B2B merchants often consider e-commerce as a tool for existing clients. Acquiring new customers is expected to happen through the sales team, not the Internet. The website becomes a way to support sales personnel and to offer clients a more convenient way to place their orders.
But B2B e-commerce is changing — certainly Amazon Business is for new customers. In this article, I’ll describe strategies for attracting new B2B customers via e-commerce.
In B2B, a new customer typically must complete several steps to place an order. Some of these may involve a salesperson or customer service representative.
Prior to completing an order, new customers often need:
- An account number
- Customized pricing
- Credit amounts and terms
- In Europe – VAT Tax number for internal 0% tax
B2B merchants should simplify their purchase process, to enable buyers to place an order entirely online, without internal assistance and without having to wait for an account. Is it possible?
I’ve seen innovative companies allow visitors to place initial orders by credit card, for products at the public list price. After the first order, customers are assigned an account number and, also, custom pricing and terms. This enables new customer acquisition.
By setting up products so they are visible at the list price and buyers can add them to their cart without an account, you can create Google Shopping ads or use an affiliate network or use a pricing comparison portal like Ceneo in Poland.
Online advertising can be very effective for B2B merchants.
While organic search results are good in theory, look at what makes up the first page of results below: Google Shopping images, links to Amazon listings, and a Wikipedia entry. If you want your business to show up on Google search results, you should advertise.
Google Shopping ads can put a product front and center for B2B buyers.
A well-managed paid search campaign coupled with a compelling e-commerce site and strong email marketing can provide dependable sales growth.
If you sell expensive and complex products, selling parts for those products online may make sense. Parts are usually high margin. And providing buyers access to those parts via your website will enable you to build an email list of repeat customers — and prospects for the expensive, complex products.
Build a Content Strategy
Content builds relationships. Provide buyers with information that supports your products. Include technical specs and manuals on the product page. Add a resources area to your website that answers questions new buyers frequently have when ordering your products.
The content provides insight into your B2B company, as well as helpful information.
For example, Mr. Shrinkwrap provides instructional information and resources for professionals in the wraps industry. It positions Mr. Shrinkwrap as one of the leaders in its field. And it helps construction companies and sailing industry to build a good relationship, help with installation, many instructions and build a really good communication.
Promote Your Fulfillment Speed
Delivery speed is important to B2B buyers. Having a simple ordering process and fast delivery can make all the difference.
According to recent data, it can be a very important purchasing factor.
This is the reason Amazon introduced so many shipping options.
Most my B2B merchants have plenty of options based on their product specifics, their customer needs and of course – the cost of transportation, which is really important in the heavy products’ delivery. Magento and many other online shops have many useful integrations with shipping companies. You need to only analyze what is useful for you.
Build It Once — Sell 24/7
It is a typical slogan for eCommerce business. Many manufacturers and distributors have assigned business development to sales personnel. But an online store can attract new customers. It won’t eliminate a sales team. It will help them sell even more with good promotion and funnel management.
There are a couple of tools that can be useful here. They are able to integrate online and offline activities. The most important is to have a good CRM
CRM and marketing automation
With a good CRM, Inventory management, you are able to track all your sales activities and link them with the marketing campaign data, costs, project management and adequate human resources: internal or external.
I will prepare another post on this topic soon. All comments are welcome