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Posts Tagged ‘Customer Engagement’

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.

4 Ways to Boost Shopper Interaction with Your Online Store

July 31st, 2013 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m easily distractible (and I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one). It’s a result of the technology environment we’re living in – being able to access nearly unlimited content from the Internet means that we also have nearly unlimited ways to occupy ourselves.

And with smartphones connecting us at any time, in any place, we’re pretty much able to fill up all the free minutes of our day with whatever we find interesting, cool, insightful, etc. And with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to hop around.

The key way to get visitors to stick around is to differentiate your website with features that make browsing an action, not just a passive activity. By enabling visitors to engage with your site, you set the groundwork for people to more strongly connect with your brand – which means more site visits, more purchases, and thus more revenues. 

Check out the different features below that help you get web browsers to participate with your website.

1. Offer Shoppers Product Configurability

Just as shoppers at brick-and-mortar store locations like to pick up and check out the merchandise before they buy it, e-commerce shoppers should be able to get a feel for a product before they purchase it as well.

Offering customers the ability to change up a product according to their preferences is an important way to get shoppers to involve themselves with your online store. Being able to change the color of a product on the page, or to get a 360-degree view of it, or to use a zoom in feature to get an up-close look at the material, etc., provide useful ways for customers to interact with your merchandise.

Offer Shoppers Product Configurability

The ability to zoom in to products or to configure them according to personal preferences allows shoppers to get a good look-and-feel of the product – which positively influences their decision to purchase.

The more creative ways you can get your customers to configure or engage with your products, the higher the likelihood that those customers will return – and also spread the word. For example, a clothing store I like to shop at has a really cool feature on their website where you can select the items of clothing, accessories, and shoes on the website to show up on the image of a real-life model. There is no limit on how many items you select to put on the model, and there is even the option to pick which color you want the clothing or shoes to appear as on the model.

This is really helpful because it allows me to see how an item on the website actually looks like on a person – which can be hard to figure out if you’re making that judgment based solely on a photo. Seeing how the product actually looks on a person makes me feel more familiar with the product, and it’s a persuasive factor in getting me to buy.

There’s also another bonus outcome of this type of product configuration – it’s a persuasive cross-selling tool. For example, if I see that the shirt, pants, shoes, and accessories I put on the model make a really cute outfit overall, it’s extremely tempting to get the whole enchilada. And again, it boils down to tailoring: by enabling shoppers to create what they really want with their products, and with the ease of purchasing that online shopping provides (it’s just a click of a button to purchase!), the merchant practically compels shoppers toward the checkout.

2. Add a Price Slider to Your Product Category Page

Allowing your customers to see great products within their price range gives them a good push toward buying them. And when they see great products that are even below their price range, it creates an even bigger push toward purchasing. (Because it’s always nice to see cool things that you can afford; seeing cool things that you can’t afford, however, can sometimes be a little depressing.)

Price sliders are helpful in filtering customers’ searches so that they see only the products within their set price parameters. With price sliders, shoppers can move the ends of the slider to the price range they feel comfortable with, and then the product page they are viewing will dynamically display only the products within that set price range.

Price sliders offer shoppers more control over their online shopping experience, allowing them to see the products they want to see. By empowering customers with more control over the products they have visibility and access to, merchants benefit from the customer tailoring the shopping to their own individual preferences – and more tailored means a greater chance of purchasing.

Add a Price Slider to Your Product Category Page

Price sliders allow customers to filter merchandise according to the price range they set. Price sliders allow shoppers to tailor their shopping experience, and thus with the more targeted selection of products from which shoppers can choose from, they more motivated they are to purchase.

3. Allow Customers to Add Reviews

Before buying something online, I like to check out reviews on the product first. Since buying online can sometimes be a bit of a leap of faith, it’s reassuring to see that real people have bought that product, and have shared their experience with it (good and bad).

Allowing your customers the ability to post and read reviews is a valuable feature for both you and the shopper. Providing an outlet on your site for people to share their opinions is an important way to get that customer engagement because the stronger the experience someone has had with a product, the more obliged they are to share that experience. Posting reviews is also a good way to boost search engine optimization, allowing you to improve your product rankings with unique content.

And don’t shy away from negative reviews either. It may seem counterintuitive, but those can also actually drive a customer to purchase as well. By allowing critical feedback to be posted, you signal that you’re not afraid of it – that your company stands by your products, and that you welcome honest, even if unfavorable, comments. Also, if there’s only 5-out-of-5 star, this is the best product ever!!! type of feedback posted, it just doesn’t come across as very credible.

Allow Customers to Add Reviews

Adding customer reviews (both positive and negative) builds trust and credibility between your online store and your customers. 

4. Connect Shoppers with Social Media

With social media playing such a significant role in connecting people, it is important to offer customers the ability to evangelize your brand on social media. Everyone likes to be the frontrunner in sharing new and exciting stuff (we all like to be trendsetters!), so give visitors to your site the chance to display your merchandise to their social media circles.

Enabling site visitors to share links to your products is an important first step in spreading awareness of your company brand and your merchandise. By allowing site visitors to post products that they purchased (and want to show off), or whether they want to share an item that’s on their wish list, social media sharing offers the potential to publicize your company and your products to new people – leading to new pools of potential customers.

Connect Shoppers with Social Media

Allowing customers to share your products on their social media sites expands your brand awareness, with the potential for driving more traffic to your website.

Purchasing: The Ultimate Form of Customer Participation

By providing fun, interactive, and useful features for visitors to use on your e-commerce store, you create a sales channel that actively engages your customers. With this engagement, you benefit from the valuable contributions your customers provide, both intangible (company publicity) and tangible (increased revenues).

For more information on how to drive traffic to your e-commerce channel, email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, POS, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to mid-market and enterprise businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify is winner of the Microsoft Partner of the Year award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify offers Microsoft Dynamics AX, Dynamics AX for Retail POS and Dynamics CRM solutions for organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 6 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 and 2010.