If you’re one of thousands of companies switching to B2B ecommerce sales, you may be wondering how you should go about gaining a strong and loyal client base.
The online experience is all about building a relationship based on trust. Customer loyalty is earned, not given.
If you want more sales, you need to learn how to earn new customers trust through a drawn out and sometimes complicated buying experience.
Here’s the good news:
Your future client wants to trust you.
All you have to do is meet the expectations they bring to the table – and go the extra mile when you can.
If you continue to provide reliability to your clients, they will trust you with their business needs.
Let’s set the stage for your B2B ecommerce digital transformation.
Digital Marketing is Your First Impression
The staying power of B2B ecommerce is its ability to reach new customers quickly.
As more businesses are moving online, ecommerce platforms have grown to allow you to take advantage of a huge arsenal of tactics to bring awareness to your business, convert traffic into leads, and then sell to engaged customers.
Just to name a few of the most valuable marketing channels:
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Email marketing
- Social media platforms
- Affiliate and influencer marketing
- Content marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Remarketing campaigns
Any of these tactics can be powerful – and there are dozens more besides.
The key point here is that you need to consider how you come across to newcomers no matter where they find you, how they choose to engage, or why they’re interested in what you do. First impressions aren’t suits and ties, firm handshakes, and neat haircuts. These days, it’s all about how you engage, how you sound, what you look like, and how easy a person can navigate your online store. It’s all digital commerce, all the time.
So please, determine the best angle to present your brand to interested business buyers. Give a thought to the customer experience of your ecommerce store, and use your digital marketing to collect data on consumer behavior as it relates to your business. Keep tabs on B2B ecommerce trends, stay up to date with the best ecommerce platforms, and prioritize customer loyalty.
Get it right, and your digital marketing will sell even when you’re sleeping.
Ask Existing Customers to Help You
Understanding customer expectations doesn’t happen overnight. You cannot expect sales teams or marketing professionals to be clairvoyant in this regard. They need to collect data, assess their current digital channels, and ask new and existing customers for feedback on the relationship.
Here are a few questions to help you start stirring the pot:
- What needs prompted their initial search?
- How were traditional methods failing them?
- What digital marketplaces did they use to find solutions?
- What internal processes sped up or slowed down their buying process?
- Did they favor brands that offer ecommerce or video conferencing over in person sales?
- How did customer expectations shift during the buying experience?
- Did they have any interaction with customer service teams prior to making a purchasing decision?
To be clear, these questions are far from nuanced – they’d be more like throwing a brick through a window. Use them as guidelines to personalize your feedback inquiries and create better personalized shopping experiences with real information. Otherwise, you’re simply throwing your expectations into the mix and guessing.
The other aspect to consider with their questions is that they’re designed to aid customer retention. Digital channels are powerful connection tools and can improve customer loyalty when wielded correctly, so take your time and do it right.
Online Sales Happen Offline Too
It seems counterintuitive to say so, but the reality is that “online sales” is a misnomer for B2B ecommerce practices.
Emerging trends tell us that digital commerce utilizes multiple channels both on- and offline during a lengthy buying process. Bridging the gap is the most significant challenge sales reps face when meeting the modern customer experience.
From the buyer’s perspective, the multi-channel (or omnichannel) approach just makes sense. They don’t necessarily want to be pushed to brick and mortar stores or engage directly with your sales team during their research process. They also don’t want all-or-nothing digital sales practices either.
By removing the potential for high-pressure, sales-oriented conversations, the buyer is free to look at other businesses in your sector, compare solutions, assess who provides the best access to need to know information, and opt for the best balance of self service and customer support.
When set up correctly, B2B ecommerce promotes self service and blends online shopping with offline, low-pressure relationships. Keep this in mind before you ramp up high-pressure tactics.
B2B Ecommerce Sales Is Changing
In the past, sales reps were able to rely on the quality of their products and the reliability of the business they sold for. That’s still true, but B2B ecommerce trends indicate that the winds are shifting.
These days, in-person sales requires an insane amount of knowledge. Not only do you need to be an expert on your product, you also have to understand supply chain issues, your company’s fulfillment process, how global markets impact your customers, what third party online marketplaces say about your brand, and more.
If you can’t accurately share stock availability and lead with competitive pricing – instantly – you’re going to have a hard time. This is especially true if you’re with a business that’s resistant to upgrading legacy systems and relies on manual processes for inventory management.
It doesn’t need to be this way anymore.
Online channels allow you to make supply chain management a breeze, sell with accurate real-time information, and compete on every channel available to you. The more you lean into digital commerce, the more you’ll find that building a great customer experience sets you apart and makes selling easier than ever.
If you want to increase ecommerce sales and reach global markets, here’s what you need to do:
- Embrace digital transformation
- Build on a solid foundation – your ecommerce platform is everything
- Collect and use customer behavior data
Shopping online is easy – we all do it. Selling through B2B ecommerce can be just as easy, so long as you don’t stand in your own way.
And one last thing to remember: the ecommerce platform you choose to sell from is vital. See how Shopware and Magento (2 leading open-source platforms) stack up!