You may have already invested in a great B2B e-Commerce platform, or maybe you haven’t, but there is no doubt the technology is here to stay. By the end of this year, it is expected that 56% of all B2B purchases will be made online. Getting a B2B e-Commerce site up and running is only the start, the next step is ensuring successful B2B e-Commerce adoption.
But does it really matter if your B2B order customers still purchase offline?
Should improving your adoption rate of your B2B e-commerce portal be one of your top business priorities?
The answer to both questions is, yes. But why?
- Value– an omnichannel customer is much more valuable to you than a single-channel one and has a much higher lifetime value
- Revenue– you will get more revenue from online customers. Buyers have more opportunity to discover new products; smaller or remote customers get the chance to order with no need for a sales rep visit; and 24/7 access to your site means constant availability
- Lost business– If you don’t offer an online option, you can be sure your competitors will
So now we know why you need a B2B e-Commerce platform, let’s look at the how.
Here are 5 ingredients for successful e-Commerce adoption:
1. Your customer experience must be outstanding
The most important component is ease of use. It should be easy enough for an untrained buyer to use so they won’t give up halfway through and go back to manual ordering. It should be compatible with any device, computer, laptop, iPad etc. so users can access via their own, familiar device.
Easy access to all relevant product and order information such as inventory levels and shipping dates all help create a user-friendly experience in your B2B e-commerce solutions. Purchase orders should immediately sync to back-office systems, speeding up delivery of shipments and contributing to a seamless order experience.
2. You need to know your customers
Understanding your customers’ biggest concerns will help you create the exact buyer experience they need and want. The way to get to know them better is to ask questions, specifically about their workflow. Ask your sales reps for their advice. If you already have a wholesale ecommerce platform online, you can also get feedback from existing users on what they like about it, and what improvements should be made.
3. Make good use of drip email campaigns
Drip emails are a great marketing tool used to introduce a specific idea over a period of time. The first email may introduce your buyer to the idea of online ordering, the next can advise them it is ‘coming soon’ and telling them the launch date, the third is the actual ‘launch’ email and the final one follows up with a special offer.
4. Your sales reps are critical to your B2B e-Commerce adoption
You need your sales reps to be onboard. If they support the adoption of B2B e-Commerce, then so will your customers. They have built relationships with them and are in a great position to persuade them to switch to online purchasing. To motivate them, make sure they are commissioned on all orders, even those placed online. Be warned: if sales reps are not compensated for online sales they will see B2B e-Commerce as a threat to their income and are likely to block its adoption. You could even take it a step further and incentivize your reps so that they actively promote your new site’s adoption.
5. Your customers are important too
As well as incentivizing your sales team to promote adoption, don’t forget to incentivize your customers. What ingredients will get them online? We’ve mentioned some already – ease of use; compatibility and access to their order history. But when it comes to actual incentives, you should consider promotions, loyalty programs, personalization and gamification, all excellent ways to encourage your customer to buy online.
What are you waiting for?
The time is now. Move the above ingredients to the top of your business priorities list to encourage the successful online adoption of your B2B e-Commerce channel.
By the end of this year, it could be your business that is ahead of the competition, with more valued customers and increased revenue.