Gone are the days, when having a trivial business profile on the web, would offer you enough sales. A mere registration on a classified site or running a catalog advert would help you hit the desired sales targets.
In the competitive landscape, we have today, covering all aspects of the business is vital to stay in the race. As such, it is paramount that companies step up their strategies & re-think their marketing approach. B2B businesses start taking cues from the growing B2C companies.
The number speaks for itself; buyer companies too want a user-friendly experience & won’t settle for anything less. Which brings up the question; will the companies deliver the suitable satisfaction that sparks a ton of orders or will they come up short and fall behind?
B2B firms relied heavily on cutting costs and didn’t invest in reinventing their image or how the other companies would perceive them. Strictly sales & no effort to captivate buyers led to their decline.
In B2C, marketers turned their focus from awareness to experience - crafting a bespoke journey for every buyer and making it more seamless to increase sales; something that was missing from the B2B domain.
The new buying reality makes it challenging for B2B companies to understand what their customers want as they navigate through the decision-making process. B2B businesses that are stuck in their ways don’t stand a chance at growing. To attract the new generation of buyers, they need to think outside the box.
Let’s look at what the B2B sector looks like nowadays and what efforts could be made in the coming months via eCommerce to improve their status and delivery model.
What was it like for B2B?
Till around mid-2000s, global B2B businesses were selling their bulk output to overseas and local companies via limited channels, and branding activities were considered unnecessary. Back in the days, convincing a retailer or dealer to stock and buy goods wasn’t all that hard.
Unfamiliarity with a brand wasn’t resulting in decreased sales. The stakes weren’t high back then; so, cheaper costs, simplified delivery, and easy shipping were valued over brand image.
All the focus was on the logic of the product and its features, with little to no personal emotion involved. If it serves them well, then you can sell it. B2B businesses were not studying buying patterns and were only occupied with clicks and leads.
Simple marketing with lazy tele-calling was enough to run their business; as such, they never figured another way to connect better with their audience, and the omnichannel trend hadn’t arrived yet.
Earlier, a one-size-fits-all model was followed and didn’t consider the buying personas of the companies they were dealing with; which would damage their cause. They were not communicating with their customers. A robotic approach to selling more and reduce costs was followed.
As the eCommerce momentum picked up and the access to consumer data improved; B2B started to re-invent and changed its ways to align more with B2C methods. Understanding customers from a holistic perspective was the new change. Here’s another stat:
The B2B market realized the potential of immersive websites, applications, responsiveness, and more importantly expanding beyond the traditional model.
Why do we do so?
B2C is more impulse buying and can be called an instinctive urge of consumers to purchase something, as soon as they see it; whereas B2B purchases are more pragmatic, with the audience identifying needs on a very rational level, based on their company’s needs.
The buyers in the B2B chain are humans too and not AI (regardless of how vital it is and how much it’d simplify the B2B sector); as such they need to be impressed with your product presentation. A bloated sales tactic to force-sell them heavy duty items will be more counterproductive.
A millennial B2B buyer is more used to digital experiences as such; it has greatly limited the need to deal with a sales rep; younger buyers are driving the trend towards B2C-like experiences.
Therefore, a “No-Show” on social media can be determinantal to your B2B eCommerce growth. Identify with your buyer base; if they seek a more relaxed way to find you online, then it is essential that you appear on those channels. Follow the B2C eCommerce business model to lure more buyers.
Selling to a customer is not the same as selling to an entire organization. What appeases one guy in the purchasing department, may incite a negative response from a superior. Which would then require you to preempt all the possible ways in which they could refuse your deal – always aim for the decision maker.
You will have to overcome the resistance to make the switch, with the company so caught up in doing things in an orthodox way; it’d be hard to redefine all the procedures and switch to a new path.
While you are at it, trying to connect with several touchpoints in one go will be hard. Take it slow and experiment with a few and intricately study the activity, before you leap into all devices. But remember, 75% of B2B buyers would purchase again from suppliers that offered omnichannel capabilities.
Uncertainty means, most brands lack consumer insights, branding expertise, and marketing capabilities necessary to build a global name. As such, it is equally crucial that you go through a proper survey route to better understand who you’ll be serving.
These challenges and initial hesitancy prevent many companies from bringing any innovation in their marketing methods. The fear of low returns stops them from moving beyond the typical model and investing in innovative ways of luring customers.
Need of the hour
B2B businesses, must change its tactics & incorporate newer functionalities to race past its rivals. Via websites, apps, content & other features; to ensure your eCommerce venture comes alive to the visitors. The quality of this will define your brand’s identity. Update and integrate it with all the latest fads.
Here's a list of things your B2B firm needs to do at the soonest, to stay at the peak of its industry:
- Website – It shouldn’t have taken you this long to realize the importance of a robust site and how it can further your business. Shape a bespoke site that beautifully captures the essence of your brand. An online presence is indispensable, work towards it, and maintain it.
