10 Tips for Taking B2B Online
Magento are projecting that B2B online sales worldwide will exceed $12 Trillion within the next 3 years.
What can businesses do to secure their B2B online market share?
Here, at a very foundational level, are our top ten tips;
Assess your resources
Be realistic about what resources you have available and what’s possible to achieve – align all of that with your business objectives before moving on to developing a strategy with that in mind. Taking or growing B2B online needs to be done with intentionality, strategy and with a team of people behind it!
Train and develop
Successful businesses are those that invest in training and developing their people. When looking at business development, you need to on-board your internal resource and equip them for challenges they might face. This investment lends itself to a happy and productive team which in turn is more likely to result in satisfied customers.
Develop a digital strategy
If your business doesn’t currently have a digital strategy, now is the time to research, develop and deliver one. (Take a look at our previous blog post on this).
If you’re not sure what a digital strategy should include then a few essential elements to consider are;
What are your business objectives and how might they be met through digital channels/how might a digital strategy and taking your B2B online contribute to meeting these?
What policies do you have in place around use of digital in the workplace? Do you have (or need to develop) social media posting guidelines? Do you have a tone of voice brand guideline document to steer communication through the various channels?
What are your priorities in terms of matching the business objectives with the digital tools available/in need of development?
Implement your digital strategy in a customer-centric way
Consider what is priority to your business, but also what is priority to your customer. Customer research is an invaluable tool to make sure that assumption doesn’t cause you to make often costly mistakes in this area.
It’s all about the money, money, money…
If your priority is to have a website that will service your B2B customers then you need to consider, are prices publicly viewable or only visable to logged in customers? Do you want the public to have a separate view of your website? Do you sell products with customer specific pricing? How is your pricing matrix set up? Would it benefit from rationalising? Is your customer pricing also influenced by order volumes? Have you a clear definition of this across customer types? At the end of the day, how easily can you provide your potential or returning customers with the ability to view their prices and place their order.
What online solutions would make your customers life easier?
Would your customers benefit from the ability to obtain a custom quote? Magento has an extension that enables customers to add a number of items across your site to a quotation basket, to submit that to you for you to respond with a relevant quotation, for them to accept and it automatically create the relevant order in the system – business made simple!
How about the ability to place an order that is a duplicate of a previous order, or set up a standard repeating order?
Delivering on Delivery
What kind of delivery options would your customers appreciate? Often this is a defining offering that can dictate your success in winning their business. Do they expect same day delivery, next day, how about click and collect?
Don’t just woo them and win them, wed them – a happy customer is the gift that keeps on giving!
Consider the options that might place you ahead of your competition. Most of the time, the key differentials lie in delivery of customer service, securing customer loyalty and potential referrals is key to your business success.
Is there room for automation?
Automation is a broad subject, whether that’s automatically generating invoices, packing lists and delivery notes from orders, that system feeding into your stock control and automatically ordering items you are running low on, making your products available from your website to marketplaces like Amazon and eBay (there’s a Magento tool for that!), or whether you need to automate emails to your customers, or employ a remarketing solution like NOSTO, consider where you can save time and make money!
Do you have an engagement strategy? Essentially, anything that connects with your customer and drives them to align with your brand and ultimately form buying habits is useful engagement. You can gain traction through your content, pushing special offers, providing insight, support and training on your products (everybody loves a video, especially Google!), you can provide a personal connection through social, or a LiveChat facility on your website – it’s worth researching what methods of connection yield the best results from your audience.