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Ways you can leverage your B2B eCommerce platform to retain customers

October 23, 2018 By Stacey Woods

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Retaining customers and building customer loyalty is essential for any business but especially for B2B businesses which have less customers placing larger orders than in B2C. It typically costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Here are some of the ways you can leverage your B2B eCommerce platform to help you retain customers...

Be as relevant as you can

A highly relevant buying experience is critical for both buyers and sellers and timing is important. Help buyers make the right decisions at the right time by

  • Promoting new products ahead of launch – showcase new products via relevant communication (email, face-to-face presentation by your reps), dedicated catalogs with comprehensive product and availability information and exciting marketing collateral
  • Address seasonality – this is extremely important for certain industries (e.g. fashion & apparel). Help your buyers prepare in advance for the upcoming product collections with dedicated catalogs with which they can review and order ahead of seasonal changes
  • Offers and promotions – being relevant and timely with promotions will significantly boost your results. Prepare in advance promotions for special periods (e.g. seasonal holidays, Black Friday) and schedule them to go live at specific dates. Make sure promotions are available throughout the customer journey. When reviewing your online product catalogs (at the line item level), during checkout (at the order level) and more
  • Timely communication - automated email notifications based on your eCommerce workflows keep you in close touch with your customers throughout the ordering and fulfillment process, reinforcing their confidence and trust in you

Help buyers be productive

Making the most of our time is a major challenge we all face. Brands and distributors would like sales reps, merchandisers and direct store delivery personnel to be as effective as possible so they can provide better service and generate them greater value. This is just as important for your buyers. Help them become effective with these B2B eCommerce features.

  • Quick access to products – provide one-click product filters so buyers can easily access specific items or item categories within your catalogs. For example “Special Offers”, “New Arrivals”, “Seasonal Collection” and more
  • Order history and repeat orders – provide buyers with their order history so they can easily duplicate previous orders or just get a feel to what they typically buy
  • Favorites and wish-lists – let buyers “tag” items they’d like to access frequently or add items to a wish-list they can review (and order) later
  • Store-chain orders – some of your buyers may be responsible for purchasing products for several stores within a retail chain. Providing them with tools to facilitate multi-site ordering supporting different quantities, delivery dates and shipping methods per store will go a long way in driving loyalty
  • Smart search – let buyers search products by category, sub-category and any combination of product attributes. Provide business filters to further narrow down results to locate items in seconds

Consistency drives loyalty

If you are a brand or wholesaler selling B2B, you cannot have escaped noticing the explosive growth of B2B eCommerce. However, online B2B selling is very complex. The features of a B2B eCommerce platform should address sophisticated workflows, pricing, product configurations, approvals and more. Adding on top of that an omnichannel strategy which allows buyers to purchase via mobile, web, in-store and at call-centers complicates things further.

Providing a seamless and consistent experience across all your channels is vital for your success and is just as important for buyers. Consistency is not just about branding or look-and-feel (although it is still important). It’s about getting things right every time a buyer interacts with your sales channels – buyers should always see their own, personalized pricing, provided with promotions relevant just for them, regardless if they are talking to your rep or placing an order on your website and they can track orders on any device. They should experience all that and much more every time they interact with your brand.

Make sure you can deliver such a consistent experience and take advantage of a centralized commerce platform that will address your omnichannel ambitions while enabling growth and expansion in the future.