel is through search engine optimization. This is the process through which search engines dictate where your page will appear on results pages. Its these search results that more often than not dictate how customers – both old and new – find your digital operation.

SEO can get incredibly complicated, but at a very high level, Google and others constantly look for website pages that offer high-quality content, contain relevant keywords, meta descriptions and tags, and are optimized for mobile devices.

2. Create appealing, informative content

Give people a reason to visit your site by providing a variety of content that informs them about your company and your products. Simple product descriptions are great for a buyer who knows exactly the product or part number they need, but really robust content should include multiple images, complete specs and attributes, videos, brochures, installation and maintenance instructions, and more.

3. Generate digital marketing campaigns

Once you’ve built up your online content, it’s time to promote it to the masses through digital marketing campaigns using social media, paid search and e-mail communications. Again, this is about widening the funnel by growing awareness and giving customers a reason to engage.

Sessions may feel like a very simply metric, but they are a critical component in maximizing revenue from an online storefront. As we wait to see how buyer behavior adapts post-pandemic, distributors can think about maximizing their e-commerce operations and driving as much revenue as possible. Sessions are a great place to start.

Scott Frymire is SVP marketing at Unilog.

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