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Posts Tagged ‘Business-to-Business eCommerce’

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.

3 Ways to Revamp the Business-to-Business ecommerce offering

June 22nd, 2012 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

Every business has to continually find a better way to engage with its customers and differentiate itself from its competitors. The reason that a customer chooses a certain vendor for products or services is if they find that the vendor delivers value. An ecommerce store can be a huge differentiator for a Business to Business organization. By offering a superior experience, one where customers can quickly and easily purchase the things they need, you ensure that your customers are receiving value for their time and investment. When customers appreciate that they’re getting value from working with you, this translates to higher customer satisfaction rates, higher customer retention, and ultimately higher revenues.

Now is the perfect time to revitalize your online store. With the economy recovering, now more than ever businesses are seeking out vendors and resellers for products and services. According to an article in E-Commerce Times, while business-to-consumer e-commerce gets a lot of hype, "for every small business that markets their products and services to consumers, at least three other small businesses sell primarily to other businesses."

Take a look at these three different tips for making sure your business-to-business online store is best designed to give you an edge over your competitors.

1. Segment Your Customers

In order to more effectively communicate with your customers, and to better provide them with the services and products they need, set up different customer categories. For instance, your results will be less than optimal to run a promotion geared specifically toward retailers to also send to your manufacturing customers. By segmenting your customers, you’re able to get the most out of your customer interaction, with both you and your customers deriving greater value from it.

Ignify ecommerce provides you capability to easily segment your customers. The different categories you can create and assign to your customers can be Corporate Customer, Reseller, Government Customer, etc., with individualized rules for each customer category. By setting up these rules, you enable your customers to perform (or not perform) specific actions according to their customer classification.

With the Excel-like interface of the Ignify eCommerce Manager Panel, you can filter your customer base down to a particular customer category, and then view the order history details of each individual customer in that category.

For example, you can allow certain customer categories to have different payment methods. So for example, you can specify that retail customers can only pay by credit card, but corporate customers can either pay by credit card or put an order on their account. You can also determine whether certain customer categories should be charged for tax (e.g. no tax for resellers), and you can also restrict shipping methods by customer category (e.g. no FedEx One Day for Government Customers). And, just like with payment methods, you can also set up default shipping methods according to customer category as well.

Be sure to check out another article on how to improve customer segmentation and customer profiling for more successfully tailored marketing campaigns.

2. Personalize the Online Experience

One important business-to-consumer store technique that business-to-business companies can benefit by incorporating into their own online stores is providing customers a personalized web experience.

In the consumer world, one of the things that really sets a store apart from others is a personal shopper service – you know you’re not in any run-of-the-mill place when that’s offered. Personal shopper services impart an air of high class and sophistication, giving customers the sense that this store caters to a cream-of-the-crop clientele, and values going above-and-beyond in fulfilling customer service expectations. And for the customers who use those fancy personal shopper services, the additional attention and care to their needs and wants establishes a higher level of trust and loyalty with the company, and creates a higher rate of returnees.

This principle of giving customers additional attention is one that pays off for business-to-business companies as well as it does for business-to-consumer companies, so it’s definitely smart to implement it, feature it, and build around it. Wondering how exactly you can give business-to-business customers this hands-on, personal shopper experience with your online store?

Using Ignify eCommerce, you have the ability to personalize a store with items, pricing, and discounts based on the customer who’s visiting the store. You can configure the store product catalog, even the look-and-feel of its user interface, according to the customer who logs on to your site. By providing an online store tailored to a customer’s needs, you show your commitment to providing high-quality customer care – leading inevitably to happy customers, and, with the increased revenues secured from these customers, a happy company.

One example of a way to customize your online store to each customer is by offering different prices on products to different customer categories. For instance, you can determine different purchasing levels that your customers can earn, and then set prices to reflect those levels. So, say you have three tiers of customer purchasing hierarchies – Silver, Gold, and Diamond. If a customer reaches the specified purchasing amount that constitutes a certain level, then that customer benefits from receiving the discounts associated with that level. For example, a customer that reaches Silver can get 5% off on each order; a customer that reaches Gold can get 10% off on each order; etc.

Create customer level pricing on product categories or specific items. Different customers see different pricing when logged in.

In addition to providing general discounts based on customer purchasing levels, you can also set up item category discounts per customer level. With these, you offer varying prices of products in item categories for the different customer levels. For example, you can offer 5% off on items in the book category for Silver level customers; 10% off on items in the electronics category for Gold; etc. And you can also assign discounts to individual products for each customer level instead of by category.

3. Make Order Entry as Efficient as Possible

For customers using a vendor to secure the products crucial for running their business, it’s a no-brainer that they’d want to order items as quickly and painlessly as possible. Giving customers a speedy and efficient order entry system is a surefire way to establish goodwill and make them return.

With Ignify eCommerce, customers can log in to their accounts and easily search for an item by keyword, item number, or by product categories. If a customer has a go-to list of products they routinely purchase, they can also easily create order lists containing these items and purchase them when the time is right. So for example, if a retail company orders specific items for the holiday season from a vendor every year, the retail company can create a list in their account in which those items are already entered – enabling a simple, straightforward purchase experience. Order lists can also have products added to it, allowing businesses to continually keep their lists accurate and up-to-date.

Customers also have the option of taking an existing product list that’s in an Excel format – a list that contains item SKU codes and quantities – and transferring that list to an order, and subsequently completing a purchase. A shopper doesn’t need to navigate through various catalog pages to locate products; they are all instantly and easily accessible for a fast checkout.

Quick and effective order entry, with the ability to use item attributes, keywords and order lists, is a key factor in boosting customer satisfaction.

To get even more insight on how to enhance your company’s order entry processes, take a look at our articles on better managing customer’s sales orders with Ignify’s Order Entry solution, and finding out the target number of clicks for entering a sales order efficiently.

All about Connection

The common goal that these three different tips share is connection. Creating an e-commerce environment where your customers feel that your company is in-tune to their needs is essential for making lifelong, loyal customers. And by increasing your customer retention, you solidify your foundation for future business success. If you would like more information on how to tailor your e-commerce channel for success, email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.