By John Brumbaugh, Senior Director, Commerce
This year, B2B eCommerce sales grew at the fastest rate to date – surpassing $1 trillion. B2B decision makers currently leading the pack in eCommerce attribute their business growth to the success of digital commerce largely because of increased customer loyalty and retention. Of those B2B companies that haven’t already launched a digital commerce channel, 75 percent of them plan to in the next two years. B2B commerce is undeniably at a tipping point.
To say the landscape has changed would be a massive understatement. Here’s why. Companies like Salesforce and Adobe enable companies to launch complex storefronts in a fraction of the time it took when digital commerce first hit the scene. Providing the foundation needed to get up and running in as little as 5 weeks, B2B organizations can quickly go live, then iterate over time. This trumps the practice of 18-month implementation timelines resulting in site requirements that are often outdated by the time a site goes live.
And that’s just the beginning. From there, platforms like Salesforce and Adobe allow your entire organization – from IT to Marketing – to deliver engaging customer experiences, loyalty, and ultimately online revenue. Each piece works on its own, but the real value comes in connecting commerce, marketing, sales, and service. Here’s how digital commerce enables your business:
How Can eCommerce Quickly Increase Revenue & Order Value by 20%?
One of the simplest ways B2B companies can drive more revenue is by reaching new customers. Those companies that launch an online storefront realize more revenue just by making their product available more broadly.
An eCommerce presence also allows them to sell to non-core customers. These are the folks who aren’t already engaged in the current sales cycle and who cannot be easily supported in person. Either those with slightly lower revenue or average order value, make less frequent purchases, or are outside of the usual geographic focus, these customers are now able to purchase B2B goods online. eCommerce makes a ton of sense to attract these customers because it takes very little human capital to manage. Solely selling through a sales associate or catalog just doesn’t make as much sense as it once did.
An online store also enables B2B companies to sell the long tail within their product set with minimal effort. It doesn’t require shelf space or dedicated sales focus, because older product can live through online inventory. If a similar newer product is in their cart, digital commerce enables you to easily “recommend” existing older inventory. It’s cross-selling and up-selling made easy.
Slightly more sophisticated, but not prohibitive is the ability to personalize deals online. Digital commerce enables organizations to generate bespoke, custom promotions to their customers which drives additional sales at different times. Like on the consumer side, personalized promotions are an easy way to drive revenue – whether that’s a deal based on previous order history, volume discounts, or location-based pricing – these offerings capture the attention and wallet share of target customers. The customer engagement with these deals also provides deeper insights for your salespeople. They’re able to monitor searches, clicks, and conversions to see which products your customers are most interested in. All of these capabilities enable you to drive more revenue.
How Does eCommerce Make Your Customers’ Lives Easier?
Once you’ve attracted these new customers, you can leverage B2B Commerce to make their lives easier. First and foremost, they can research and buy your products when its most convenient to them. It also gives them more control of their buying process. For instance, the ability for customers to view their order history and complete re-orders of the same products from a previous order allows them to quickly order the same thing over and over. Online purchasing enables customers to build out a list of products that they purchase regularly and have it within a simple order page. These are two simple features that alleviate the friction of making a purchase.
Offering an online portal also makes it quick and easy for customers to find information about your products including data sheets, certificates of authenticity, product specs or images and more intuitively through the digital product catalog. Without having to hunt for helpful information, customers have access to the product details and are more likely to feel confident in their purchase. An excellent user experience drives more revenue because you’re making their lives easier.
Why Does Commerce Need to Seamlessly Tie to Content and Marketing?
The next step in increasing revenue through B2B Commerce is to connect it with your content and marketing platforms, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Pardot, Marketo, or a CMS. Your marketing efforts should fuel your sales pipeline. For example, when customers see a message via email marketing or a paid media campaign, the goal is drive them to a purchase. Your call to action directs them to your commerce site. Alternatively, if you’ve increased brand awareness and your prospect organically searches for your company, they’ll still be directed to your online storefront. The adoption of online and mobile purchasing by consumers has shifted the comfort with making B2B purchases online as well.
Your commerce platform should provide your customers with additional content, product information, inventory availability, delivery times, and more, which augments the marketing information he or she received. If they decide at that time, they want to buy your product, your commerce platform needs to provide them with a seamless experience to make the purchase. If it’s clunky and adds disruption to the flow, you face the risk of a lost sale.
All of this is just the tip of the spear for creating a digital channel that grows your business. We’ve seen clients that launched even basic B2B storefronts and drove $1 million in online revenue. That’s in addition to offline sales. This type of growth is possible because eCommerce provides self-service capabilities for new customers that might have been too expensive to go after in a 1:1 field sales capacity. Your sales reps are able to focus on larger, more strategic accounts, while your digital channel serves up incremental revenue from more, small accounts. Simultaneously, digital marketing increases customer loyalty and engagement provide long-term opportunities.
There is no turning back from B2B digital eCommerce. The real question is, what are you waiting for? Start your digital roadmap today and start driving revenue in as little as 5 weeks. If you’re interested in seeing how Avionos has helped other companies deliver 20% more online revenue, check out our customer success stories here.
Not sure if you’re ready to start your digital journey? Mousumi Behari, Digital Strategy Practice Lead, weighs in on how to know when the time is right.