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How to Use Ecommerce to Attract B2B Customers

October 29, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Lana Bandoim, Independent Technology Author

When your target audience is business-to-business (B2B) customers, it is important to position your ecommerce store correctly. Forrester’s research has predicted that B2B ecommerce will reach $1.13 trillion by 2020, and the increase in competition means that simply setting up a website with a store is no longer enough. Creating a strategic plan is the first step in attracting high-value B2B customers.

Understanding the Target

According to Shopify, 93 percent of B2B customers prefer to shop online. This means your website has to make it easy for them to make a purchase. In addition, it signifies that relying on a sales representative to close deals and place orders may not work. The majority of B2B customers prefer to have control over the entire purchasing process, but they still want it to be fast and easy.

In order to create a successful ecommerce website, you have to know the target audience. Ask questions like: Who is the most likely person in an organization to make a purchase? How do they prefer to buy things for their business? How many levels of approval does each purchase go through?

Although your customers will vary, many B2B clients have strict hierarchies at work that determine who makes purchasing decisions. Often, in larger companies, the top managers are too busy handling other tasks to buy things, so mid-level employees are responsible for it. Once you understand who you are targeting, you can alter the language, graphics and other aspects of the ecommerce website to attract the right customers.

Adding the Right Components

An ecommerce site needs specific components to be effective and attractive to B2B customers. For instance, personalize checkouts, make reordering items simple and offer volume-based discounts. Although your target is business-to-business, search engine optimization (SEO) is still important because many customers prefer to shop online. As you create the content, make sure keyword research and SEO are part of the process. Consider using SEO tools like Moz or researc tools like Ahrefs.

Website design and usability are also crucial components. Your ecommerce site has to be easy to navigate and mobile friendly. It should be responsive, so customers can buy any item using any device or screen. Even B2B clients are affected by a website’s appearance and navigation, so do not skimp on design.

Offering More Content

When you own an ecommerce store, it is easy to focus on products and sales. However, neglecting other content such as blogs or case studies can hurt you. B2B customers tend to be savvy and picky. They often spend a significant amount of time researching an item before making a purchase, and you can make this process easier by offering robust content.

Instead of sending a potential customer to a competitor’s website for more information, make sure your ecommerce site is the destination for research. Consider adding content like white papers, case studies, blogs or articles. Ebooks and podcasts can also do well. Make all the content easy to access and read without sacrificing value.

Reconnecting With Customers

In B2B sales, existing and past customers are often the target of the sales team. They will try to squeeze as much as they can from them, and your ecommerce website can help. It can make it easy for customers to come back and reorder items. It can give them a place to lodge a complaint or offer positive feedback. Fast communication can happen online, and your website can be a key component.

Another way to reconnect with customers is to create an email list and send them newsletters or offers. It is important to do this in a consistent way that does not annoy them and lead them to unsubscribe. For instance, do not send a newsletter every day that says the same thing. Instead, send it once a month but include inspiring content that is relevant.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to ask current or past customers for referrals. Not only does this create an excuse to reach out to them, but it also has the potential of bringing new business. Ask them to recommend new customers and offer an incentive such as a gift card or discount. This reengages the customers in a positive conversation and often leads to referrals.

Putting It All Together

B2B customers like that ecommerce offers a fast ordering process that does not involve phone calls or paper forms. They also prefer to reorder online. Use this to your advantage as you put together an ecommerce strategy for this target group. B2B clients are often busy, stressed and overwhelmed. Make their lives easier by understanding their needs, creating a user-friendly website and offering them additional content.

Moreover, reduce the barriers to ordering online. Ecommerce websites should be easy to navigate and use. Make sure your site is designed well and responsive.

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