The e-commerce industry is expanding and developing at an incredibly fast pace, just like other things internet-related. One aspect of the industry that has seen tremendous growth is business-to-business or B2B ecommerce. In the United States, business-to-business e-commerce sales in 2018 hit a record $1 trillion, according to report published by Forrester Research. Over the next five years, the market is expected to grow at a rate of 10%. Businesses need to come up with new strategies to keep up with the ever-changing face of the industry. Competing with online retailers such as Amazon while also planning and preparing for long-term growth means businesses have to do two main things: employ the B2B buyer mindset and utilize B2C relationship-building tactics.
The following list contains tips to help you expand your B2B ecommerce business:
- Employ Social Media Marketing
It is important that you use social media to connect with potential buyers. The Content Marketing Institute carried out a survey in 2017 which showed that social media is the third most important marketing strategy for B2B businesses after email newsletters and blogs. It is also the second most efficient paid marketing method behind SEO.
Regular posts on Twitter and LinkedIn are an amazing method to use to direct people to your site, thereby driving up your traffic while also proving that you are in touch with pain points and particular needs of the B2B businesses you serve. Endeavor to keep your posts as informative and varied as possible.
You can do this by sharing customer reviews, infographics and product demos, along with current happenings in the industry and announcements about discounts or special deals. To catch the attention of more potential buyers, you could also host a Twitter chat to answer questions from your followers or use Facebook live to give a demonstration in real time on how to set up a popular product.
- Add More Product Information to Your Site
You can help facilitate a buyer's decision-making process by providing detailed and clear information and descriptions about products and services on your website.
Based on a report published by LinkedIn’s Rethink the B2B Buyer’s Journey, buyers identified demos and product descriptions as the most significant types of web content to see on a business' site.
On your site, ensure that your point of sale page includes photos and videos which illustrate how your different goods and services work.
Go through your website thoroughly to see where you can provide more insight. You can include videos, datasheets and catalog descriptions which demonstrate how to adopt a particular system or make use of a product.
Being transparent and ready to help in this way can boost your sales and help foster a bond of trust between you and your buyers.
- Make Onsite Searches Easier
A lot of buyers simply don’t have the time to go through hundreds of product names and numbers in order to find what they’re looking for. You can drastically improve their shopping experience by providing them with a clean, easy-to-use interface and a fast onsite search option. A 2018 B2B survey conducted by BigCommerce, showed that 71% of respondents affirmed that an easy-to-navigate website is the most significant selling feature.
Ensure that you create a page which allows site visitors to search based on simple criteria such as product name and product type. Think about creating a short online quiz for your buyers which would suggest products and services based on their answers. You could also include search options which permit buyers to filter items based on price or choose from a list of pain points.
- Improve Customer Service
Excellent customer service can assist you greatly in creating brand loyalty. Come up with ways to provide your buyers with an easier, more enjoyable shopping experience. One way to this might be to set up a live chat function on your site or expand your customer service hours. The live chat option will enable your buyers to type their questions in a pop-up chat window at the bottom of your website, then get answers in real time while they go through other web pages. One attractive potential that the live chat option has is that it can greatly reduce the need for customer service emails and phone calls while also efficiently addressing buyer confusion. Live chat is demonstrates to your buyers your willingness to assist them and gives them peace of mind.
One other effective strategy is to pair your buyers with a dedicated account manager who can guide and assist them through the entire buying process and provide them with a personalized order. In a survey carried out by Demand Gen, 85% of participants affirmed that their experience with their appointed sales rep convinced them to commit to a purchase. The truth is buyers want to talk to someone who comprehends their business model, understands their problems and goals, and can explain why a particular product or service will be of good use to them.
You want to build a reputation for being approachable and accommodating as this can help you increase customer satisfaction, win referrals and drive sales.
BONUS: MARKET SOLELY ONLINE OR INTO BOTH WORLDS?
We recommend to not only market your store online, but also offline. It's recommended for you to increase traffic to your store from as many channels as possible. Today, almost everyone has access to a smartphone and they can look you up right away when seeing your ad in a magazine for example. Ad design is crucial for marketing strategy, both online and offline. Here's an article about some of the 10 Best Magazine Ad Design Examples so that you can get some ideas for your own business.
The key to expanding your ecommerce business is catering to buyers’ needs. Think about how you can revamp your website, provide more flexible options, and improve customer service.