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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.

Personalization Isn’t Just for B2C: Enhancing the B2B eCommerce Customer Shopping Experience

April 6th, 2014 Brianne Schaer No comments

Although business-to-business customers are a different segment than business-to-consumer customers, B2B shoppers want the same type of shopping experience that B2C shoppers want: convenience and ease of use.

We’ve discussed the importance of personalizing the online store shopping experience before, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to optimize your B2B website; in fact, you can take a look into what works for B2C and adjust those qualities to create a beautifully designed, easy-to-navigate B2B channel.

Dramatically enhance your B2B eCommerce platform by implementing a few features sure to create a loyal following of repeat customers.

Personalizing the User Experience

Nobody likes attempting to navigate a poorly-built website in which product information is shrouded in mystery, hiding behind inconsistent tabs or categories.
Among the key elements of running a better B2B site is improving the user experience. From making navigation easier to tailoring content to each individual’s needs, no venture is too small to make an impact on today’s B2B customer. These busy shoppers are looking for personalization, better search capabilities, and strong content management to convince them to spend their dollars on your products.

There are a number of options within Ignify eCommerce to personalize your web channel both from the back-end and the storefront.

Let us first take a look into the functionality of the storefront. As soon as a customer logs in to their account, a reminder alert will pop up if there were any items sitting in the shopping cart from the last session. This will save your customers time searching for previously-viewed items while encouraging them to commit to purchasing these items.

Ignify eCommerce reminds B2B customers at sign-in of items stored in the shopping cart during previous visits

Ignify eCommerce reminds B2B customers at sign-in of items stored in the shopping cart during previous visits.

Because each customer, or company, has unique login information, Ignify eCommerce allows you to tailor which products show up in category searches, and at what price they are listed. In the example image below, one particular customer will view various bike cranks when clicking the “components” tab under “bike.” However, a different customer may view pedals, or handlebars, for example. Depending on which industry or specific needs a customer has, the site will adapt to showcase only relevant products.

category tabs

Each customer has a custom view of which items show up under category tabs. This customer views bike cranks, but different customers would see what is relevant to their needs.

The customer dashboard is streamlined in its ability to provide customers with a breakdown of order history, past sales quotes with negotiated pricing, view outstanding balance versus credit limit, and update email preferences including subscription to newsletters. It is also as easy as a click of the mouse to copy a past order into a new order, saving time for order entry. With time-saving capabilities in mind, the customer dashboard fully serves its purpose in making shopping easy and quick for B2B consumers.

purchase history

Customers can view their past purchase history and reorder the same items instantly.

Pricing can also be set for various B2B customers by custom level, or item category discounts. Customers can be segmented in to Diamond, Gold, or Silver levels to reap benefits for their continued business. These benefits vary from item, or item category, discounts to customer-based pricing, and can be controlled in the manager panel.

Another important feature to tailor the site to each customer is to segment customers by customer class. Customers can be segmented into classes such as: corporate, reseller, retail, or government. Based on each class, various payment methods can be set up, or tax can be charged or waived, and different shipping methods can be made available. For each of these variations, defaults can also be set up depending on customer class.

customer class details

The “customer class details” in the manager panel provides an easy-to-read chart that highlights pricing, discounts, invoices, and currency accepted based on each customer’s class.

The more personalized and user-friendly a B2B eCommerce site is, the more likely your customers are to maximize its functionality. Don’t let your customers waste their precious time trying to find an item. With a well-tailored website, your customers will feel comfortable finding key inventory items, purchasing in bulk, and returning for more.

For more information about Ignify eCommerce’s B2B functionality, please email ecommerce@ignify.com.

Brianne Schaer is an Assistant Copywriter at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce, ERP, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.