Experts often point to factors like the generational shift, instant gratification, and abundance of options as the “culprits” for loss of customer loyalty in B2B. If the claim that “B2B customer loyalty does not exist anymore” were true, it would be a huge threat to the very foundation of manufacturers and distributors who have built their businesses on relationships.
To those worried, we hope to bring you a little peace of mind. It’s true that B2B researchers and buyers have more options today than ever before. Plus, they expect a seamless, omnichannel buying experience. However, that doesn’t mean that brands can’t build trust and gain loyal customers anymore. In fact, we flat out disagree with the claim that loyalty has gone away. Loyalty hasn’t gone away, the ways businesses build loyalty has just changed.
Traditional manufacturing and distribution models focused on deriving loyalty from encounters between sales people and customers. Personal relationships drove loyalty and meeting customer attrition goals was often placed on the shoulders of sales people. Those relationships will always be important to long-standing manufacturing and distribution companies, but with the implementation of technologies like eCommerce, other factors begin to drive customer loyalty.
Experts at Insite believe one driving force stands out among the rest when it comes to building loyalty in today’s hyper-digital world. Put simply, building customer loyalty comes down to being easy to do business with.
Investing in an eCommerce platform that understands the complexities and intricacies of B2B means that everyone involved in the commerce cycle, from your internal team to your customers, will be able to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Ultimately that means your company becomes easier to do business with. Here are a few ways implementing B2B eCommerce impacts your ability to better serve your customers:
Make it easier for your customers to find what they need to find.
In order to effectively and efficiently do their jobs, your customers need to be able to quickly find information that is relevant to them. Though B2B and B2C are distant cousins, expectations your customers have generated from their personal buying experiences are similar in B2B. They expect fast, flexible, seamless search experiences that get them the information they need. An eCommerce platform that delivers powerful, intuitive search functionality allows your customers to find the information they need without having to wade through large SKU counts or irrelevant product data.
Whether your customers search by quantity, product number, brand name, keywords, or even their own part numbers, your website needs to be able to deliver accurate and relevant search results. With a platform that’s Built for B2B™, the search experience is optimized and your team can easily adjust the attributes of your products to ensure your customers get the information they need.
Deliver personalized experiences tailored to your customers.
Whether they are field service technicians, researchers or buyers, your customers want personalized experiences tailored to their role. In order for personalization to work it needs to occur in a way that increases the efficiency of every role. In B2B, personalization goes beyond delivering custom content based on customer segments or personas, it’s also about things like promotions, approvals and workflows.
When eCommerce allows you to deliver personalized experiences, your customers buy more because it’s convenient, it’s efficient, and it’s easy to buy with your business.
Make it more convenient for your customers to complete and manage purchases.
When an eCommerce platform is truly engineered for the complexities of B2B, the features and functionality inherent in the platform make it easy for your customers to order, reorder, and manage future purchases.
For example, when an order involves more than one person or has a complex approval process workflow, list management is an eCommerce secret weapon. List management allows marketers, sales people and customers to create, manage and order directly from a list. When researchers can add approved products to lists, or users can add commonly purchased items to lists, buying becomes that much easier. The benefits don’t end at a customer-level either, your own sales and service representatives will also see value.
Order Management capabilities and features are another aspect of platforms like InsiteCommerce® that reduce your cost-to-serve and increase customer loyalty by ensuring things like order history, reorders, shipping, and multiple payment options are intuitive, integrated and easy to use.
At Insite, we’re determined to helping manufacturers and distributors reach their ease of business goals. Buyers Products is just one of many customers who had ease of business top of mind when they launched their digital transformation journey. They didn’t want a solution that replaced their sales team with self-service models, the strategy was always to serve the customer and make Buyers Products easier to do business with.
Though gaining customer loyalty is a lengthy, multi-pronged process, starting with the simple notion that making it easier for your customers to do business with you can drive loyalty will certainly get you started on the right foot.
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