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Stand Out From the Crowd With 3 B2B eCommerce Strategies That Work

Stand Out From the Crowd With 3 B2B eCommerce Strategies That Work

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Stand Out From the Crowd With 3 B2B eCommerce Strategies That Work

Feb 22, 2022

Ken Weygand
Online B2B sales are booming and the opportunity for your business is huge but diving into eCommerce can be daunting. Here are three strategies to get you started.

Online consumer shopping has exploded, particularly in the last few years. But online B2B sales have also skyrocketed.

Most of your business has shifted to online sales, a trend that will endure as digitally native millennials take on more company leadership roles. In fact, a McKinsey study found that 80 per cent of business-to-business (B2B) buyers prefer digital ordering. B2B eCommerce could account for 17% of all B2B sales in the US by 2023, reaching $1.8 trillion.

The internet is a busy place and is getting more crowded every day as more businesses enter the online world. You need to boost sales and you want to keep your existing customers—as well as gain new ones. To do this you know you need to build a great online shopping experience for your retail customers, but getting started in the eCommerce marketplace can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

Below we have three strategies to get you started, whether you are entering the eCommerce fray for the very first time or whether you want to update your legacy platform.

1. Make Sure Your Customers Can Find You

In an ideal world, you could create a great website, pop it online, and wham—customers galore. Unfortunately, a website isn’t enough anymore. Not only does your website need to be optimized for all kinds of devices, but it also needs to be optimized for SEO. Most likely, your team doesn’t have an SEO expert on site; even if you do, it’s always a good idea to talk with a consultant.

After all, if people can’t find you, how will they know about your great products? Here’s a staggering number—it’s estimated that there are currently over 20 million eCommerce sites on the internet. That means to stand out in an already saturated space, you must appear at the top of the SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages.

Search engine experts claim that most online searches begin in an organic manner, that is, they aren’t looking at a particular site—they are looking for a particular product. So, for the best possible results for your market, you need to be visible to your buyers. For instance, if you sell sporting goods, you need to find the most relevant keywords that will draw new retailers to your site. In addition, performing an analysis of search volume on keyword and user intent is always a great idea. Again, talking with a website expert is crucial here. Google’s algorithms are complex, and they are constantly changing. You need someone that can help you navigate them.

You also need to think about site speed, backlinks and content. Whatever SEO strategy you choose, it needs to be top of mind when designing your eCommerce site. Why? Because if you want to increase brand awareness, expand your target audience and earn more revenue, then search engine optimization is the key. In addition, you can bet that your competitors are investing in SEO—so you should, too. Nothing gives your brand more credibility than being at the top of search engine results—and you want your customers to believe in your brand.

In short, SEO can lead to long-term exponential growth. Investing in SEO builds credibility and trust with both new and old customers—which makes it an integral part of your eCommerce strategy.

2. Customer Experience Is Key

Okay, you got customers to visit your site—that’s great. Now, how do you get them to stick around? Give them an unbeatable, personalized shopping experience. The look and feel of your site are just as important as the SEO. If your site is cluttered or hard to use, or if forms take too long to load, customers will hit the “back” button and go elsewhere. As you design your website, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Make sure the site images are good quality, high resolution images that load quickly.

  2. Give detailed, accurate product descriptions, and make your pricing transparent. No one likes surprises when they go to check out.

  3. If possible, try to include other media to support your products or solutions. Demo videos, customer testimonials, or 360-degree imagery are all great ways to give your customers a better idea of WHY they want to buy from you.

  4. Make sure the site is simple to navigate, cleanly designed and has intuitive search options.

  5. Offer self-service options but have staff available for customers that want further information or have complex questions.

Looking for the best way to give the customer an outstanding experience? Personalize their journey. According to a study done by Shopify, 78% of customers have said that they want personalized recommendations when they shop online. In the B2B space, you aren’t trying to get impulse purchases with personalization; instead, what you are aiming for is to get more orders later. It’s about the features and functions of your eCommerce platform and making the experience as professional and efficient as possible.

In the B2B online space, the user may not be the one making the purchasing decisions—it’s generally C-suite. However, you can still tailor their shopping experience. You can offer special promotions or one-time sale rates, or tailor pricing based on their contract or previous purchase history.

Make their search as easy as possible, and provide them with all paperwork about the products, like MSDS, schematics, and other pertinent information. Ensure that your site has advanced search capabilities—most likely, these customers are already fairly educated about the products, and will want to use your site to further educate themselves. Think about your site as a personalized catalog of products.

Once they have made a purchasing decision, make the process as seamless as possible and ensure that their online account is secure.

3. Keep Customer Connections Alive

Even after the initial sale is complete, you still want to be top of mind for your customers. An online platform offers myriad cross-sell and upsell opportunities through recommendations. In addition, understand that most B2B accounts will have multiple people logging on to see order history or other purchase information. This is a great opportunity for your sales team.

As you make the transition to an online marketplace, sales may have to try out new roles. The first thing they will have to do is learn the website, and then sell the site to your existing clients. After that, sales will most likely transition to an account management role for existing customers, and an expert consultant role for new customers. Customer account management will grow rapidly and, your sales team can concentrate on answering complex account questions, fielding queries about the products, and assisting those customers that still want to speak with someone about their purchase.

Basically, having an eCommerce site will free your sales team from the manual, administrative side of processing orders. Instead, they become strategic advisors. Once the site is up and running, your sales team will have a wealth of data at their fingertips. The analytics that your eCommerce site collects will give your team deeper insights about your customers’ buying behavior.

You are paying your sales team to be experts on your products, not order processors. An eCommerce site will diminish order processing times, because many of the smaller orders and routine questions will be handled through digital channels. This leaves your sales team time to build better relationships with customers and devote their time to consulting and prospecting for new business.

As a distributor, you have a unique opportunity to make a shift to eCommerce as the younger generation wholeheartedly adopts digital means of B2B buying. The shift to virtual B2B sales is happening, and you can reap the benefits. By using eCommerce platforms, you can help sales extend their reach and improve effectiveness. At the same time, you can win and retain new customers that want online interactions. Think about it this way—the pressure to capitalize on online B2B channels is growing. Strike while the iron is hot. Commit to further digitizing your go-to-market models, and gain better, long-term customers before your competitors do.

Aptean has a scalable online eCommerce platform that connects directly with your ERP, which gives your B2B customers a user-friendly, engaging experience, as well as a fast, easy online checkout platform.

Are you ready to take the plunge to eCommerce? Want to turn your sales team into superpowered sales machines? Find out how Aptean’s eCommerce tools can help.

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