Creating a modern B2B shopping experience: How Laura Landau turns a vision into reality

Creating a modern B2B shopping experience: How Laura Landau turns a vision into reality

Nataila Dinsmore
Nataila Dinsmore
Table of contents

B2B ecommerce is being fueled by a rise of technology and services, dedicated to helping transition largely offline industries, online. But behind all of that, are the people making it happen. In our new series, Women Who Build in B2B Ecommerce, we’re focusing on women, their stories, and what’s inspired them to be in this space. 

Meet Laura Landau 

As a Client Director at McFadyen Digital, Laura Landau is in charge of enabling her marketplace clients achieve the objectives they’re after with ecommerce. McFadyen is a global agency, delivering digital commerce experiences for marketplaces. And it’s by working closely with these marketplaces that Laura has been able to experience what it truly means to disrupt a legacy space like B2B. 

What is the significance of marketplaces in the future of B2B ecommerce?

I’d say my “aha” moment was realizing how quickly marketplaces can scale offerings compared to the traditional B2B ecommerce model. That’s the primary factor I’ve seen help our clients reach new customers and enter new markets. When brands expand their categories, they become relevant to a new customer base, all while increasing sales for existing customers at a much faster pace than through traditional channels. 

It feels very “new school versus old school” when comparing the multi-vendor marketplace and traditional first-party ecommerce models. For example, once there’s a process for onboarding new sellers, expanding product categories can be done in a matter of hours, instead of what can otherwise take months.

Can you give an example of a client you've worked with that excites you about your work at McFadyen?

I work with a brand called ChemDirect, which is an all-in-one chemical marketplace. Their founder, Tyler Ellison, recognized a number of inefficiencies in the way the chemical sector operated and he saw an opportunity for improvement through a marketplace.

By addressing supply chain inefficiencies, lack of transparency around pricing, and limited end-market insights for distributors, ChemDirect has been able to truly revolutionize the way the chemical industry operates. 

It has been amazing to see their idea grow and transform into a successful and high- growth marketplace. I admire them for their constant innovation and I've really enjoyed being a partner on their marketplace journey.

What’s your favorite part in bringing a client’s vision into reality? 

With B2B, the relationship between the customer and the business has a bigger impact on revenue and loyalty than in consumer retail relationships. In B2B, that loyalty is more likely to be built upon years of an established partnership between the customer and the sales team.

It’s important to me that the platforms we build at McFadyen offer a compounding advantage to that relationship, rather than an outright replacement. Without a smooth, successful onboarding for both buyers and vendors, they’re not going to feel supported. When we reach a point with a new marketplace where their existing customers have been successfully onboarded and see the benefits of using what we’ve developed… Well, that’s just a great feeling.  

A successful marketplace implementation also leads to increased efficiency around ordering. With a seamless and self-serve way for customers to buy and sell, marketplaces can focus on growing their business. When my clients have a platform that is meeting - and hopefully exceeding - expectations, their attention can go elsewhere and towards exploring new opportunities. 

What are some of the unique challenges B2B marketplaces are up against?

The consumerization of the B2B checkout experience has become a huge opportunity for B2B marketplace operators to differentiate themselves. I think it would surprise a lot of people to know how many transactions in the B2B space still go via phone or fax machine. This is due to a few reasons. The first of which is sheer habit. The second of which is that the B2B online ordering options available were so clunky that calling a sales rep was less of a hassle. 

But what if B2B ordering was as easy as buying a shirt on Amazon? Businesses need to increase order volumes without increasing overhead. And providing a consumer-like shopping experience - especially in a complex ordering environment - can do just that.

It can drive loyalty and keep customers coming back to that digital experience. What will it take? It will mean making products discoverable and configurable and making the checkout process as intuitive and friction-free as possible. That’s why we make it a priority to align with technology platforms and partners, like Balance, that are all working to make that possible. 

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