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Four Tips to Increase Engagement with B2B Customers

March 30th, 2016 Brianne Schaer No comments

Building long-term relationships is just as relevant to business-to-business (B2B) merchants as it is to their business-to-consumer (B2C) counterparts. Customers will be more willing and excited to shop at your store if they feel valued and receive personalized care. By working to deepen customer relationships, B2B web store owners can increase sales and increase the lifetime value of shoppers.

A number of valuable tools are available to B2B web store owners to increase engagement with customers. Among them are the following four tips that will be discussed in this blog:

  1. Offer a Personalized Experience
  2. Streamline Checkout
  3. Establish Loyalty
  4. Provide Education and Thought Leadership

Offer a Personalized Experience

Creating a personalized experience that will keep customers coming back all starts with understanding their needs. By adjusting not only the content available, but also the look-and-feel of a website, you can make your shoppers feel more comfortable and excited to make purchases. The easier it is for shoppers to find the products they purchase on a regular basis, the more likely they will be to return to your store.

Individual logins for B2B shoppers makes it easy to personalize your online store, ensuring that it is in tune with each shopper’s needs. This allows for custom pricing, custom catalogs, and personalized templates that can be assigned to a particular customer login.

The following examples show the same product listing page, but from two different logins. There are a number of differences between the two logins, including access to additional categories, different color schemes, and different organization.

Single list product view with a quick order option on the right for frequently purchased items with known item number and quantity.

This customer can see products in a single list view, and has access to a quick order screen on the right to easily add items by item number. This is especially helpful to customers who frequently purchase the same items, and already know the item number and quantity needed.

Reduced catalog showing items in a grid view by default.

This template has a reduced catalog and shows items in a grid view by default. This is helpful for customers who are more inclined to browse the catalog before making a purchase.

Streamline Checkout

B2B customers expect an online store to provide an easy-to-use interface for making bulk purchases. Sometimes a B2B shopper will need to browse your product catalog to add items to the shopping cart. Typically, however, B2B customers will already know what they are going to buy before hitting the online store, so your store must provide a way to quickly place orders from a list.

The ability to copy orders saves time for B2B customers that frequently repeat orders. From the “My Account” section, a customer can copy an existing order, including, if they wish, the addresses.

Option to copy individual line items, or both the items and address lines to the new shopping cart.

Customers may choose to copy only the individual line items, or to copy both the items and address lines to the new shopping cart.

Another way to simplify checkout for B2B shoppers is to provide shoppers with the ability to upload their own excel lists with product codes and quantities. Using a Quick Order List, customers can key in item codes to add products to their cart or upload product lists from Excel. This saves time and reduces the need to click through the entire catalog searching for products.

Search items by key words, and add multiple quantities in one go.

Customers can search for items by key word, and add multiple quantities to the order at one go.

Quick Order Lists are as simple as item code and quantity added to an order in one click.

Quick Order Lists are as simple as item code and quantity, and can be added to an order in one click.

- Quick Order Entry screen shows the summary of items before checking out.

The Quick Order Entry screen shows all list items before continuing to checkout.

Establish Loyalty

Open communication is a key component to establishing customer loyalty. By opening doors to communicating across various channels (like social media, online, or over the phone), you are providing your customers an invaluable opportunity to express their likes and dislikes of your store before heading to a competitor.

By actively engaging with customers, you can expect to see a higher retention rate, and a more organic increase in your customer base, since positive feedback can be easily shared across social channels via Facebook or other social media accounts. Closely monitor these social channels to offer thanks for positive feedback, and solutions to negative feedback.

Social media integration for easier communication relevant to B2B and B2C shoppers.

Sharing to social media accounts opens lines of communication, and is just as relevant to B2B shoppers as B2C.

Publish entire storefront to Facebook.

You can even publish your entire storefront to Facebook.

Provide Education and Thought Leadership

Continually provide value to your shoppers to keep them coming to your store. A well-stocked content library can highlight new and underused features of your products, giving potential customers a nudge to purchase these items and try them out for themselves.