- Quick Access – In B2B queries are consistent; every company wants to review everything before throwing down any dollars. Even post-delivery, they expect to keep in touch for tracking and other reasons. As such be available on live chats, phone, and emails. Proactively, reach out to them.
B2B buyers expect immediate gratification with their purchases, whether it is in delivery or online chit-chat. Responsive customer care gives the best value to your business.
- Social Media – Self-serving case studies and project details, doesn’t cut it these days. Take content beyond your SKU’s and turn social media platforms into a fun way to occupy your customers.
Building a rapport with your buyers and showcasing products will no longer be an issue. With half the world on it, your networking is sorted. If you get discovered here and build a following; it could manifest into higher orders and spark your reputation.
- Testimonials – On your site or anywhere else, allocate space for user feedback, which informs the next buyer about your products and helps his decision-making process. Another entity leaving a positive comment will surely get the next one’s trust. More effective than any certification.
- Map the journey – Track customer’s navigation on your site, identify barriers, prescribe solutions, and then view the progress. See what holds their attention, look at heat maps, analytics, most checked content, retention times, and act accordingly.
- Appeal – A website’s color scheme and overall skeleton must be natural on the eye and rank high on usability. Intelligently shade the site, conversion points, and CTA buttons to elevate CRO.
- Responsiveness – Having a storefront for desktop is not enough; buyers are finding you from a variety of places; like tablets and phones, as such, your website needs to be in sync with these devices. An untidy interface on the phone will give the wrong vibe and trigger abandonment.
Omni-channel capabilities help buyers view intricate points of the trade across every touchpoint; being able to see purchasing activities across all channels will promote customer retention. 80% of B2B buyers are using mobile at work.
- Reward Program - Award your customer's loyalty, even in B2B this can play a vital factor to tempt your customers into purchasing more from you. For social shares, reviews, recommendations, and other mentions. In the form of points that can be redeemed, coupons, and other benefits.
Bulk buy discounts can be applied to give your clients a better deal, repeat customers can be awarded improved delivery options - come up with attractive schemes to create sales.
- Web Tools – Customers consult company websites across every stage of the purchase process. As such, your site needs to be equipped with the latest functionalities to help simplify operations in the back end. Automate as much as you can and relieve yourself of complicated manual tasks.
From sales tax calculations to bulk buy, billing systems, bulk mail, inventory solution, and more; leave the tedious complex tasks to software’s and focus on growing your business. Take the assistance of CRM, ERP, Quickbooks, Mailchimp to derive the best output with the least effort.
The B2B eCommerce environment is shifting from manual transactions to automated self-service.
- Site Dynamics – A site, besides being an information source, also needs to be filled with engaging content to retain viewers. Exit pop-ups to solicit a leaving buyer, promotional banners, blogs with direct/indirect content and rich media; are some of the elements you want to include.
Streamline checkout, loading times, fix missing content/pages, have uniform URL’s, remove unwanted, annoying ads & finally ensure no element on the site compromises user experience.
- Security - Whatever is your sales channel, any safety lapse can trigger immediate withdrawal. Glitches on the site, mobile apps, or other issues while transacting will cause the customer to give up and look elsewhere.
On your website and applications, feature all the protocols you have adopted to stress on the security. At no point should any section on your site trigger suspicion. Incorporate HTTP, Norton Secure, Verisign, and other defenses. Test and optimize regularly.
B2B customers expect personalized cross-channel and cross-device experiences that B2C buyers get, but the buying journey won’t change overnight by a new piece of technology. It can only be changed by people who are passionate about giving new techniques. Give your B2B buyer a frictionless buying journey.
To illustrate the worth of products, many companies focus on text-heavy, jargon-loaded, spec-centric content like in the analog days. The B2B market is just as receptive to engaging content as your B2C demographic, which then fused with the utility of a product makes your content interesting and useful.
Mimicking B2C business trends and fusing it with the distinct elements of your industry is what sets up a B2B business on the road for success and leads to new customer acquisitions. Give your content a facelift and make it smarter and more dynamic for the viewing crowd.
The traditional practices are now withering away slowly and giving way to newer and fresher content to appeal to the B2B buyers. A fitting website could shape and guide the decisions of your buyers. Position yourself as an expert and bring potential customers into the top of a purchase funnel.
Many campaigns fail because the creators forget that the people you are trying to influence affect every decision you take. Therefore, before planning & developing successful marketing campaigns, understand how to reach conversions w.r.t your audience & soon your investment will turn into dividends.
Approach the B2B eCommerce development experts in Virtina. We have given many major companies in various industries like Healthcare, Electronics, Manufacturing & more; running on platforms like Magento, Shopify, Volusion & WooCommerce, a dramatic makeover in tune with their B2B business offerings.
Get in touch with us to solve all your growing concerns. Step away from the old-fashioned model with the assistance of Virtina. We will put you in the right track to elevate your sales and profits. Cement your brands true worth with smart B2B eCommerce growth tactics to make you the trailblazer in your domain.
Have questions? Get in touch with our B2B eCommerce development experts