B2B is a different ball game compared to its B2C counterparts. However, in the eCommerce sphere, B2B customer expectations follows B2C shopper practices – and in a recent survey of 120 eCommerce professionals, more than 80% agreed. For this reason, and many others, it is vital that your B2B eCommerce site follows current best practices for both customer adoption and adoption by the business itself. Below we give you six tips on how to successfully increase B2B eCommerce customer adoption.
Compensate sales reps for online sales
B2B is quickly offering eCommerce stores. However, the role of a sales rep is not becoming obsolete but slightly changing. So, it’s essential when adapting your B2B business to eCommerce that your sales reps are being appropriately compensated for the sales taking place online. Although sales are coming through online, it is still largely driven by each sales rep efforts.
Sales reps could have many different accounts they’re selling to, they should be compensated for their direct orders be it in person, or ordering directly through a B2B store from an organisation. They still took the time to build a relationship, before the B2B sales platform, and that relationship resulted in them spending money in the eCommerce store. There are many ways to adequately track this. Also, adding this compensation where suitable can help drive the in-house adoption of pushing the B2B eCommerce store – which will become a more efficient and cost-saving way of creating sales in future.
Use sales reps as agents for change
Customer adoption of B2B eCommerce which focuses on “self-service” models like that in B2C, is still really in the stages of infancy at the B2B level, so sales reps have other responsibilities. Not only are they selling to the merchandise directly, but it is encouraged that they also work with customers to help facilitate transactions easily so B2B customers can begin to confidently do their own transactions.
In many cases, sales reps of a company are becoming more involved in leading this change in adopting the new B2B self-service. It is important to note that not all self-service systems are able to easily adapt to the needs of both the customer and the sales rep alike. So it is critical to implement tools and processes that help understand the exact nature of the inquiry, with well-organised customer care in place. If not, this can create more work for sales reps and agents since they bring frustrated customers who are tired of dealing with technology which cannot give them valid solutions for their problems – and may put them off for the long-term.
Maximise customer adoption by bringing sales and marketing together
The total amount of money that a customer spends with a brand or wholesaler is a derivative of the combined efforts of sales and marketing coming in from that account. Together the two departments have the same goal – increasing revenue. When working together they can help maximise customer adoption in a B2B eCommerce.
In fact, B2B eCommerce platforms that align their sales and marketing teams experience a 36 percent higher retention rates than those who organisations that do not. A sales team ready for B2B eCommerce adoption is one that has highly integrated sales and marketing teams to collaborate and utilise shared information.
To help increase customer adoption in B2B eCommerce, particularly wholesalers and retailers may need a little extra motivation to check out your eCommerce store. Differential pricing, packages and incentives to get them making transactions online provide that extra push.
Try offering valuable solutions for new customers to increase adoption of your B2B eCommerce site. Existing customers could be persuaded by a simple product extension or contract renewal online.
Consider a B2B mobile storefront app
A cloud-based storefront solution can allow users to interact with the B2B eCommerce interface just as they would a B2C shopping experience eases your users through the shopping process without entirely depending on internet connectivity. Recent statistics show that such tools help manufacturers and wholesale distributors see an increase in sales by as much as 20 percent.
Use a platform your customers are familiar with
And finally, to help increase customer adoption for your B2B eCommerce site, it’s important to remember that you have to be where your customers are. Tell the story of your eCommerce site with the mediums your customers are using. If they open emails, use email campaigns. If they like phone calls, then send your inside sales team after them. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – to even industry forums. Market where your customers are at today, to build stronger customer adoption now for a more successful B2B eCommerce future tomorrow.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.