Videos, webinars, workshops, blog content, and data sheets are just a few examples of content that can engage and retain your customers. Additionally, effective content adds value to your customers and serves as a key differentiator between your store and your competitors.

Safety information by providing additional information of interest to customers.

A store that offers safety information stands out from the competition by providing additional information of interest to customers.

For more information about increasing engagement with customers or establishing your B2B web store, please contact us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Brianne Schaer is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify – a Hitachi Solutions subsidiary. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

Is Your Restaurant POS Helping or Hindering Customer Service?

March 30th, 2016 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The customer experience is a crucial differentiator for restaurants. If food and price are similar to other restaurants, what other factor will make a customer choose that particular business? Service that is attentive and accommodating makes patrons feel valued, and motivates them to return again (as well as spread the word to family and friends).

The restaurant point of sale (POS) is a vital part of restaurants’ service efforts as it is the primary communication channel between the front-of-house, customer, and kitchen. If the POS is slow and inaccurate, it can lead to wrong orders and delayed meal deliveries – issues that make angry, unsatisfied patrons.

A state-of-the-art POS system enables restaurants to get tighter control of front-end and back-end processes, and provide the quick, efficient service that patrons expect. The Food and Beverage POS for Restaurants solution is a modern, flexible point of sale system that enables restaurant managers to easily track food creation and delivery processes – resulting in outstanding customer service. See how well your POS matches up to the three service features below in comparison to the Food and Beverage POS.

Mobile Functionality

With consumer smartphones and tablets making people comfortable with mobile device technology, restaurants are increasingly capitalizing on this trend.

For instance, self-service order kiosks are on the rise for quick-service restaurants, where customers can type in their order, along with any order customizations, directly onto the POS. Casual dining restaurants are also providing tablets at customers’ tables, where customers key in their order after being seated, and wait staff deliver their orders. Waiters are also now being equipped with tablet devices to take orders instead of the traditional paper and pencil.

The Food and Beverage POS for Restaurants is fully mobile-optimized, allowing restaurants to take orders from smartphones, tablets, or traditional PCs. With the system’s easy configurability, restaurant managers can set up the appropriate permissions for employees so that employees only see the POS buttons that are relevant to their job functions – making processes more secure, and staff more productive.

Food and Beverage POS enables access to the point of sale from any mobile device and PCs.

The Food and Beverage POS enables restaurants to access the point of sale from any mobile device, as well as traditional PCs.

Customer Seating

Making customer seating smooth and speedy, and wait staff rotations fluid (even during the busiest times) are key elements of the customer dining experience. The Food and Beverage POS solution enables restaurants to minimize seating time, and ensure the right wait staff are assisting the right tables. Restaurant managers can set up table layouts in the system, and assign layouts to particular locations. The system’s real-time updates also show which tables are occupied or available at all times.

Food and Beverage POS has the ability to configure table layouts and to see which tables are open or occupied.

The Food and Beverage POS makes seating a breeze with the ability to configure table layouts, and to see at-a-glance which tables are open or occupied.

Food Quality

The most negative experience a customer can have at a restaurant is if the food isn’t good. Nothing will turn off a customer faster than if a beloved item on the menu didn’t turn out the same as the last time, or if a meal doesn’t taste right.

The Food and Beverage POS ensures each stage of food preparation is completed precisely and in a timely manner. Restaurant managers can enter recipes detailing exact ingredients, quantities, and steps needed for cooking into the system for employee reference, preventing any deviations in the meal’s taste or presentation. Setting up work stations in the POS (e.g. cutting station, baking station, etc.) also help keep kitchen staff organized and focused on the tasks at-hand.

Step-by-step recipe and cooking guides stored in the Food and Beverage POS.

Step-by-step recipe and cooking guides stored in the Food and Beverage POS steer kitchen staff toward making each meal consistent and delicious.

For more information on how the Food and Beverage POS can streamline restaurant operations and improve customer service, please email retail@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify – a Hitachi Solutions subsidiary. Ignify is a Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.